A Superb Large Old Abelam Spirit Figure, Abelam People, East Sepik Province, Papuan New Guinea
This beautiful sculpture is an Abelam Ngwallndu Spirit Figure, The Abelam people live in the Prince Alexander Mountains area of the East Sepik Province in Papua New Guinea. The Abelam people are well known for the monumental Ceremonial Houses or Haus Tambaran where all important ceremonies take place inside.
This finely carved and ochre-painted Ngwallndu Spirit Figure is exactly how it would look when on display inside the men’s Ceremonial House when seen by the young male initiates for the very first time. These Spirit Figures should shimmer with spiritual energy, the ochre painting on the figures is a very important part of Abelam Art and this is the original ochre paintwork when it was collected in the village setting in the 1960s just after it was used ceremonially,
The male figure is surmounted by finely carved totemic birds at the top and bottom of the ancestor adding to the powerful visual aesthetics.
Provenance: Ex Gabrielle Pizzi Collection (1940 – 2004). The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art
Pizzi was an Australian art dealer who was one of the early galleries that promoted Aboriginal art from the Western Desert from the early 1980s. She had a personal collection of Oceanic Art that I acquired from her family after her death.