Admiralty Islands, Bismark Archipelago, Papua New Guinea
Early 20th century
Carved wood, feathers and pigments
Height : 48 cm – 17 ¾ in.
Ex collection Bela Hein (1883-1931), Paris
Ex collection Marc de Monbrison (1942-1985), Paris
They served as powerful war charms believed to offer protection against the dangers of combat. They were said to render the wearer invulnerable to enemies.
As noted by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (see inventory number 1980.546 for a comparable example), the ornaments were worn on the back of the neck, secured by a necklace of cordage tied so tightly that the head faced upward and the feathers projected horizontally.
The ancient neck ornament shown here was part of the collections of Bela Hein, a legendary art dealer in Paris before the 1930s.
Matankol from Lambutjo decorated for war, Fülleborn, Admiralitäts Inseln, Dr Hans Nevermann, pl. 3, 1934