Lot: 33

Large slit drum "garamut"

Papua New Guinea - Ramu River (Lower), Kaian (Kayan)

Provenance Size Hammer price
Peter Hallinan (1938-2015), Broadbeach, Gold Coast, Australia (coll. in situ,1959) (Inv.No. P750)
Anthony J.P. Meyer, Paris, France
Lempertz, Brussels, 11 June 2011, lot 5
Zemanek-Münster, Würzburg, 2 June 2012, Lot 30
Bettina Rübesam, Munich, Germany

John Peter Hallinan's interest in oceanic art was sparked at a young age by the superb collection of ethnographic objects at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. In the early 1960s, the eccentric American came to Australia. As an adult he concentrated on Melanesian material culture and pursued this new interest with determination and intellectual rigor. During the next twentyfive years Hallinan made twenty-six field expeditions to PNG, collecting and documenting Melanesian Art. He lived among the people in remote areas and studied their diverse cultures and traditional artworks. Over time, he became one of the best informed and most respected tribal art dealer in Australia.
M: 79.9 inch x 13 inch x 20.3 inch 5000 EUR

wood, lime, red ochre pigments, missing part due to insect caused damage on the underside, cracks

The finials are carved as male figures, half human - half crocodile. By their long curved noses they represent mythological spirit figures. Large, low relief panels are carved on both sides of the resonance chamber.

A comparable slit drum, also from the village of Kaian, is published in Peltier (2015, p. 200 f.).

Such large slit drums were used both to make sacred music and as means of long-distance communication.

The history of this drum is fully documented. It was made in the village of Kaian on the Lower Ramu. Here it was acquired by a man called "Kaimun", who took it to his village on the island of Kadovar at the mouth of the Sepik River. There it was placed in the men's house and used ritually until it was acquired by Peter Hallinan in 1959.


Certificat D'Expertise, Anthony JP Meyer
Peltier, Philippe et.al., Tanz der Ahnen, Zürich 2015, p. 200 f.
Meyer, Anthony J.P., Ozeanische Kunst, Vol. I, Köln 1995, p. 176, ill. 181