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


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Collection No. TB-1344
Size Height 21cm (without stand)
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Fine Old Amulet Mask from the Coastal Sepik Area in the East Sepik Province of  Papua New Guinea, Collected 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 it’s floating in the air.

When I was visiting New Guinea & West Papua 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

I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries

I was honored by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris

See my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  showing the Museums and Art Galleries Exhibitions that I provided artworks for over the past 40 years. There is the link to the article about my artworks published in the prestigious Louvre Magazine in 1996

I have artwork for Museums and art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery. I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.

My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specializes in New Guinea and Oceanic Art.  Sydney is very close to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.

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