Facade of the ceremonial house korombo of the Abelam, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. The anthropologist Anthony Forge’s informants frustrated his efforts to glean from them the deeper meaning of the iconography. He concluded that the true meaning of their art must be communicated on an unconscious level. But maybe he was asking the wrong questions…

More on the limits of Forge’s influential ‘semantic’ approach in my RES paper ‘Art’s Visual Efficacy: The Case of Anthony Forge’s Abelam Corpus‘.

Image source: Anthony Forge, “Style and Meaning in Sepik Art”. In Primitive Art and Society, ed. Anthony Forge, 169–192. Oxford University Press, 1973.