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Carved Pig Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-666
Size 18x13cm
Carved Pig Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

This  stylised carved figure of a Pig is from the Massim culture in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.

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. Pigs have always been of social and political, as well as economic, importance. 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 neighbouring groups. Pigs are often used in dowry payments by a young mans family to the brides family.

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

Provenance: Nora Heysen Collection (1911-2003) Heysen was a famous Australian artist and was an official war arrtis in New Guinea during the WW2.  This is when she would have acquired this carving along with many others that I had the chance to buy from her brother after she passed away.

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