A Fine Pair of Old Amulet Figures Coastal Sepik Area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea

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 )

Further Provenances:

 The Elizabeth Pryce Collection of Oceanic Art, Sydney  Australia

 The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art

A Fine Old Amulet Mask Coastal Sepik Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

A Fine Old Amulet Mask from the Coastal Sepik Area in the East Sepik Province of  Papua New Guinea, it was collected by a geologist in 1967. 

In the Sepik River area people’s ceremonial & spiritual life revolves around masks, usually, dance masks worn by a select person but also large masks for the gables or windows of the monumental ceremonial Haus Tambaran or Men’s Ceremonial House where all the important rituals & initiations take place and where scared objects like masks are stored and venerated.  Small masks like these are similar in form to the larger dance masks and are used by men for personal protection and magical purposes, they are often kept in small woven bags and carried in a larger bush fibre string bag when out walking or hunting.  Every owner of a small mask would tell you a different story of their use & importance & how they are connected to the large dance masks kept in the village.  Small masks can also be tied onto other types of ceremonial objects.  This mask was definitely made & used for traditional use.  It has a fine custom-made steel display stand that makes it look like its floating in the air.

When I was visiting New Guinea & West Papua 38 years ago,  many times I saw old men pull out small woven bags of magic implements & use them with chewed betel nuts to blow away storms or stay safe on long canoe trips.  I asked them about this & never got much of a reply except ” Old Man Magic ” as if they were hesitant to divulge any information about their magic objects.

Provenance:  The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea & Oceanic Art

Four Fine Old Amulet Masks Coastal Sepik Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

Four Fine Old Amulet Masks from the Coastal Sepik Area in the East Sepik Province of  Papua New Guinea

In the Sepik River area people’s ceremonial & spiritual life revolves around masks, usually, dance masks worn by a select person but also large masks for the gables or windows of the monumental ceremonial Haus Tambaran or Men’s Ceremonial House where all the important rituals & initiations take place and where scared objects like masks are stored and venerated.  Small masks like these are similar in form to the larger dance masks and are used by men for personal protection and magical purposes, they are often kept in small woven bags and carried in a larger bush fibre string bag when out walking or hunting. Small Amulet Masks & Amulet Figures were also tied to men’s beards and would have shown others the power protection they had from malevolent magic. There are great old historical photos of Sepik Men wearing  Amulet Masks &  Figures in their beards.

Every owner of a small mask would tell you a different story of their use & importance & how they are connected to the large dance masks kept in the village.  Small masks can also be tied onto other types of ceremonial objects.  These old masks were definitely made & used traditionally and have an old dark patina from use.

When I was visiting New Guinea & West Papua 38 years ago,  many times I saw old men pull out small woven bags of magic implements & use them with chewed betel nuts to blow away storms or stay safe on long canoe trips.  I asked them about this & never got much of a reply except ” Old Man Magic ” as if they were hesitant to divulge any information about their magic objects.

Provenance: Old Australian Collection and The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea & Oceanic Art

A Fine Old Amulet Mask Coastal Sepik Area East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea Coll 1967

A Fine Old Amulet Mask from the Coastal Sepik Area in the East Sepik Province of  Papua New Guinea, it was collected by a geologist in 1967. 

In the Sepik River area people’s ceremonial & spiritual life revolves around masks, usually, dance masks worn by a select person but also large masks for the gables or windows of the monumental ceremonial Haus Tambaran or Men’s Ceremonial House where all the important rituals & initiations take place and where scared objects like masks are stored and venerated.  Small masks like these are similar in form to the larger dance masks and are used by men for personal protection and magical purposes, they are often kept in small woven bags and carried in a larger bush fibre string bag when out walking or hunting.  Every owner of a small mask would tell you a different story of their use & importance & how they are connected to the large dance masks kept in the village.  Small masks can also be tied onto other types of ceremonial objects.  This mask was definitely made & used for traditional use.  It has a fine custom-made steel display stand that makes it look like its floating in the air.

When I was visiting New Guinea & West Papua 38 years ago,  many times I saw old men pull out small woven bags of magic implements & use them with chewed betel nuts to blow away storms or stay safe on long canoe trips.  I asked them about this & never got much of a reply except ” Old Man Magic ” as if they were hesitant to divulge any information about their magic objects.

Provenance: Collected by Peter Austin in 1965-66, Austin was a geologist working at that time & made a fine collection of New Guinea as he had access to a helicopter and was able to visit remote villages & move his artworks around. Part of his collection is now if The Royal Ontario Museum in Canada & was published in the book “New Guinea: Big Man Island” by ES Rogers, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto Canada 1970.  The collection remains in the Toronto Museum today.

The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea & Oceanic Art

A Fine Old Kandrian Arawe Shield New Britain Island Papua New Guinea

A Superb Old War Shield from the Kandarian Arawe area of Southwest New Britain Island which is the largest island in the Bismarck Archipelago, part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea. 

This shield has a field photo of the owner with his shield & a spear that was taken in 1965 by the Geologist Peter Austin, much of this collection in now in the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada,

These rare and beautiful shields are made of three planks of wood bound together with rattan. The front of the older shields from this area is convex, the finely incised designs are carried over all three planks and tapering towards the edge. The bank of the shield the largest middle plank has a recessed vertical grip. The most amazing aspect of the back of the shield is finely painted ochre designs in red and black.

This fine old shield has eight pairs of concentric circular designs incised on the front, these have remnants of the original ochre painting.

These designs are mesmerizing to look at; in fact most New Guinea Shields the designs are meant to frighten or confuse the enemy.  I was told this by many different tribal groups in New Guinea and West Papua,

In many areas of New Guinea shields are said to be vessels for ancestral spirits and often have personal names that only the owner of the shield can invoke.

This old shield has numerous spears or arrow holes and or arrow tips embedded in the shield and can be clearly seen in the photos.

When you see this Shield in person you can see right away that it is a very old shield and though ancient in its tradition it also has a superb modernist sculptural form that would fit well in a modern house with modern art.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art & Shields

 

A Fine Old Lumi or Nuku War Shield West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

A Superb Old War Shield from the Lumi or Nuku Area in the Torricelli Mountain Ranges of The West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.  Dating from the early 20th Century 

Nuku is only 60 kilometers away from Lumi but there is a distinct change in form of the shield and designs.  Dr Barry Craig writes in the seminal book on Shields ” The Shields of Melanesia 2005 ” The form of the spiral motifs on the Yeri & Nuku Shields can be compared to designs from the Urim speaking hamlet of Yakalik “.

In New Guinea where most of the shields are either oval or rectangular, the Lumi Shields stand out with their elegant irregular and beautiful form. This shield is deeply incised with designs that remind me of an abstract lizard but that may not be the case. This shield also retains part of the original red and white ochre painting that highlights the designs.

I am sure that long ago the person who made this shield had stories both about the shape shield and the designs which are now probably lost.   These designs are mesmerizing to look at; in fact most New Guinea Shields the designs are meant to frighten or confuse the enemy.  I was told this by many different tribal groups in New Guinea and West Papua,

In many areas of New Guinea shields are said to be vessels for ancestral spirits and often have personal names that only the owner of the shield can invoke.

The two holes for the original rattan handle which now missing but you can the old wear on the holes showing prolonged use. Originally the rattan handle or strap on the back of the shiels where the warrior could slip through his arm and firmly hold in place on this shoulder hands-free to shoot a bow & arrow while protecting his body from enemy arrows.  Lumi Nuku shields were quite light and quite thick and could easily stop an arrow from penetrating the warrior.

When you see this Shield in person you can see right away that it is a very old shield and though ancient in its tradition it also has a superb modernist sculptural form that would fit well in a modern house with modern art.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art & Shields

 

A Fine Old Angu War Shield Eastern Highlands Papua New Guinea

A Superb Old War Shield, Angu People, Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea 

This beautiful old shield with simple painted stripes designs is like a superb modernist painting. The cut out at the top is for the warrior to be able to see their enemy without lowering the shield completely

The people in this area of the Eastern Highlands though small in stature were some of the most feared warriors in New Guinea. See my field photo of an Angu Man dancing with his shield circa 1986.  The Angu were also known as the Kukukuku but this was a derogatory name from a different tribal group

These designs are mesmerizing to look at;  most New Guinea Shields the designs are meant to frighten or confuse the enemy.  I was told this by many different tribal groups in New Guinea and West Papua,

In many areas of New Guinea shields are said to be vessels for ancestral spirits and often have personal names that only the owner of the shield can invoke.

When you see this Shield in person you can see right away that it is a very old shield and though ancient in its tradition it is also a superb modernist painting that would fit well in a modern house with modern art.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art & Shields

Two Superb Old Bailer Shell Necklaces from the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea

These Two Superb Large Old Bailer Shell Necklaces are from the Mendi Valley Area of the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. They date from the 19th Century and have a beautiful warm patina from generations of use.

These large Bailer Shell Necklaces were not just pretty ornaments to wear but also an important type of traditional wealth and currency that was used to pay for bridal dowries, land disputes, or given as a sign of respect during funerals of important clan leaders both men & women.

These are the most beautiful examples I had field-collected and I have kept them in my private collection for 38 years.  These ornaments would have taken a huge amount of time to make using traditional tools, cutting them with sand and bamboo friction method.

As you can see in the field photos they are worn the convex side out & equally worn by both men and women.

Most shell ornaments made in New Guinea were not only objects of great beauty but all a store of traditional wealth that families & clans kept & used and traded and received for generations.

The Highlands areas of New Guinea are a long way to the coast where shells were found, they are traded and slowly work their way through walking tracks through different communities and finally reach the Highlands people where they are important objects of traditional wealth.

The fertile Highlands have long been inhabited and artifacts uncovered in the Ivane Valley indicate that the Highlands were first settled about 50,000 years ago. The inhabitants were nomadic foragers but around 10,000 years ago began developing a fairly advanced agricultural society.  The Highlands were not settled by the Western powers during the early colonial period and they were first visited by western zoologists and explorers, such as Mick Leahy who opened the Wahgi Valley and Mount Hagen, and Richard Archbold in the 1930s.

I spent several years in the early 1980s traveling to remote areas in both West Papua & Papua New Guinea collecting & documenting traditional art & ceremonies, much of what I collected is now in important museums & private collections around the world.

Large old Bailer Shells like these two were rare and still highly valued when I was there 40 years ago.

These beautiful shell ornaments and others I am starting to list on my website were from my private collection that I have kept for 40 years and I am now ready to sell due to age & health.   Keep looking at my website as I will be adding beautiful art to all the galleries & sub-galleries regularly.

Provenance The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic & New Guinea Arts & Arts of West Papua Indonesia

INQUIRE HERE

 

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.

Two Fine Old Hair Comb Ornaments Malaita Island Solomon Islands19th Century

See more Fine Oceanic Body Ornaments and Art Objects in Ornaments & Artifacts Gallery

These two very beautiful old Hair Comb Ornaments are from Malaita Island in the Solomon Islands.

The combs are decorated with woven red & yellow orchid stems to make fine geometric designs on the front of the combs.

The combs were made in the late 19th Century, they were worn in the hair as ornaments and sometimes they had feathers or colored fiber attached to the tops of the comb. They were called Kafa Gwaroa Doe.  These I field collected in the remote Kwaio area in central Malaita 40 years ago.

The Solomon Islands are famous for the very finely made ornaments like these Hair Combs.

Fine Comb Ornaments like these and Shell Money Ornaments are an important type of traditional currency in the Solomon Islands and throughout the Pacific Island in general.  Traditional wealth objects like these were often part of a bridal dowry or used payments for compensation in disputes about land or gardens. Each family had some hair comb ornaments and sets of shell money ornaments that were worn on important ceremonial occasions.  The two old field photos both show men wearing combs in their hair.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Solomon Islands Art

INQUIRE HERE

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.

Three Fine Old Hair Comb Ornaments Makira Island Solomon Islands19th Century

See more Fine Oceanic Body Ornaments and Art Objects in Ornaments & Artifacts Gallery

These three very beautiful old Hair Comb Ornaments with fine shell inlay are from Makira Island also known as San Christobal Island in the Solomon Islands.

The combs were made in the late 19th Century, they were worn in the hair as ornaments and sometimes they had feathers or colored fiber attached to the tops of the comb. They were called Arapa Reoreo.  These finely made combs have triangular-shaped shell inlays set in a black nut putty. The Solomons are famous for their shell work inlays used on many types of ceremonial objects including the famous Nusu Nusu Canoe Prow Ornaments.

Fine Comb Ornaments like these and Shell Money Ornaments are an important type of traditional currency in the Solomon Islands and throughout the Pacific Island in general.  Traditional wealth objects like these were often part of a bridal dowry or used payments for compensation in disputes about land or gardens. Each family had some hair comb ornaments and sets of shell money ornaments that were worn on important ceremonial occasions.  The two old field photos both show men wearing combs in their hair.

Provenance: Old Collection Australia & The Todd Barlin Collection of Solomon Islands Art

INQUIRE HERE

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.