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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Oceanic Art : New Guinea Wood Sculpture of a Seated Man
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New Guinea Wood Sculpture of a Seated Man - PF.2575
Origin: New Guinea
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 31.375" (79.7cm) high x 11.5" (29.2cm) wide
Collection: Oceanic
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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In a region that is heavily wooded, with very little stone or clay, the native populations of New Guinea have incorporated wood as their central cultural element. In this dramatic work of New Guinea art we experience elements of their culture artistically manifested in the form of a carved wood figure seated upon a chair, the back portion of which echoes the shape of the mask that adorns the figure's head. This carved leaf shape is reminiscent of native bull roarers, wooden objects used as noise makers by the tribes in New Guinea and nearby Australia, to invoke the divine spirits. A pair of carved faces also ornament the ceremonial chair, functioning as two of the four support legs, their inlaid cowrie shell eyes casting an aura of shamanic mysticism in much the same manner as the wide spiraling shell eyes of the figure's face mask. Here on the figure's mask we are also captivated by the painted, incised patterns that curve around the face, their energetic design heightening the mask's spirited powers. The masked figure sits with his right hand resting on his thigh while the other hand grasps his enlarged manhood, accentuating his potent virility in a most expressive fashion. Carved bands adorn his arms, each supporting a spear that juts upward in a noticeably commanding position. Filled with complex, communicative power, this carved wood figure reveals not only the dynamism of a native New Guinea culture but also its ability to skillfully and artistically manifest its ideology into an extraordinary work of sculpted art. - (PF.2575)


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