Two Superb Massim Chiefs Clubs 19th Century
|Size||Left 83.5cm & Right 81cm|
These two superbly early Massim Chief’s Clubs are from the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Gunia. Dating from the 19th Century, these beautiful old clubs were an emblem of high status and prestige for the men who once owned them. Both Clubs were carved by a master carver with refined elements including ancestors’ faces on the finials, stylized birds, a snake & scrolling designs that the Massim are renowned for.
Culturally the Milne Bay region is referred to as “the Massim,” a term originating from the name of Misima Island but is used to describe the artworks from the whole province made of 600 islands, about 160 of which are inhabited.
The regional trading systems of the islands around the eastern end of New Guinea are called Kula and are particularly elaborate trading systems where men had lifetime trading partners and social obligations and shell ornaments and cultural objects that constantly moved between communities.
The Massim artists are well known for their beautiful artworks such as Canoe Ornaments and their amazing Lime Spatulas used when chewing betel nut. The Massim is one of my favorite art styles as their art is non-aggressive and also reminds me of the art of Lake Sentani an area in West Papua where I spent a lot of time.
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art