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20th C. PNG Painted Wood Ancestral Figure

Papua New Guinea, Sepik River, Washkuk Region, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A large figure carved from a single piece of dark wood. The upper section consists of a round face with a crest on its back that rises to a point; the lower end of the piece is a rounded stake, probably for planting it in the ground or attaching it to a home. The face is charming, with offset, white-painted eyes, a nose that hangs from the brow, and a v-shaped mouth. The face was once bordered by small feathers, of which a few remain. Comes with custom stand. Size: 7.5" W x 19" H (19 cm x 48.3 cm)

Papua New Guinea is an amazingly culturally diverse area, with people in each hilly area and river valley producing interesting and unique artwork. The area around the Washkuk Hills, north of the Upper Sepik River and populated by the Kwoma, Nukuma, and Yasyin-Mayo peoples, is no exception. They are famous for pottery and wood heads used in ceremonies honoring the spirits who are responsible for the growth and welfare of the community, especially those involved in the production of their primary crop, yams.

Condition: Some surface chipping and wear to paint; some remaining feathers around lower border.

Provenance: Ex-private , San Francisco, CA Collection

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