Papua New Guinea: Hand carved timber panels beautify emerging temple


PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — In the emerging Bahá’í House of Worship in Papua New Guinea (PNG), 432 timber panels, each hand carved by local craftsmen, now frame the nine doors that will soon welcome the diverse peoples of that country.

Saeed Granfar, a member of the architectural team, reflecting on the evolving craftsmanship of the House of Worship, states: “Just as the vast interior features aluminum strips that were meticulously hand-woven, the hand-carved timber panels now extend this expression of artistry from within the temple through to its exterior.

“This seamless integration between interior and exterior craftsmanship,” he continues, “not only reflects the convergence of diverse skills and traditions, but also embodies the unifying vision of a sacred space belonging to all.”

This harmony of design and purpose prompted a pivotal decision in the construction plan. Originally intending to use native Kwila hardwood, the project team, upon realizing its endangered status, opted to use sustainably sourced Chengal, salvaged from demolished buildings.

The project team had initially considered using modern manufacturing techniques to carve patterns into bonded timber panels. However, as the project evolved, the team decided to draw instead on traditional PNG wood carvers from the Sepik region, an area celebrated for its carving heritage.

Charles Sasa, master carver, shared his team’s profound joy in contributing to the project. “We the carvers, our families, and our children are blessed and thankful to be part of this iconic building in our country of Papua New Guinea.”

Their skilled hands, trained through generations of tradition, transformed plain timber into expressions of beauty.

Covering an area of 387 square meters, the timber panels are intricately carved with a pattern of waves, which radiate outward from each entrance of the House of Worship.

The completion of these panels in around three months is viewed by the project team as a significant milestone. The temple’s construction is steadily revealing it as a beautiful, inclusive space, where contemplation and prayer will inspire service to society.

Carvers from the Sepik region of PNG beautify the wood panels that now frame the nine doors of the rising House of Worship in that country.

Carvers from the Sepik region of PNG beautify the wood panels that now frame the nine doors of the rising House of Worship in that country.

Covering an area of 387 square meters, the timber panels are intricately carved with a pattern of waves, which radiate outward from each entrance of the House of Worship.

Covering an area of 387 square meters, the timber panels are intricately carved with a pattern of waves, which radiate outward from each entrance of the House of Worship.

Hand carved wood panels now adorn the nine doors entering into the temple.

Hand carved wood panels now adorn the nine doors entering into the temple.

The temple’s construction is steadily revealing it as a beautiful, inclusive space, where contemplation and prayer will inspire service to society.

The temple’s construction is steadily revealing it as a beautiful, inclusive space, where contemplation and prayer will inspire service to society.



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