Ancestral Spirit Face
East Abelam, West Yangoru Area, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. 19th Century
Provenance: Walter Randel. John Friede, Rye, New York
Published: Art of the Abelam, fig. 40

This fantastic example of an ancestor face represents a major spirit used in yam festivals. This pre-contact object was stone cared and at one time brightly painted in red, yellow, and white pigments, the remains of which are still visible. Paint was viewed as a magical substances, that gives life to a piece of wood and instilling power into the object. The face is naturalistically carved, the hook nose, small mouth and eyes, and slightly protruding brow leave a beautiful patinated canvas for what was once a brightly painted masterwork. Upon first glance, the base of the object appears to be in the shape of a hook, but a closer look reveals that it is actually in the form of two spirit birds, an important iconographic motif.

Height: 18 inches
11-14-16 / SOLD


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