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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
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 held 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 1985.  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.

This Shield along with other carvings collected over a 2 year period in 1985-1986, most of these objects collected are now in major museum collections around the world like the Musee du Quai Branly Museum in Paris. When you walk into the Oceanic Art Pavilion the first thing you see are monumental Ancestor Poles from the Asmat & Mimika along with a Soul Boat , Shields and dance costumes from the Asmat & Mimika, all of those artworks were collected by me at the same time as this shield.

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