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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

-0001

1929

  • Work on this object began.

2014

2019

  • You found it!

Fish Trap (Papua New Guinea), Before 1929

This is a Fish Trap.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from National Museum of Natural History as part of Tools: Extending Our Reach.

It is dated Before 1929. Its medium is plaited rattan, sago-palm ribs, cane.

A central feature of fishing technology in the Aird Hill region of the Gulf of Papua in Papua New Guinea, conical traps such as this one are used and made by women. Working in groups and deploying large weirs, women block coastal streams and creeks at high tide. When the tide begins to recede, one group beats the water, while others move with their traps through the blocked waterway catching fish, turtles, and crustaceans. The vertical frame of this trap is made of the midrib of a sago palm leaf. The stripped midribs were bound and spaced with fourteen bands of sugar cane cut, stripped, and braided into cordage. The trap holds two lengths of unmodified cane around its outside, giving it structural strength. The weaving embodied in this fish trap underpins a range of objects, from houses to baskets and ritual objects. This style of fish trap is still used throughout the Gulf of Papua today, alongside nylon fishing nets.

It is credited Transferred from the US Department of Agriculture and Dr. E. W. Brandes, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, E344858.

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 24.1 x 40 x 78.7 cm (9 1/2 in. x 15 3/4 in. x 31 in.)

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Tools: Extending Our Reach.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35457233/ |title=Fish Trap (Papua New Guinea), Before 1929 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=22 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>