Canoe Ornament,Geelvink Bay,West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia.
This very fine old Canoe Prow Ornament is from the Geelvink Bay area on the North Coast of West Papua, Indonesia. It was placed at the very front of the canoe. When I field collected this canoe ornament 35 years ago it was being kept by a family as an heirloom carving from their Grandfather. They said it was off a large type of ocean going canoe that is no longer made due to the use of aluminium or fibre glass boats that dont take months of time for a community to build as was done with dugout tree canoes made in earlier generations. The village in the field photo this listing is from the same village as this canoe and I have name the family it belonged to. Dating from the early 20th century. The fine open work carving shows the great skill of the carver & at the top of the prow ornament is an ancestor head that has cassowary feathers as hair. This Northwest part of the island of New Guinea had plenty of trade links with SE Asia especially with the Moluccu Islands in Eastern Indonesia where many shared designs has come from.
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