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Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia


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Collection No. TB-2248
Size Left to Right: 40cm, 48cm , 40cm
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia
Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figures West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia

These Three Early Asmat Ancestor Figure Kawe are from the Coastal Asmat Area on the South Coast of West Papua Irian Jaya Indonesia.  All three of these sculptures are from different important Australian Collections.  In the 1980’s I spent a lot of time with the Asmat People in their villages probably about 3 years.  I would usually go for 2-3 months at a time and I travelled to almost every remote village in all of the Asmat areas and districts.  There were many villages where I stayed multiple times & had a very close relationship with families that took me into their home.  I  had so many happy experiences staying with the Asmat people, they were kind, generous, funny and it felt like home for me.  There were some unpleasant times of having Malaria & Dengue Fever, Skin infections ect but I never felt anything except grateful for those amazing experiences.

The Asmat have a very special relationship with the forest & trees where they live. The main Asmat creation myth is about the creator being Fumeripitjs who was lonely so he carved figures from wood and then he made a drum when he played the drum the carved wood figures slowly came to life and that is how the first Asmat people were created.

During the time I spent in villages I always took lots of photos and tried to collect high-quality ceremonial artworks.  Many of the artworks I field-collected are now in major museum collections around the world including The Musee du Quai Branly Museum in Paris, when you walk into the Oceanic Art Pavilion at The Musee du Quai Branly the first thing you see are the monumental ancestor poles from the Asmat & Mimika along with Dance Costumes Shields and large Soul Canoe, all of these were field-collected by me. Originally they were in an exhibition ” Asmat et Mimika at The National Museum of African and Oceanic Art in 1996 (now that museum is part of The Musee du Quai Branly).  The exhibition the Asmat and Mimika in 1996 was published in the prestigious Louvre Museum Magazine in 1996,  see the link below and a few photos of the exhibition above.

Provenance:  The Todd Barlin Collection of  Asmat Art & Oceanic Art

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