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A Superb Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure Upper Sepik River Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-2807
Size Height 132cm
New Guinea Oceanic Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art
The Art of Compassion The Todd Barlin Collection
Asian Buddhist Art

A Superb Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure Upper Sepik River Papua New Guinea

This beautifully carved old female Ancestor Figure is from the Upper Sepik River area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.

The figure was originally once part of a larger carved house post. The house post was part of a Men’s Cult House or Haus Tambaran. 

Made from a single piece of hardwood, she is standing with her hands on her hips. Her torso and shoulders have deeply incised clan designs that represent body scarification.  Scarification is similar to tattooing except the designs are upraised on the skin by rubbing ash into the cut designs which are often part of initiations. Scarification was widely practiced in the Sepik River area for both men & women and famously so in the Middle Sepik River area where initiated men had their back, chest, and posterior scarred to look like crocodile markings, the crocodile is an important totemic animal.

Ancestor figures were an important part of a communities spiritual well-being, they offered protection from malevolent forces and help to ensure fertility for gardens growing large yams and taro.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Papua New Guinea Art & Oceanic 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 in1996 (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

See all of the links & photos in my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY and there is the link to the article in the prestigious Louvre Magazine 1996

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.