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A Superb Old New Guinea Stone Wealth Axe Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

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Collection No. TB-1850
Size Height 88cm x 54cm width
Oceanic Arts Australia buys and sells tribal New Guinea art

A Superb Old New Guinea Stone Wealth Axe Massim Culture Milne Bay Province Papua New Guinea

This fine old and used ceremonially Wealth Axe is from the Massim Culture in the Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea. This beautiful old Presentation or Wealth Axe was made solely to show off the Stone Axe Head which is a type of important traditional wealth.

This Wealth Axe was used in the complex Kula trading circle that built lifetime trading partners & commitments between a large group of small islands in the Milne Bay Province.

Carved from a single piece of hardwood in an elegant form, the handle has a round butt with pierced holes and the rounded finial at the top is finely incised with birds designs, the stone is secured with bush fibre rope and the whole object is in good original condition with an old crusty brown patina.  The Wealth Axe dates from the late 19th to early 20th Century though the stone might be much older.

Kula valuables are traded purely for the purpose of enhancing one’s social status and prestige. Carefully prescribed customs and traditions surround the ceremonies that accompany the exchanges which establish strong, ideally lifelong relationships between the exchange parties (karayta’u, “partners”). The act of giving is a display of the greatness of the giver, accompanied by shows of exaggerated modesty in which the value of what is given is actively played down. Such a partnership involves strong mutual obligations such as hospitality, protection and assistance.  Kula valuables never remain for long in the hands of the recipients; rather, they must be passed on to other partners within a certain amount of time, thus constantly circling around the ring. However, even temporary possession brings prestige and status. Important chiefs can have hundreds of partners while less significant participants may only have fewer than a dozen.

Provenance:  Ex John Friede Collection New York. His collection is known as the JOLIKA Collection most of which is now in the collection of The De Young Fine Art Museum in San Francisco.

The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea 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 spent 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 & 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 in 1996 (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 & 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.



If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

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