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A Superb Old New Guinea Slit Gong Drum Lower Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


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Collection No. TB-1351
Size Length 178cm by Height 44cm
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Superb Old New Guinea Slit Gong Drum Lower Sepik River East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea and is called Garamut 

This beautiful old & well-used Slit Gong Drum is from the Lower Sepik River area and is a museum-quality masterpiece.  In many parts of New Guinea, the sounds produced by certain types of musical instruments are played during traditional ceremonies and are often said to be the voices of supernatural beings.  Large slit gongs are a prominent feature of Men’s Ceremonial Houses or Haus Tambaran where they are sometimes arranged in pairs running longitudinally down the length of the earthen floor of the open understory of the structure. Played to accompany a variety of ritual performances and other events, such drums, though used exclusively by men, are readily visible and relatively public objects.

Among Sepik peoples, the most important musical instruments were Sacred Flutes and Slit Gong Drums which are percussion instruments carved from massive logs and hollowed out to create a resonating chamber with a narrow slit-like aperture. The edges are struck with wood beaters to produce a deep, sonorous tone.

The ends of the Slit Gongs are usually embellished with ornate finials depicting important clan ancestors; this very finely carved example has a beautifully carved male Birdman Ancestor Spirit Figure at either end, both figures are surmounted by crocodiles an important clan totem, both sides of this fine drum are adorned with deeply incised clan designs.

Interestingly this Drum just under the male ancestor figures inside the drum is carved female genitalia.  The whole Drum has an old patina and remnants of red & black ochre.

Provenance: Collected in the 1960s by Dr. Fred Gerrits. Gerrits was born in 1933 in Bandung, Indonesia. After graduating with a degree in medicine in Holland, he settled in Papua New Guinea in the 1950s, where he met his future wife Nel. Dr Gerrits was a dedicated field collector of New Guinea Art while he was living and working in New Guinea in 1960s -1970s working for the World Health Organization.  His collection is world-renowned and is now featured in many Museum Collections and Private Collections around the world.

Dr Fred Gerrits author of  “House of Power. House of Pain. Secrets of the Abelam Haus Tambaran of Bongiora (Published 2013) but from his field notes in 1975 

The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Art and Oceanic 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 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 and 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 and 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.