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A Fine Old New Guinea Pig Carving Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-666
Size 18x13cm
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art
Asian Buddhist Art

A Fine Old New Guinea Pig Carving Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

This very cute stylized carved Pig is from the Massim culture in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

Pigs have always been of social and political, as well as economic, importance. Pigs are often used in dowry payments by a young man’s family to the bride’s family.

Pigs were probably introduced from SE Asia and there is some evidence that they may have been introduced as long ago as 10,000 years BP. Austronesian speakers seem to have introduced pigs of a different kind at some later time. Wild pigs are hunted for food. Domestic pigs are slaughtered for food when other sources of protein are unavailable but mostly kept for important ceremonial occasions, either within a village or in exchange arrangements with neighboring groups.

Some ancient carvings of pigs are known from the Milne Bay province, and one in the Jolika collection of New Guinea Art at the De Young Fine Art Museum in San Francisco is carbon-dated to an early date.

Provenance: Nora Heysen Collection (1911-2003) Heysen was a famous Australian artist and was an official war artist in New Guinea during WW2. 

The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic Art 


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