A food pounder representing a male ancestor figure.

A food pounder representing a male ancestor figure.

Provenance Collected in the field by Oscar Meyer between December 1956 and Feburary 1957. Sold by Meyer – Franklin Gallery, 809 North La Cienega, Los Angeles April 24, 1959. See certificate by Harry Franklin. Ex Collection Gloria Stone, the actrice (probably acquired from the Meyer-Franklin Gallery in 1959), Los Angeles ; Ex Joshua Dimondstein, L.A.
 

Literature: The photographs here show Oscar Meyer in a burial cave in New Guinea in the late 1950's, The Meyer - Franklin Gallery, and the certificate of authenticty.

The coif is composed of a janus fore end of an animal. Pounders of this type were used to prepare taro, banana, and sago puddings as well as crack the hard shells of comestible nuts. The importance of the owner and the clan identification is indicated by the imposing design of the finial – in this case a rare representation of a human figure in a naturalistic pose. The figure is beautifully carved as standing in a “Power Stance” with straight, upright body camped on slightly flexed legs with hands held to thighs. The overly large head, set on a thick neck, hangs low on the chest. The facial features are typical of the area with slanted coffee bean eyes over a large hooked and pierced nose. The large ears are un-adorned. The sex is broken off. Murik Lakes to North Coast Sepik Region, PNG, Melanesia. Hard wood (quila ?) with a superb crusty patina of age and use. Carved with stone tools. 19th/20th century. 46,5 cm.