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A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century


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Collection No. TB-1664
Size Height 151cm x Width 44cm (each panel)
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century
A Superb Pair of Kanak Chiefs House Door Jambs New Caledonia 18th Century

A Superb Matching Pair of  Kanak Chief’s House Door Jambs from Northern Grande Terre Island, New Caledonia Dating from the 18th to early 19th Century 

In the past, the chief’s house, a circular building built around a central post and situated at the end of a broad avenue, was richly decorated with ornamentation that referenced his ancestral lineage. The single entrance of the house was flanked on either side by pair of carved Door Jamb. These massive plank-like images represented two ancestors with only their heads exposed and wrapped in woven funerary mats. Tradition dictated that only the heads of ancestors should be represented in art since this was how they revealed themselves to the living.

The gender of the ancestor was indicated by the pattern on the band above the eyes. Male ancestors had a series of vertical lines, whereas female ancestors had a series of slanted lines. These door jambs were meant to symbolize the reemergence of the ancestors into the community

Ex: Deaccessioned from The Bruce Museum of Arts & Science. Greenwich, Connecticut, USA  Catalogue No G18088 

Exhibited:  Pacific Art from The Tjibaou Cultural Centre July – August 2000  At The SH Ervin Gallery Sydney

The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art 

The Bruce Museum was originally built as a private home in 1853 for lawyer, clergyman and historian Francis Lister Hawks.

Robert Moffat Bruce (1822-1909), a wealthy textile merchant and member of the New York Cotton Exchange, bought the house and property in 1858. In 1908, Robert Moffat Bruce deeded his property to the Town of Greenwich, stipulating that it be used as “a natural history, historical, and art museum for the use and benefit of the public.” The first exhibition ever at the Bruce Museum took place in 1912 and featured works by local artists known as the Greenwich Society of Artists, several of whom were members of the Cos Cob Art Colony.

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