A Fine Pair of Old Ancestor Figure Amulets from the Coastal Sepik Area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
These beautiful Amulet Figures; are a male & female pair by the same artist. Small amulet figures like these were kept by men in small woven bags or even sometimes woven into their beards. They were used for magical purposes such as; love magic, controlling the weather, hunting for wild pigs & cassowaries, and protecting the owner and his family from malevolent sorcerers & the spirit world.
Provenance: This pair of small Ancestor Figures was collected by George Elias in 1953. Elias was an Australian Crocodile hunter working in the middle Sepik area in the early 1950s. Elias was asked to be the local fixer for the expedition of The Museum of Natural History and The National Geographic Society that arrived in Kanganaman Village in December 1953.
Just before the expedition arrived in New Guinea, the entrepreneurial Elias asked the locals if they had any “Old Carvings “ that he could buy knowing they would also be trying to buy carvings. He bought these two small figures during this time & he kept them all of his life.
This expedition was documented in the publication” ET Gillard’s Ethnographic Photos on the Middle Sepik River: Kanganaman 1953-54 “ in Pacific Art, Persistent Change Meaning “By George Corbon Crawford House Press 2002 ( pages 60-81) ( see one of the photos field photos above )
The Elizabeth Pryce Collection of Oceanic Art, Sydney Australia
The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art