Sawos Suspension Hook

An exceptionally fine suspension hook representing the head of an important ancestor. The oval, strongly carved, smiling face is shown with the eyes surrounded by large white rims. The outer edge of the face is painted with a chain-like motif and shows the remains of human hair at the chin and top of the head. The ancestor is shown wearing an important shell nose ornament and a large kina shell pendant around his neck. A suspension lug is carved behind the head. Sawos People, Middle Sepik, PNG, Melanesia. Wood (alstonia), pigments & human hair, various older damages and repaires. 52 x 18.5 cm. 19th/20th century.

Provenance Formerly in the collection of the Oakland Museum of Art, Berkeley, California, inv. N° 1623. Acquired by Laurent Bermudez and sold in 1982 to David Rosenthal, San Francisco. Ex coll. : Gal. Meyer, Paris ; then Josep Pons-Olivera, Barcelona ; then a private Spanish collection.

Literature: Ill. : Meyer, Anthony JP.: ART D'OCEANIE/OCEANIC ART. Catalogue d'exposition. Galerie Meyer, Paris. 1990, page 20/21.

See a very similar hook in the collections of the RautenStrauch-Joest-Museum, Cologne, inv. N° 35548.