Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

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Lot 96
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Sold for US$ 106,562 inc. premium
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
samban
Wood, pigment, plant fiber
height 34in (86.4cm)

Provenance
Barmen-Wuppertal Van Heydt Collection, 1910
Rheinische Mission Society, Gesellschaft
Wayne Heathcote, Brussels/New York/London
Private Collection

Crispin Howarth notes, "Samban is the Iatmul [at Sawow] name given to wonderfully sculptural suspension hooks along the Sepik River. The most commonly encountered are functional domestic objects, anchor-like in form, suspended from the rafters of a house by rope. They are designed to keep netted fibre bags of food, sago cakes and smoked fish, assorted valuables and occasionally even sleeping babies out of harm's way.

Samban take many diverse forms and truly attest to the artistry of the Sepik carvers. Each one is beautifully carved in the form of a specific named ancestor or spirit being." (Myth and Magic - Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea, National Gallery of Australia, 2015, p. 145)

Of classic Sawos form, with rounded elements and proportionally large head with naturalistic features, the ancestral female figure stands perched on the hook element with her legs slightly bent at the knees supporting the rounded torso with incised zigzag design on the lower back and back right side, another diamond design incised around her navel below her diminutive breasts pointing downwards; the remnant of her right arm indicate the forearms were raised upwards above her rounded shoulders, each with a bird with large beak perched on top, framing her head with her eyes gazing outward; encrusted ochre patina with craquelure to the facial pigments.
Contacts
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
Exceptional Sawos Ceremonial Hook Figure, Middle Sepik River, Papua New Guinea
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