Lot: 85

Ancestor figure "korwar"

Indonesia - West New Guinea - Cenderawasih Bay, Wandammen peninsula

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Old Dutch Collection
Piet Lepelaar, Leiden, The Netherlands
H: 17.1 inch T: 8.3 inch 5000 EUR / 10000 EUR

light wood, black paint, old inscription "Voorouderbeeld N. Guinea / Wandamen-kust - geenkin tanden", rest. (left leg, right arm), fracture (plinth/ right lower leg), old repairs with cork as filling material Strikingly expansive figure with a strongly elongated head whose hemispherical end is supposed to reflect the typical hairstyle of the people in this area. Another characteristic of Wandamman "korwar" is the flat face with an arrow-shaped nose and wide mouth with a suggestion of a row of teeth. "Korwar" were carved shortly after the death of a high ranking individual, according to prescribed ritual, and placed in the family house.They served as a dwelling place for the soul of the deceased and as a link between the living and the dead. The korwar was honored with ritual offerings and consulted before any important undertaking, such as a war expedition or an extended fishing trip. Old "korwar", particularly those of lesser-ranking ancestors, were transferred after several years to cliff burials to make room for new images carved for the more recently deceased . Cenderawasih Bay (formerly Dutch "Geelvinkbaai"), is a large bay in the north of Western New Guinea. Western New Guinea, formerly Irian Jaya, is the Indonesian part of the island, while the eastern part forms the state of Papua New Guinea.


Corbay, Raymond, Korwar, Northwest New Guinea ritual art according to missionary sources, Leiden 2019, Fig. 118 - 128