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A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century


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Collection No. TB-853
Size 13cm to 17cm
A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century
A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century
A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century
A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century
A Set of Three Old Fishing Lures, Huon Gulf Area of New Guinea 19th Century

These three finely made old Shell Fishing Lures are from the Huon Gulf Area in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea. They are from the late 19th Century and have been in my collection for a very long time.

Fishing hooks and lures were made and used by indigenous cultures from around the world. Each culture had slightly different shapes and materials to work from but the technology of using hooks and lures to catch fish goes back to ancient humans who worked out how to make and use them to harvest fish in the oceans, lakes, and streams.

A fishing lure is a type of artificial bait which is designed to attract the attention of a fish. The lure uses movement, vibration, flash, and colour to mimic what a fish may eat. Some lures are placed to attract fish so a spear can be used or the quarry be hand caught such as a decoy. Most lures are attached to the end of a fishing line where handlining is used from boats or canoes.

The people of the Huon Gulf Area lived on small Islands called Siassi & Tami and in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, they lived on and through the ocean, fishing was the main source of food and everyone fished, young and old.

These three old lures are made from clamshell on the base and turtle shell for the hook part for the two on the right in the photo ( the one on the far left the hook is carved bone) they are bound together with native string.

I have seen men using traditional fish hooks in the Solomon Islands catch 20 -30 large tuna or skipjack using these when the schools of fish are passing through, it happens very quickly and soon the bottom of their boat was full of fish that was then bought back to the village and distributed between all of the families. This is how people eat almost every day.

All three Fishing Lures are on individual custom made stands

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art