The finely rendered, naturalistic human face made of gray clay and embedded with cowrie and Nassa shells. Cream pigment, fiber tassels, and feathers further decorate the image. The dagger itself is made of wood, not the usual Cassowary bird leg bone, although it is carved on the backside of the blade to mimic the hollow seen on a bone. Such daggers were pushed into the earth in front of a man wishing to speak in a debate, and his credence was bolstered by the presence of the dagger before him. The face on the dagger represented the person to be avenged in the debate ritual. From the Middle Sepik river region of Papua New Guinea, and dating to the early-mid 20th century. This example measures 10.5"L x 4.5"W, excluding the feather spray on the forehead. In very fine condition, but missing a few shells. Fine, aged patina and evidence of use. Collected in the mid 1970's by Steve Lewis, Tampa FL. A particularly well-made example.