Description & Technical information

Wogamush (Biaka) Village ?, Wogamush River, Upper Sepik River, PNG, Melanesia. Wood (cutout and carved from the gigantic buttress roots of rainforest Ficus trees), pigments and cane. 

A fine early war-shield with a remarkable and unusual decor. The outer dentate rim and the interlocking scrolls are typical of the local iconography, however the arrangement of the motifs inside this framework is quite different. The norm of one or several distinguishable faces is “exploded” here to form suggestions of disassembled mouths and eyes floating around one central stylized smiling face. The original woven cane strap handles are still present on the rear.

Date:  19/20th century
Period:  1750-1850, 1850-1900, 19th century, 20th century
Origin:  Melanesia
Medium: Wood
Dimensions: 176.5 x 52 cm (69¹/₂ x 20¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Ex collection of a Dutch artist c. 1970’s.
Categories: Tribal Art