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A Superb Old New Guinea Drum Asmat People West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

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Collection No. TB-3834
Size Height 70cm
Abelam New Guinea Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
The Art of Compassion The Todd Barlin Collection
Asian Buddhist Art
Australia Aboriginal Bark Painting

A Superb Old New Guinea Asmat Drum from the South Coast of West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia Dating from the early 20th Century

This very fine Asmat Drum was kept by several generations of one family. For the Asmat people, wood and trees and drums are part of their creation mythology where the creator Fumeripitsj carved the first Asmat people from a tree & brought them to life by playing his drum.

This very beautiful old drum has two ancestor heads as part of the handle and was obviously a family heirloom that had been used for a very long time.  When I was field collecting in the remote Northwest Asmat area in 1985-1986,  the people rarely ever wanted to sell an old drum, they were happy for me to see them but they were generally not for sale which to me shows how important drums were to the families that owned them.

The world became aware of the Asmat people and their art when Michael Clark Rockefeller who was collecting Asmat Art went missing and was presumed dead there in November 1961,  the artworks he collected are still beautifully displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York

This old drum along with other artworks was collected by Todd Barlin over a 2-year period from 1985-1986, most of these artworks are now in major museum collections around the world including 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 fine old drum.  Above are two photos from the groundbreaking exhibition “The Asmat & Mimika” at the National Museum of African & Oceanic Art in Paris now part of  The Musee du Quai Branly Museum.

Provenance: The  Todd Barlin Collection of Asmat & New Guinea Oceanic 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.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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.