A Superb Old New Guinea Abelam Wood Head Prince Alexander Mountains East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea
|Size||Height: 28cm without stand|
A Superb Old New Guinea Abelam Wood Head from the Prince Alexander Mountains Area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea
Provenance: The Stan Gordon Moriarty Collection Sydney (1906 -1978) as seen in the old photo in his house above
This finely carved and painted wood head called Idap was used in Yam Harvest ceremonies that are at the heart of the Abelam Culture.
The Abelam are well known for their large and beautiful Ceremonial Houses where sacred artworks are kept & the initiation of young men takes place.
For the Abelam the importance lies in the bright polychrome paints applied to their surfaces, the paint is a magical substance that endows the figures with supernatural power and beauty.
One of the major focuses of ceremonial life among the Abelam people of northeast New Guinea is the competitive growth and exchange of long yams. The Abelam cultivate two distinct categories of yams—a small variety used as ordinary food and long yams, massive tubers that can be as much as twelve feet long. A man’s social status is determined largely by his success in growing long yams. Each man has a permanent exchange partner to whom he ceremonially presents his largest yams following the annual harvest, later receiving those of his rival in return.
Men who are consistently able to give their partners longer yams than they receive gain great prestige. Lavishly adorned for the presentation ceremony, the finest long yams are essentially transformed into human images, decorated in the manner of men in full ceremonial regalia. The “heads” of the enormous tubers are adorned with specially made yam masks such as this one, which is made exclusively for yams and is never worn by humans.
Provenance: The Stan Gordon Moriarty Collection Sydney (1906 -1978) Photo above of in his house 1960s just below the Yuat River Mundugamor Mask (now in the collection of The Musee du Quai Branly Paris France)
The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Papua New Guinea Art
I first went to Papua New Guinea in 1985 for an adventure & what I found was that I really enjoyed being with the people of New Guinea, over the next 38 years I spent extensive time spent collecting and documenting traditional art & ceremonies in remote areas of Papua New Guinea & West Papua, The Solomon Islands & Vanuatu & the other Pacific Islands countries. During these travels, I made major collections of New Guinea & Oceanic Art for major Museums and Public Art Galleries
I was honoured by being in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine for the collections I made for The Museum of African & Oceanic Art Paris in1996 (now the Musee Quai Branly) for the exhibition “Asmat et Mimika d’ Irian Jaya April 1996 At THE MUSEE NATIONAL des ARTS D’AFRIQUE et d’ OCEANIE, Paris
See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996
I have artwork for Museums & Art Galleries but also for collectors at every stage of their collecting. I want to encourage people to explore the fine art of New Guinea & West Papua and the Pacific Islands and to be able to see and touch the artworks in a relaxed and friendly manner in my Sydney Gallery. I would like to invite you to visit my gallery and see the artworks in person and also look at my website www.oceanicartsaustralia.com where there are many Galleries & Sub Galleries to explore.
My Gallery of nearly 40 years is the last physical gallery in Sydney that specialises in New Guinea & Oceanic Art. Sydney is just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbours.
To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.
For all inquiries, please contact us.