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A Fine OId New Guinea War Shield Northwest Asmat Area West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

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Collection No. TB-1566
Size 171cm x 47cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art

A Fine Old New Guinea War Shield Northwest Asmat Area West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This beautifully carved old and well-used New Guinea Shield is from the Asmat people from Weo Village in the remote Northwest Asmat area on the South Coast of West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia.  The photo above shows the Shield in Wo Village with the owner of the Shield on the left.  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.

This shield is missing the handle on the back, you can see where it was broken off, it does not lessen the shield in any way and it is helpful that the shield can hang flat on a wall where if it had a handle it make the shield hard to hang on the wall.

This beautiful old and well-used shield was collected by me in Weo in 1985.  At that time Weo 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 which is their only way to increase their genetic pool in a small village.  Weo is a small village of less than 50 people.

I spent a lot of time in the Asmat region in the early 1980s and old and used Shields of this quality in the Coastal and Northwest Asmat Areas were rare. Many of the artworks I collected then are now in major museum collections around the world including The Musee du Quai Branly Museum in Paris, when you walk into the Oceanic Art Pavilion at The Musee du Quai Branly the first thing you see is the monumental ancestor poles from the Asmat & Mimika along with Dance Costumes Shields and large Soul Canoe, all of these were field collected by me. Originally they were in an exhibition ” Asmat et Mimika at The National Museum of African and Oceanic Art in 1996 (now that museum is part of The Musee du Quai Branly).  The exhibition the Asmat and Mimika in 1996 was published in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine see the link below and a photo of the exhibition above.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art

Exhibited: The Shields of Oceania 2000 Sydney College of the Arts at Sydney University at the Pacific Arts Festival for the 2000 Sydney Olympics

Published & Exhibited: Oceanic Arts Pacifica: Oceanic Art for the Todd Barlin Collection 2014 Casula Power House Arts Centre Sydney Pages 21 & 32 

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.


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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