A Pair of Finely Carved Portrait Heads, Middle Sepik
|Size||Heights: 29cm and 30cm|
A Pair of finely carved wood Ancestor Portrait Heads, Middle Sepik River Area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
This pair of ancestor heads are so sensitively rendered as if they are portraits of real people that the artist knew. Depicting a male & female ancestor. They are each carved from a single piece of hardwood and decorated with real human hair, and caved wood ear ornaments that look like real shells , the eyes have inset shells and the ear lobes have shell earrings. Both are finely painted in red, white & black ochre.
The base of these heads are socketed so that they could have been placed on a larger figurative sculpture as is common in the Middle Sepik area. Sometimes these wood heads were replacements for older over-modelled skulls of deceased relatives that were part of the ancient ceremonies of ancestor worship.
Provenance: Collected in 1958 by an Australian Colonial Patrol Officer
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