< Back

A Fine Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure Asmat People West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

Enquire About This Artworks >
Collection No. TB-168
Size Height : 85cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Ancestor Figure Asmat People West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This old and used ancestor figure or kawe is from the Coastal Asmat area on the South Coast of West Papua (Irian Jaya) Indonesia.  The female figure is poised as if walking one leg slightly forward, the arm loosely held at her sides. Made from a softwood (mangrove tree) as all older Asmat figures should be, it also has no base or way to stand independently this is because old figures were tied on the walls inside the Men’s Ceremonial House or Jeu.  This figure has an old patina from handling

The main Asmat creation myth is about the creator Fumeripitjs who was lonely so he carved figures from wood and then he made a drum, when he played the drum the carved wood figures came to life and that is how the first Asmat people were created.  For the Asmat the connection between trees and people is profound.

Provenance: Ex-Catholic Mission Merauke, South Coast West Papua. The priests and brothers at the Catholic Mission in Merauke had carvings like this figure that were collected over 50 years of their staff working in many remote areas of the Asmat. 

The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art

Many of the artworks that I field collected in the Asmat & Mimika are now in important Museum collections around the world like the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris France. When you walk into the Oceanic Art pavilion the first thing you see are the monumental Ancestor Poles from the Asmat & Mimika Cultures along with Shields & Dance Costumes, all of which I field collected.  These artworks were in a superb exhibition in 1996 The Asmat et Mimika at the National Museum of African and Oceanic Art in Paris ( now part of the Musee du Quai Branly ) and published in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine in the same year 1996.


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.