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A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure


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Collection No. T-4447
Size Height: 121 cm
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure
A Fine Older Asmat Ancestor Maternity Figure

This beautifully carved Maternity Figure is from the Asmat People on the South  Coast of West Papua Indonesia . Likely carved in the 1950’s -1960’s period, it show the great artistic skills of Asmat Master Cavers or Wow Ipits in the Asmat Language.  The standing female figure with her hands raised towards her chin is a common Asmat theme.  The baby holding onto the back of  her mother with her arms holding the mothers shoulders and the legs wrapped around her waist.

The main Asmat creation myth is about the creator being Fumeripitjs who was lonely so he carved figures from wood and then he made a drum, when he played the drum the carved wood figures came to life and that is how the first Asmat people were created.

I spent a lot of time in the Asmat region in the early 1980’s and Ancestor Figures of this quality in the Coastal and Northwest Asmat Areas were rare. Many of the artworks I field 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 are 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.

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