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A Superb Asmat Canoe Prow Ormament


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Collection No. TB-2385
Size Length 127cm and Height 40cm
A Superb Asmat Canoe Prow Ormament
A Superb Asmat Canoe Prow Ormament
A Superb Asmat Canoe Prow Ormament

This very fine Asmat Sculpture was once on the front of a large war canoe that help 20 or men standing up paddling. The main figure is a highly abstracted figure of a bird, likely a black Cockatoo which is am important Asmat symbol associated with ritual head hunting in their past. The canoe prow can be viewed in either position either as a vertical or horizontal sculpture, my photos show both.  This amazing canoe ornament I field collected  in the remote Northwest Asmat area in 1986.  I was told that it belonged to the grandfather of the owner going back probably to the 1940’s,  it was kept as a family heirloom.  I later sold it to Peter Hallinan and it was a long time part of his famous collection on the Gold Coast in Queensland.

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