A Rare Highlands Female Ancestor Figure, Eastern Highlands Province Papua New Guinea
This finely carved & decorated female Ancestor Figure is from the Eastern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
Figurative art in the Papua New Guinea Highlands is rare, they were not prolific carvers of ceremonial art as with the Sepik River cultures or the people in the Papuan Gulf area, they were great farmers & warriors and their artistic expression was mainly in the form of elaborate body decoration for ceremonies and daily life.
Shells, feathers & pigs tusks were all a form of traditional wealth and could be worn by both men & women, the highlands cultures have style, they know how to decorate themselves in the most beautiful ways. This figure shows these traditions. These types of figures are rare, some were collected by Stan Moriarty (see photo of three similar figures collected by Moriarty) in the 1960s and are now in the collection of The Art Gallery of NSW in Sydney, others were collected a bit later by the intrepid field collector and friend Peter Hallinan ( see field photo with Hallinan and Wanamera circa 1969)
Provenance: Field Collected by Peter Hallinan (1938-2015) Hallinan was one of the early field collectors in The Eastern Highlands Province. The Todd BArlin Collection of Oceanic Art