Papua New Guinea
North Coast, Aitape region
East Sepik Province
Early 20th century
Height: 20 ½ in. (52 cm)
Acquired in the 1930s
Ex Sotheby’s New York, 2001
Ex collection Pierre Mondoloni, France
They were solicited during initiation rituals, and finally served as protective figures for the community.
Each statue bore the name of an ancestor, the name itself attached to a specific myth and song.
When not being used in ceremonies, the statues were kept in the Men’s House where they received offerings of food.
This male sculpture is remarkable for its intensity, radiating all the strength of the warrior. The delicacy and slenderness of the legs contrasts with the volumes of the upper body, exalting the power of the ancestor.