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A Superb Old New Guinea Telefomin Cult House Door West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-146
Size 251 x 55cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Superb Old New Guinea Telefomin Cult House Door West Sepik Province Papua New Guinea. Dating from the early 20th Century 

This beautiful old Men’s Cult House Door from the Telefomin Area in the Star Mountains in the West Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. This is a genuinely old and well-used Cult House Door dating from the early 20th Century.

Carved from a single piece of hardwood and decorated with clan designs carved in low relief on the upper part of the door and highlighted with red, white and black ochre. These designs are similar to the ones used on war shields that are highly sought by collectors.

The field photo above shows how the Door fits onto the front of the Men’s House and provides only a small oval-shaped entry point and that is the only way in or out of the Men’s House.  Only initiated men are allowed inside where important clan ceremonial objects are kept along with their ancestor’s skulls and hunting trophies like boars skulls & war shields.

In the 1990s there were many of these on the market but none were used like this old example. This is an important door that had been used on the Men’s Cult House for decades. See the close-up image of where their feet constantly went in and out that made a very old patina.

Provenance:  The Paulian Society in Sydney in 1986, they are a catholic charity with long associations with New Guinea people & their art.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art 


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