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A Superb Old New Guinea War Axe New Britain Island Papua New Guinea 19th Century

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Collection No. TB-1191
Size (114cm)
New Guinea Oceanic Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Australia Aboriginal Bark Painting

A Superb Old New Guinea War Axe Tolai People New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago, part of the Islands Region of Papua New Guinea  Dating from the 19th Century.  

This is not an everyday working axe for cutting wood, this is a War Axe or Prestige Axe that a chiefly person once owned, it was made for a large man as it is tall & heavy to wield in one hand.

Clubs and War Axes were also emblems of status & prestige & contained ancestral power as they were passed down over generations.

This very fine old War Axe is carved from a single piece of dense hardwood, and the handle ends in a beautiful conical-shaped form and decorated with braided fibre woven designs, the steel axe head is an old hand-forged old trade axe. Steel Axes & tools were one of the things the local people really wanted from Europeans because they were so much more efficient than their prior stone axes & tools.  First, the German Colonials before WW1 traded large numbers of Steel Axes in return for local labor, and later the British & Australians brought steel axes & tools.

Provenance: Ex George Grey Collection Late 19th Century.  The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art 

Grey was a founding member of the Queensland Royal Anthropological Society & had a fine early collection of New Guinea & Pacific Island 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 in 1996 (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

Have a look at my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  https://www.oceanicartsaustralia.com/about/exhibition-and-publications/ that shows exhibitions in public Museums and Art Galleries that I helped with around the world over 40 years

See this link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996 about my Artworks at The National Museums in France https://www.oceanicartsaustralia.com/art-for-sale/louvre-magazine-june-1996-review-of-exhibition-asmat-et-mimika-d-irian-jaya-april-1996-at-the-musee-national-des-arts-dafrique-et-d-oceanie-paris/

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.