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Four Fine Old West African Hunting Whistles Gurunsi People Ghana and Burkina Faso Early 20th C

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Collection No. Four African Whistles
Size Heights 12cm to 24cm
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Australia Aboriginal Bark Painting
Asian Buddhist Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
The Art of Compassion The Todd Barlin Collection
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Asian & Japan Scholars Art

Four Fine Old West African Hunting Whistles Gurunsi People Ghana and Burkina Faso Early 20th Century 

This collection shows the various forms that these beautiful objects come in, they are used in many parts of Africa (these are from West Africa) both for magical and ceremonial purposes and for hunting in the bush where hunters secretly communicate with each other when using them.

The hunting whistle was used for sending messages using locally agreed signals, similar to the use of drums elsewhere. Though limited in tone, coded signals could convey numerous types of messages to the fields, the forest, another village, the market, a funeral a dance, or a fight. The time of day, arrivals, and departures of friends or enemies could all be signaled. A hunter, equipped with bows, arrows, quivers, and whistles might join groups of men and women from other villages for both hunting and fishing. Hunting was easy as there was plenty of game around.

This whistle implies an anthropomorphic form while retaining the shape of the utilitarian whistle. There are numerous variations on this particular style in which the basic form remains while the angle and shape of the ‘arms’ and ‘shoulders’ vary from strong geometric lines to gentle curves. The ‘head’ or embouchure also varies in size and form. On some whistles, a carved human head is the only human feature on an otherwise geometric body.

The geometric outlines of the whistles are repeated in many aspects of everyday life amongst the Gurunsi people; for the Nankani the distinctive angular and straight-lined designs symbolize women as child bearers and nurturers. The symbolism is emphasized by using the designs on a range of domestic surfaces such as pottery, basketwork, internal walls and furniture decorations. Similar designs are used for women’s scarification. Decorative art is thus used as a means of reinforcing cultural beliefs and local ethnic identity.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic & African Art

My collection was selected by aesthetics only not by geography or culture,  I bought only what I liked the best after looking at many examples in reference books & museum collections. The African Artworks in my collection consist of a collection of antique Passport Masks, antique African  Flutes or Whistles, and, small Ancestor Figures; these are greatly enjoyed & displayed along with my Oceanic & Asian Art

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of African & Oceanic Art

See my new EXHIBITIONS GALLERY  showing the Museums and Art Galleries Exhibitions that I provided artworks for over the past 40 years. There is the link to the article about my artworks published in the prestigious Louvre Magazine in 1996

I have artwork for Museums and 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 specializes in New Guinea and Oceanic Art.  Sydney is very close to New Guinea & the Pacific Islands where all of these amazing artworks came from, Australia’s closest neighbors.


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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