A Superb Old New Guinea Bowl Papuan Gulf Area South Coast Papua New Guinea
|61cm without stand
A Superb Old New Guinea Bowl Papuan Gulf Area South Coast Papua New Guinea Dating from the 19th Century
This old bowl of elegant form has a fine Ancestor or Spirits Head as the focus of the bowl, the head is carved in high relief and is similar in design to the abstract Gope Spirit Boards that the Papuan Gulf is renowned for. There is an incised clan design around the edge of the bowl but it is the Ancestors Head & the very old patina that makes the bowl so beautiful.
In the past, the primary focus of religious and artistic life in this region was based on these powerful spirits called Imunu. Each clan had specific imunu Spirits that were associated with a specific location in the landscape, rivers, or sea, and was linked to the specific clan.
The Papuan Gulf region comprises approximately five major groups of related peoples, each with its own stylistically distinct forms of masks, figures, and spirit boards. Nearly every object was created to communicate with or control the spirit world for the benefit of the family or community. Local sculptors were able to attract the spirits to live in the Gope Boards that were kept in shrines in the longhouses, the center of men’s community life, or to inhabit the masks and enable dancers to be activated by them during performances involving the entire community.
Old bowls like these are family heirlooms sometimes several generations old, they were used on ceremonial occasions for the most favored of foods like wild boar or cassowary.
The artists of the Papuan Gulf made superb ceremonial artworks but also daily objects like this Food Bowl that were beautifully decorated with ancestral designs that are always a reminder of the Ancestor’s presence.
The Bowl comes with a custom stand and it looks amazing on a table or shelf.
Provenance: Collected by Thomas Schultze-Westrum in the 1960s.
The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art
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