Asmat Ancestor Figure

Irian Jaya
Papua Indonesia

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 18 ½ in. (47 cm)

Ex collection Renaud Vanuxem, Paris circa 2006

Price: on request

Melanesia – Papua New Guinea
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This sculpture has remarkable purity of form and superb construction.
According to Dirk A.M. Smidt (see" Arts of the South Seas", Barbier Mueller Museum), the posture of this figure may refer to an Asmat creation myth where Fumeripits, the mythical hero, carved human figures with elbows resting on their knees. He then played a sacred drum to breathe life into them, hence creating the first Asmat beings.