Lot: 31

Headrest, 19th century

Papua New Guinea - Huon Gulf, Morobe Province, Tami Islands

Provenance Size Hammer price
Christian Gottlob Keyser, Geroldsgrün/Neuendettelsau, Germany H: 4.7 inch;
B: 5.5 inch
4000 EUR

wood, This headrest features a kneeling ancestor figure with spread arms. The two "yabo" ornaments seen on the shoulders are typical. They represent the round boar tusks that were so highly prized in the culture. The present object was collected in situ by Christian Gottlob Keyßer (1877-1961), who was a missionary of the Neuendettelsauer Mission in the Finschhafen district in Morobe province, Papua New Guinea, from 1899 to 1920. Since then the piece has been in possession of the family. The present example resembles a beautiful old head rest from the Ethnological Museum in Berlin, which was collected in situ by the German physician and anthropologist Neuhauss on a research expedition between 1908 and 1910. Its history can be traced back to the middle of the 19th century (see picture).


Hamson, Michael, New Guinea Art from Astrolabe Bay to Morobe, Palos Verdes 2016, p. 73 (sketch)