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A Superb Old New Guinea Asmat Ancestor Figure West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia


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Collection No. TB-1691
Size Height: 145cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

This Superb Old New Guinea  Ancestor Figure is from the Asmat People on the South Coast of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This finely carved figural group of three stacked ancestors is done in the style of the most well-known of Asmat artworks called MBis Ancestor Poles, this well might be a section of a large six-meter-tall Bis Pole Sculpture that was damaged and carved to save this section.  Likely carved in the 1960s, it shows the great artistic skills of Asmat Master Cavers or Wow Ipits in the Asmat Language.

The main Asmat creation myth is about the creator Fumeripitjs who was lonely so he carved figures from wood and then made a drum, when he played the drum the carved wood figures came to life and that is how the first Asmat people were created, it explains the deep bond between the Asmat people and trees & the forest.

The Asmat & their art are well-known partially because Michael Rockefeller Jnr went missing in the Asmat Area on November 17, 1961, he was collecting Asmat Artworks for the then Museum of Primitive Art in New York,  now part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art where his collection is still beautifully displayed in the Michal Rockefeller Wing of African, Oceanic Arts one of the great Museums in the world

I spent a lot of time in the Asmat region in the early 1980s and Ancestor Figures of this quality in the Coastal and Northwest Asmat Areas were rare.

Many of the artworks I collected then 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 at The Musee du Quai Branly the first thing you see is the monumental Ancestor Poles from the Asmat & Mimika along with Dance Costumes Shields and large Soul Canoe. all of which were field collected by me. Originally they were in an exhibition ” Asmat et Mimika at The National Museum of African and Oceanic Art in 1996 (now that museum is part of The Musee du Quai Branly).  The exhibition the Asmat and Mimika in 1996 was published in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine which you can see & read in my EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  link below

Look here at my new EXHIBITIONS Gallery.  to see the many places in the world where my artworks have been shown over the past 40 years

Provenance: Professor Jim Peterson (1939-2012) Canberra.  Jim accompanied Robert Mitton to Irian Jaya in 1973 to further the geographic knowledge of this little-known part of the Island of New Guinea. I am pretty certain that this Ancestor figure was collected by Bob Mitton & given as a gift to Jim Peterson as it seems Dr Peterson did not go to the South Coast area where the Asmat are. Travel in West Papua at this time was highly restricted by the Indonesian Government, The Robert Mitton Collection of Asmat & West Papuan Art is at the University of Sydney Chau Chak Wing Museum

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art 

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 just a couple hours’ flight to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.

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.