Middle Sepik River Sculpture of a Man's Head

Item BR145 

This Item was Sold on 21 September 2009 for $113

Similar artifacts for sale are often found on the Oceanic Artifacts web page. 

Historical Pricing information for this item and similar artifacts can be found at: Historical Artifact Prices.

This beautiful sculpture of a man's head was acquired in a remote Middle Sepik River village of Papua New Guinea by Ben Ruhe who travelled this region in a canoe in 1990. This is not an airport art item. When the Australians received a mandate in Papua New Guinea, they vigorously surpressed headhunting. The locals then, instead of decorating skulls of ancestors and enemies, as was the tradition, made wood carvings and painted them up the way they would have painted up the actual human skulls. These were made by the Latmul speakers of the Middle Sepik and East Sepik regions. It is carved out of a medium density hardwood and painted with traditional clay paints. Cowrie shells are inserted into the eye slots. This carving has multiple shallow natural moisture loss split lines which is common on these carvings. Length = 20 cm ; Weight = 1378 gm

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