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Massim Bird Form Canoe Ornament, Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. T-3599
Size Height: 49 cm
Massim Bird Form Canoe Ornament, Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea
Massim Bird Form Canoe Ornament, Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea
Massim Bird Form Canoe Ornament, Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

This elegant bird form canoe ornament is from the group of islands that make up the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.  Finely carved from a single piece of wood by a master carver. The third photo shows a drawing of the type of boat or Kula Trading Canoe it was used on where it was placed at the front of the boat. This is the only example of this type of Canoe Ornament that I have seen.  Kula is a complex trading cycle that can make lifetime trading partners and social connections over the many that make up the Milne Bay Province. Often refereed to as the” Massim”  a term originating from Misima Island. Massim societies are usually characterised by matrilineal decent and elaborate mortuary rites that are part of the Kula trading system.  Canoes were they main way of travelling by people in Milne Bay Province, they were able to travel long distances using a single sail made from fibre matts.  This area on New Guinea made some of the most beautiful artworks from all of New Guinea, the Massim, are well known for their beautiful lime spatulas, canoe ornaments and yam house decorations and their artworks are featured in many major museum collection and displays.

Provenance:  The John & Marcia Friede Collection now part of the De Young Fine Art Museum in San Francisco California.

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