Themes: Carving

Suspension hook

The shank of this suspension hook is carved as a crocodile with its underside facing forward and its tail curled at the end behind the righthand fluke. Attached to the underside of the crocodile's head is a mask with a saw-toothed outline, cowrie shell eyes, a carved head band and a long nose. From the nose an extension drops down to attach to the crocodile's body near the position of the rear legs and above the flukes of the hook.

Suspension hooks are usually used to suspend string bags (billums), away from the floor. This example has two sides, and so seems to have been designed to hang freely, changing its appearance as it rotates. The face and crocodile both represent ancestor spirits, which would exercise a protective influence over the bags and the possessions kept in them.