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A Superb Old New Guinea Neckrest or Headrest Coastal Sepik River Area Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-2740
Size Height 23 cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Superb Old New Guinea Neckrest or Headrest from the Coastal Sepik River Area Papua New Guinea

This beautifully carved old Headrest / Neckrest was made by a master carver from the Coastal Sepik River area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.

This fine sculpture is comprised of stylized Birdnan Ancestor Figures shown on all sides of the Neckrest.  Sepik River artists are renowned for energic creativity from their monumental Ceremonial Houses, Ancestor & Spirit Figures, and Masks to the smallest everyday objects that are beautifully carved and decorated.

Some Neckrests, used by elders, served as marks of secular and religious authority, they are often adorned with images of spirits, ancestors, or other supernatural beings, and some also had magical properties.

The headrest is imbued with an especially significant spirituality because of its association with the mystical aura of sleep. Sleep was recognized as the most intimate relationship with the spirit realm, therefore the decoration on headrests was especially intertwined with their spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, the human head is associated with concepts of power, therefore anything that was created to support the head or this power was subsequently revered.

Sleeping on a Headrest with ancestors and clan totems protects the person when sleeping from malevolent spirits and dreams. Also, the more practical aspect is in many places in New Guinea men had elaborate hairstyles that they spent time and effort to keep looking their best, The headrest helps protect their hairstyles while sleeping.

Provenance:  Collected by Morris Young in Papua New Guinea more than 50 years ago.

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.

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