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A Fine Old New Guinea Bowl Lake Sentani Area North West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

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Collection No. T-2158
Size 50 x 27cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Bowl Lake Sentani Area North West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

This fine old and well-used bowl is from the Lake Sentani area on the NW Coast of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia.

The bowl of oval form is slightly convex on the outside with a lug at the top for tying on the wall when not in use. The design on the outside is an elegant stylised fish with a chiefly design called fou.  

This old bowl I field collected at the village of Bobrongko Village on Lake Sentani in 1985, in 1985 -1986 I spent several months visiting every village on Lake Sentani and other mainland villages close by. The people in the villages were always very kind, warm & generous during my visits and to my great surprise & delight people in the villages still had & used old wood bowls. I bought many fine 19th Century – Early 20th-century bowls at this time, this being one of them.

Lake Sentani art is very unique on the Island of New Guinea, their art was calm & serene, and beautiful without the often-aggressive look common to the Sepik or Asmat areas.  I saw similarities between the styles of Lake Sentani and the Massim Cultures of Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea.

Lake Sentani has had a very long history of trading with people from SE Asia who came looking for Bird of Paradise feathers, these trade links were so old that there were Dongson era bronze age artifacts in archaeological sites & still in use in villages like ancient glass ornaments, bangles & beads & ancient bronze kettle drums and ceramics.

In the months I spent staying in villages in Lake Sentani I made collections of everyday objects like bowls, paddles, and utensils (some other Lake Sentani objects will be listed on my website).  I still have a small collection of old Lake Sentani Plates that were gifted to my mother and came back to me after she passed away.

This old bowl dates from the late 19th to early 20th century.

In Australia at The National Gallery of Australia, we have one of the most significant Lake Sentani figures in their collection a double ancestor figure that once belonged to the famous British American Artist Sir Jacob Epstein. This superb figure is always a great pleasure to look at.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art

Excellent References:

Art of Northwest New Guinea by Suzanne Greub 1992

Ancestors of the Lake: Art of Lake Sentani & Humboldt Bay New Guinea 1991 Edited by Virginia- Lee Webb


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