Description & Technical information

An exceptionally fine suspension hook representing the head of an important ancestor. The oval, strongly carved, smiling face is shown with the eyes surrounded by large white rims. The outer edge of the face is painted with a chain-like motif and shows the remains of human hair at the chin and top of the head. The ancestor is shown wearing an important shell nose ornament and a large kina shell pendant around his neck. A suspension lug is carved behind the head. Sawos People, Middle Sepik, PNG, Melanesia. Various older damages and repaires.

Date:  19th/20th century
Period:  1850-1900, 19th century, 20th century
Origin:  Melanesia
Medium: Wood (alstonia), Pigments, Human hair
Dimensions: 52 x 18.5 cm (20¹/₂ x 7¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of the Oakland Museum of Art, Berkeley, California, inv. N° 1623. Acquired by Laurent Bermudez and sold in 1982 to David Rosenthal, San Francisco. Ex coll. : Gal. Meyer, Paris ; then Josep Pons-Olivera, Barcelona ; then a private Spanish collection.
Literature: Ill. : Meyer, Anthony JP.: ART D'OCEANIE/OCEANIC ART. Catalogue d'exposition. Galerie Meyer, Paris. 1990, page 20/21.

See a very similar hook in the collections of the RautenStrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, inv. N° 35548.
Categories: Tribal Art