Oceanic Art
Fighting Shield 'Phantom', Mid-Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands, PNG
161.0 x 68.0 cm
SOLD

This is a traditional fighting shield, originally with a traditional design (see punctuated designs under), but in the 1980's and 1990's these contemporary painted designs were used on the shields. The Phantom comics are popular in PNG, and this superhero was seen as both a protector and  'The Man Who Never Dies' – a perfect image for a war shield.
Sydney
Oceanic & Aboriginal Art
6th July 2011 to 29th July 2011
Oceanic Art, Dance Mask, Tolai people, New Britain, PNG
Oceanic Art
Dance Mask, Tolai people, New Britain, PNG
31.0 x 18.0 x 17.0 cm
$7,500

The Tolai people use these masks in sacred dances, representing spirits, with the body of the dancer covered in grassy fibres. The forms of their masks are quite abstract, and the colours are combinations of pastel and unusual shades of yellow, green and pink, rarely seen on other tribal artworks.

Provenance
Ex-loed van Bussel, Amsterdam, ex-Visser Gallery, Brussels.
Oceanic Art, Stone-carved Garamut Drum, Angriman Village, Sepik River, PNG
Oceanic Art
Stone-carved Garamut Drum, Angriman Village, Sepik River, PNG
50.0 x 168.0 x 54.0 cm
$35,000

This is one of the finest garamut drums, from the Lower Sepik River; it is of the pre-German contact era and carved with stone tools. The carving is by a master carver, displaying the most detailed and elegant workmanship. The large face forming the main finial represents a spirit crocodile; it is in fact a double face. The smaller finial at the other end is an ancestral head. Engraved designs with curvilinear motifs decorate both sides of the drum. There is an overall glossy patina. It sits on two carved stands (of more recent workmanship) which keep the drum off the damp earth. The drum has a wonderful booming sound when beaten.
Oceanic Art, Basket Hook, Kanganaman Village, Sepik River, PNG
Oceanic Art
Basket Hook, Kanganaman Village, Sepik River, PNG
90.0 x 47.0 x 6.0 cm
SOLD

This is a very elegant hook, used in the Sepik River houses, to suspend food and valuables on baskets, to protect them from rats and insects. A single male ancestor figure forms the main body of the hook; this figure was seen to look over the household and protect them from all sorts of evil influences.
Oceanic Art, Fighting Shield 'Phantom', Mid-Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands, PNG
Oceanic Art
Fighting Shield 'Phantom', Mid-Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands, PNG
161.0 x 68.0 cm
SOLD

This is a traditional fighting shield, originally with a traditional design (see punctuated designs under), but in the 1980's and 1990's these contemporary painted designs were used on the shields. The Phantom comics are popular in PNG, and this superhero was seen as both a protector and  'The Man Who Never Dies' – a perfect image for a war shield.
Oceanic Art, Fighting Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG
Oceanic Art
Fighting Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG
134.0 x 45.0 cm
$4,000
Oceanic Art, Fighting Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG
Oceanic Art
Fighting Shield, Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands, PNG
140.0 x 41.0 cm
$4,500

This region of the Highlands was still considered 'uncontrolled' in the 1950's and, in some regions, into the 1960's. And until recent times tribal fighting has been part of day to day life. Shields were generally painted in abstract designs with bold, bright colours; in some shields a human figure can be seen. This particular figure itself is quite extraordinary, with the arms appearing almost wing-like.
Oceanic Art, Ancestor Figures, Jibako Village, Wosera, Southern Abelam people, PNG
Oceanic Art
Ancestor Figures, Jibako Village, Wosera, Southern Abelam people, PNG

62.0 x 10.0 cm
53.0 x 9.0 cm
$3,000 each

These two figures were both collected in the early 1970's and represent ancestors who give protection against evil influences that may try to harm the owners. Artists from Jibako - which is a remote village in the Wosera region - make these quite unique sculptures with their semi-abstract form and brightly colours.
Oceanic Art, Giant Nassa Shell Ring, Tolai people, New Britain, PNG
Oceanic Art
Giant Nassa Shell Ring, Tolai people, New Britain, PNG
85.0 x 10.0 cm
$7,500

Provenance:
Collected by Leslie Martin in the Rabaul area in 1989. Lesley Martin was born in Papua New Guinea; her mother, Laura Martin, arrived in PNG in 1949, and spent the rest of her life there, living in Lae, Madang and finally Wewak.  Lesley later became an artefact dealer, and is established near San Diego, California.
Purchased from the above in 2006.


These rings, called "Loloi", are made by wealthy men who have accrued shells over many years. Nassa shells, called 'tabu' are the traditional currency of the Tolai people, and used in all transactions to buy food, labour, or a wife. The 'Loloi' are brought out of storage for the important events such as marriage and death rituals; they are traditionally broken up and distributed.
Oceanic Art, Woven Helmet Mask, 'Baba', Abelam people, Sepik River area, PNG
Oceanic Art
Woven Helmet Mask, 'Baba', Abelam people, Sepik River area, PNG
51.0 x 47.0 x 30.0 cm
$1,500

'Baba' masks represent birds – often a cockatoo or a cassowary – and are danced by men wearing this mask, and covered in a long flowing grass skirt. The 'Baba' spirit holds a club or short spear and rushes through the village before a big ceremony, terrorising the women and children, beating them if possible. This sets a volatile atmosphere as other men arrive, decorated for the main ceremony.
Oceanic Art, Woven Helmet Mask, 'Baba', Abelam people, Sepik River area, PNG
Oceanic Art
Woven Helmet Mask, 'Baba', Abelam people, Sepik River area, PNG
59.0 x 36.0 x 27.0 cm
SOLD
Oceanic Art, Dance Mask 'Tangbal', Vokeo Island, North Coast, PNG
Oceanic Art
Dance Mask 'Tangbal', Vokeo Island, North Coast, PNG
114.0 x 38.0 x 28.0 cm
$4,500

The mask represents a spirit who brings good times, and plentiful garden produce. The ceremony may last several days, with the Tangbal spirits appearing and disappearing, and always accompanied by feasting. Often only the mask part is found in collections. This example has the full headdress, kaut, fixed to the mask, with the initiation hair ornament at the top. Inside the mask is a wooden stick, tied to the mask; the dancer holds this in his mouth, and keeps the mask tight to his face. The dancer's body is covered by a skirt made of grasses and leaves.
Oceanic Art, Bridal Veil, 'Ambusap', Middle Sepik River, PNG
Oceanic Art
Bridal Veil, 'Ambusap', Middle Sepik River, PNG
78.0 x 25.0 cm
SOLD

Each bridal veil has its own particular history, where it is made for a bride, usually by her grandfather or maternal uncle, then handed down to a daughter or niece. They are worn by the bride, who is also decorated in other shell valuables and bird of paradise feathers, on her marriage day. They are one of the most valuable of Sepik River wealth items.
Oceanic Art, Giant Shell Ring 'YUA' with nassa shell band & Giant Clamshell Ring 'MAUVALATA', Choisel, Solomons
Oceanic Art
Giant Shell Ring 'YUA' with nassa shell band & Giant Clamshell Ring 'MAUVALATA', Choisel, Solomons

These rings are cut from the giant clamshell; the thickness of Solomon Island rings indicates they came from the biggest clamshells available. They are used in other regions of the Pacific, but these "Mauvalata" are the thickest and heaviest of all. They are wealth item used as traditional currency or money, and the property of powerful men. Sometimes these rings are buried with their owner.

Giant Shell Ring 'YUA' with nassa shell band
(illus. left)
25.0 x 1.0 cm
$2,200

Giant Clamshell Ring 'MAUVALATA', Choisel, Solomons
(illus. right)
24.0 x 7.5 cm
SOLD
Oceanic Art, Dance Paddle, Buka Island, Bouganville, PNG, 19th/ early 20th C
Oceanic Art
Dance Paddle, Buka Island, Bouganville, PNG, 19th/ early 20th C
152.0 x 15.0 cm
$4,000

Dance paddles are used by both men and women in dance. The most important are made for a bride to use on her wedding dance, and they then become part of her regalia for future dancing performances; a woman will keep this dance paddle throughout her life. The figures on the dance paddles represent powerful sea spirits.

Provenance: Ex-English collection.
Oceanic Art, Dance Paddle, Buka Island, Bouganville, PNG, 19th/ early 20th C
Oceanic Art
Dance Paddle, Buka Island, Bouganville, PNG, 19th/ early 20th C
166.0 x 14.0 cm
$3,800
Oceanic Art, Woven Spirit Figures, 'Timbuwarra', Pangis, Southern Highlands, PNG
Oceanic Art
Woven Spirit Figures, 'Timbuwarra', Pangis, Southern Highlands, PNG
118.0 x 45.0 cm
SOLD

$1,200 each

These woven figures, called "Timbuwarra" in the Wiru language, are made at times when there may be, for instance, earthquakes or famine, and the Big Men decide "nature is out of balance". They are said to represent powerful earth spirits; they are made secretly in the bush by old men, paraded through the hamlets and gardens, then placed in the "Timp", or Magic House. After a period, when the big Men determine nature is once again favourable, they are brought out, a feast is held, and the figures are often buried. The earth spirit returns to the earth.