Lot: 41

Canoe prow in shape of a crocodile

Papua New Guinea - Middle Sepik

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
L: 28.5 inch 2000 EUR / 4000 EUR

light brown wood, matt patina with dark pigment remains, stained, carved in a nearly naturalistic way, min. dam., insect caused missing parts, fine cracks, base. A dugout canoe was the most important mobility device in the Sepik River area. In mythology the crocodiles encorporate a "gulping monster", used at initiation rites. It was of decisive importance in religious and ritual contexts, and was the most significant art theme within the whole region. Accordingly it was the preferred motif for prow figures of dugout canoes, which were used for head hunting raids in former times.

Aumann, Georg, Kunst und Kunsthandwerk aus Neu Guinea, Coburg 1986, p. 115