Chief’s Staff Bougainville Island Papua New Guinea early 20th Century
This superb Chief’s Staff is from Bougainville or Buka Islands and dating from the early 20th Century.
The Staff is carved from a single piece of hardwood, the finial is finely carved in the form of an important ancestor figure with an expressive face with the mouth open as if talking strongly. Below the head is a pair of arms with the hands held close to the top of the figure’s chest. There are no legs and the rest of the staff is covered with finely woven yellow orchid stem bindings. The top of the staff ends in a phallic-shaped finial.
Over the 40 years, I have been collecting Oceanic Art this is the finest pair of Bougainville Chief’s Staff that I have seen outside of Museum Collections.
Though Bougainville and Buka Islands are now a semi-autonomous area of Papua New Guinea, culturally they are more related to the people of the Western Solomon Islands which is just a short boat ride away. In previous times people moved back & forth freely between the Western Solomon’s & Bougainville and Buka Islands.
Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of Oceanic Art and Artefacts and Ornaments
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