A Superb Old New Guinea Massim Figure by Master Carver Banieva Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea
A Superb Old Massim Figure by Master Carver Banieva Milne Bay Province PNG 19th Century
This superb Massim Figure was carved by a known Massim carver Banieva who was also from the Suau area in the Milne Bay Province in the far Southeast part of Papua New Guinea.
In Papua New Guinea where virtually all of the many thousands of Master Carvers remain unidentified Banieva and Mutuaga are rare examples of known master carvers whose work has been admired and collected since the late 19th Century.
Born in the 1860’s Banieva lived and worked in the Suau District in the Milne Bay province of Papua New Guinea. Banieva would have known the other famous Massim master carver of that time Mutuaga. It is a miracle that there is a photo of Banieva caring above this photo is from the book Mutuaga: A 19th Century Master Carver by Harry Beran : Wollongong University Press 1996
Banieva carvings are unique in their stylised representation of ancestor figures, several of his artworks can be seen in the book Mutuaga: A Nineteenth-Century New Guinea Master Carver: Wollongong University Press 1996 Page 233, these show the unique style of the incised hands held to the chest. There is also a photo of Banieva at work carving in the same publication on Mutuaga page 215 Plate 49.
We are also fortunate in the extensive research and writings of the art historian Dr. Harry Beran who has studied Massim Art & Culture over 60 years.
This finely carved Janus Ancestor Figure by Banieva is quite unique it shows two men standing back to back on a shared oval-shaped base. both are smoking tobacco in pipes. I personally love the way the hands are done in a very stylised manner. There is finely incised decorations on the body and base and face and the designs have been highlighted with white lime infilled into the designs.
Figures by Banieva are extremely rare & most are in Museum Collections. This is the only example I have owned or I have seen in private hands.
Some of the finest carvers on the Island of New Guinea came the Massim Culture in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. These artists are well known for their amazing Lime Spatulas and Wealth objects but their early figurative art is less well known. In Pre-European contact times the Massim certainly the made and used ancestor figures for traditional use in ancestor worship, soon I will list another Massim Figure that was known collected by Captain Thomson in 1896.
Reference: Mutuaga: A Nineteenth-Century New Guinea Master Carver: Wollongong University Press 1996
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Pacific Islands Oceanic and New Guinea and Asian 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 in1996 (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.
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.