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A Fine Old Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure


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Collection No. TB-1848
Size Height: 148cm
A Fine Old Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure
A Fine Old Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure
A Fine Old Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure
A Fine Old Monumental Abelam Spirit Figure

This finely sculptured Bird Man Spirit Figure is how a ceremonially ochre painted figure should look when on display inside the men’s cult house. When seen by the initiates for the first time inside the sacred men’s house the Spirit Figures should shimmer with spiritual energy, the ochre painting on the figures is a very important part of Abelam Art.  This is the original ochre paintwork when it was collected in the village setting in the 1960’s.  The Bird Man figure with an extended pot belly and head is surmounted by an ancestor figure laying horizontally & on the opposite side an ancestor head, there are other totemic animals present on this sculpture; a bird, snake.

Provence: Collected in the 1960s by Dr Fred Gerrits.

Gerrits was born in 1933 in Bandung, in Indonesia. After graduating with a degree in medicine in Holland, he settled in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s, where he met his future wife Nel. As of 1964 the Gerrits worked in various hospitals in New Guinea  until Fred was appointed as the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Officer for the provinces of West and East Sepik, with a base in Maprik at the foot of the Prince Alexander Mountains. Gerrits collection is featured in major museum collections around the world.

The Todd Barlin Collection

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