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A Fine Old New Guinea Gable Mask off a Ceremonial House Middle Sepik Area Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. T-4075
Size 81cm x 42cmcm
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
Asian Buddhist Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Gable Mask off a Ceremonial House Middle Sepik Area Papua New Guinea

This beautiful old Gable Mask is made from sago spathe over a bamboo frame & then painted & decorated with woven & wood attachments.

In the early 20th Century across the Sepik River area spectacular ceremonial houses were found in almost every village. They are known as ‘Haus tambaran’ in New Guinea pidgin English. These amazing ceremonial houses embody the paramount female ancestor whose enormous face appears on the gable and whose name is given to the house.

Clans descending from a common ancestor build Ceremonial Houses where ceremonial artworks are stored, only men who are initiated are permitted inside the house Tambaran.  During ritual ceremonies, the house becomes ‘hot’, indicating the presence of spirits.

Gable masks were placed high above the entrance of the ceremonial houses. Intended to be seen from a distance, their placement at the exterior apex of the large and imposing ceremonial house would loom downwards over the nearby dance ground where everyone could feel its presence.

The photo of a middle Sepik River ceremonial house where you can see a similar Gable Mask near the top of the peaked structure is from the superb book & exhibition “Myth and Magic: Art of the Sepik River”  by Crispin Howarth at The National Gallery of Australia in 2015

Provenance: Collected by Peter Austin in 1965-1966

The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea 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 in 1996 (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 enquires, please contact us.