Anthropomorphic figure

oceania | Papua New Guinea

Anthropomorphic figure

Papua New Guinea

Suspension hook depicting an ancestor figure
Lower Sepik, Papua New Guinea

Early 20th century
Carved wood, pigments and fibers
Height: 56 cm – 22 in.

Provenance
Ex collection Leendert Van Lier (1910-1995), Amsterdam
Ex Christie’s, Amsterdam, “African, Oceanic and Indonesian art from the Van Lier collection”, April 15th, 1997, lot 130
Ex collection Galerie Flak, Paris
Ex collection Pierre Mondoloni, France, acquired from the above

Hook figure ex collection Van Lier 56 cm / Galerie Flak Price: on request
Hook figures from the Sepik region were functional, domestic objects. They were suspended from the rafters of the house, and were designed to keep netted fiber bags containing food, sago cakes and smoked fish, assorted valuables (and occasionally even sleeping babies!) out of harm's way.
Each hook was carved in the form of a specific named ancestor or spirit being.
As Christian Coiffier & Douglas Newton noted in "Sculpture from the Sepik River region": « the swinging of the hook from the roof beam expresses the continuity of life, like a metronome marking time ».
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