Gable Mask, Middle Sepik River Area, PNG

This mask was made to put under the eves of the ceremonial house Tambaran, these large and impressive ceremonial houses are a major architectural wonder which the middle Sepik river area is famous for. This finely carved and ochre painted mask made from a single piece of hardwood and it has conus shells for the eyes. This mask was collected by a geologist working in the Sepik in the 1960s and it has the original export permit dated 1967.

See the photo of an example of Middle Sepik River ceremonial house Tambaran from  “Kulthauser in Nordneuguinea by Brigitta Hauser-Schaublin, Page 401.”

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Shield, Middle Ramu River, Madang Province PNG

This old and used shield with finely incised designs covering 2/3 of the front of the shield and decorated with infilled ochre to highlight the designs. Collected in late 1960s.

For a similar example see “Shield of Melanesia, Page. 105 – Edited by Harry Beran and Barry Craig, 2005 “.

Copies of this out of print book are available in a very small number please enquire

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Shield, Maring People, Western Highlands Papua New Guinea

This old and well-used shield was collected in PNG in the late 1960s, the bold design is started by an incised pecking that becomes the outline for the design that is painted in red, white and black ochre. This shield has signs of being used in battle with arrows embedded in the front of the shield. Maring Artist have a range of designs that they use on their shields, each design is likely to belong to a specific clan and can be easily recognized by enemies and clansmen alike. Warfare was widespread among traditional enemies in neighboring areas.

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Shield, Tijak Area, Eastern Asmat

This old and used shield was bought on the Upper Eilanden River Area during a field trip in 1986.  At this time the people were still living nomadically in the forest in tree houses for safety. Sometimes you did not see any people going up river but on the way down there would be men waiting on the river bank to see who was in their area from the sound of an outboard motor on my canoe.

Asmat Shields were important objects that venerated their ancestors, each shield had a personal name and when invoked during warfare the enemy was said to be frightened or stunned and easy to kill.

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Shield, Upper Brazza River Area, Eastern Asmat Area

This fine shield was field collected in 1985 as I visited the Upper Brazza and Kolof River Areas in the remote Eastern Asmat Area on the South Coast of West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia. At the time of collection, the people in this area were still nomadic roaming the forest and living in tree houses for protection. This old guy just appeared on the side of the river with his shield, we had no common language and I showed him some trade goods as money was unknown to them, he wanted my knife and we made a happy trade knife for shield. In the field photo the man seems quite happy.  The villagers attire was was that men were basically naked except  for sometimes tying a leaf over their foreskin, the women I saw were wearing tree fiber covering over their genitals.

Asmat Shields were important objects that venerated their ancestors, each shield had a personal name and when invoked during warfare the enemy was said to be frightened or stunned and easy to kill.

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Shield Asmat, Monu Village, North West Asmat Area

This fine old shield was collected at Monu Village on the upper Unir River in the North West Asmat Area, South Coast of West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia. Small Shields like this example are of the older style that was replaced by large and more decorative shields made for the art market. The man in the field photograph was the owner and his name is recorded along with the name of his grandfather who carved this shield.

Asmat Shields were important objects that venerated their ancestors, each shield had a personal name and when invoked during warfare the enemy was said to be frightened or stunned and easy to kill.

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If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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Shield, Djakapis Village, Upper Jerep River, Remote North West Asmat

This beautiful old and used shield was collected by me in Djakapis in 1985.  At that time Djakapis village was one of the most remote villages in the North West Asmat Area. None of the villagers spoke even a small amount of  Bahasa Indonesia so all interaction between us was done by just watching each other and pantomime. The owner of the shield in the field photograph has his name recorded along with the name of the carver of the shield. Also at this time, there was still sporadic tribal fighting with Irogo and Pupis Villages generally over the kidnapping of women. Djakapis is a small village of less than 50 people.

Asmat Shields were important objects that venerated their ancestors, each shield had a personal name and when invoked during warfare the enemy was said to be frightened or stunned and easy to kill.

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If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all inquiries, please contact us.

Gable Mask off a Ceremonial House Tambaran, Blackwater River Area, East Sepik Province, PNG. Collected in the early 1960s

In the early 20th Century across the Sepik River area spectacular ceremonial houses were found in almost every village. They are known as ‘Haus tambaran’ in New Guinea pidgin English. These amazing ceremonial houses embody the paramount female ancestor whose enormous face appears on the gable and whose name is given to the house.

Clans descending from a common ancestor build the ceremonial houses where ceremonial objects are stored. Only men who are initiated are permitted inside the house Tambaran.  During ritual ceremonies, the house becomes ‘hot’, indicating the presence of spirits.

Gable masks were placed high above the entrance of the ceremonial houses. Intended to be seen from a distance, their placement at the exterior apex of the large and imposing ceremonial house would loom downwards over the nearby dance ground where everyone could feel its presence.

This beautiful older Gable Mask is carved from a single large piece of hardwood & then painted & decorated with woven & wood attachments and a type of native fruit often used in Sepik Ceremonies.

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If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all enquires, please contact us.