Ancestor figure

oceania | Papua New Guinea

Ancestor figure

Papua New Guinea

Important Kandimbong figure
Sepik River Delta, probably Kopar or Singarin
Papua New Guinea

Late 19th century
Carved wood and pigments
Height: 59 cm – 23 ¼ in.

Field-collected in 1913-1914 by Earl Birger Mörner (1867-1930)
Ex collection Mörner, Stockholm, Sweden, inv. 1213
Ex collection Jan Lundberg, Sweden
Ex collection Wayne Heathcote, London
Ex Sotheby’s Paris, 2008
Ex private collection, Belgium

Large Kandimbong ancestor figure ex Birger Morner / Galerie Flak Price: on request
The strikingly dynamic figure presented here is emblematic of the cultures of the Lower Sepik in Papua New Guinea.
Kadibon (or kandimbong) figures from the Sepik River Delta region may vary in sizes. The smallest of them were worn as amulets. The larger ones, as our example here, are much rarer. Our figure represents an important clan ancestor, as indicated by the lizard totemic figure carved on his back.

It features deep curvilinear carved motifs on the chest and shoulder blades. The depiction of a lizard in high relief is exceedingly rare and noteworthy.
The provenance and collection date prior to WW1 are also historically important.

This incarnation of a powerful clan ancestor played a prominent role in the initiations of young men. It also served during events marking different stages in their lives (war, rituals or social events).
Guardians of the clan’s well-being, these figures were kept in the Men’s House. A place for sharing and discussion, the Men’s House constituted the very heart of the ceremonial life in the villages of the Sepik.
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