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A Superb Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure by the Massim Master Carver Banieva (1863–1930)

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Collection No. T-5584
Size Height 36cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Superb Old Ancestor Figure by the Master Carver Banieva, (1863–1930) from Dagodagoisu Village, Sua Area, Milne Bay Province, New Guinea

In the field of New Guinea Art where virtually all of the many thousands of carvers remain unidentified, Banieva along with his contemporary Mutuaga both were known & recognized as a master carver whose work has been admired and collected since the late 19th Century.   Gratefully there exists a photo of Banieva taken in 1926 while carving (see above he is on the right )

This fine sculpture depicts a man wearing a ceremonial belt with deep incised scrolling designs on his back, chest, and cheeks, as well as on the uneven base he stands on. The unique style of the hands which are held to the chest with the wrists at odd angles ending with imaginative fingers of different lengths. The expressive face with open mouth and the is tongue is showing, rendered in his unique naturalistic style that both Banieva & Mutuaga are renowned for.

Charles Abel and Francis Edgar Williams both men knew Banieva & Mutuaga & bought many carvings from them in the late 19th / early 20th Century that ended up in Museum collections around the world.

Banieva Gimagima born circa 1860, lived and worked in the Sua District in the Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea. Banieva would have known well the other famous Massim carver of that time Mutuaga. According to Harry Beran in his book “Mutuaga: A Nineteenth Century New Guinea Master Carver: Wollongong University Press 1996 page 22 states “The only carver of Mutuaga’s generation that was a well-known artist is Banieva Gimagima nicknamed Tauseuseuli or Left Hander, who lived in Sapauri Village from 1863 to the early 1930s, he was of the Magesubu (Fish Hawk) Clan.  His photo taken by FE Williams in 1925 (below) appeared in the Papuan Village Magazine on February 15 1929, in that article by Williams and reproduced below shows Banieva working on a Wealth Axe Handle the other better photo of Banieva below was likely taken at the same time. He is also said to have carved Hunan Figures on stands with legs and Lime Spatula with human figure handles & other traditional carvings.

Banieva’s carvings are unique in their stylized representation of ancestor figures, several of his artworks can be seen in the book Mutuaga: A Nineteenth Century New Guinea Master Carver: Wollongong University Press 1996 Page 233, Both Banieva & Mutuaga were said to be the last of the old-time carvers of their generation that produced artworks for local use before the arrival of Europeans.  Reference: Mutuaga: A Nineteenth Century New Guinea Master Carver: Wollongong University Press 1996  Page 233  for other figures carved by Banieva

We are also fortunate in the extensive research and writings of the art historian Dr. Harry Beran who has studied Massim Art & Culture for over 60 years.

Provenance: Possibly Collected by Charles Abel or F.E. Williams in the late 19th Century, both men knew both Banieva & Mutuaga & bought many carvings from them that ended up in Museum collections around the world.

The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art

See my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  showing the Museums and Art Galleries Exhibitions that I provided artworks for over the past 40 years. There is the link to the article about my artworks published in the prestigious Louvre Magazine in 1996

I have artwork for Museums and 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 specializes in New Guinea and Oceanic Art.  Sydney is very close to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.


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