A very fine and small, ceremonial suspension hook representing an important female ancestor. Tami Islands, Huon Gulf, PNG, Melanesia. Wood (alstonia) with remains of red, white, and black pigments. Obvious wear and patination indicative of great age and prolonged usage. Probably stone carved. 30.5 x 10.6 x 7.5 cm. 19th century (possibly the first decade of the 20th).


Provenance Provenance :
Originally acquired from Lorenz Eckert, Basel in 1956. Eckerts reportedly stated that the hook came from the Paul Wirz collection.
The Phillip A. Budrose collection, 1970/1980, Mass., USA
Sold CHRISTIE’S, London, 1 December 1987, lot N° 66, page 16.
Charles Mack, Mass.
Hurst Gallery, Cambridge., Mass.
David Rosenthal, San Francisco
Private Dutch collection

Literature: Publications :
CHRISTIE’S. London, 1 December 1987, sale catalogue, lot N° 66, page 16.
ART OF NEW GUINEA. Exhibition catalogue, Hurst Gallery, Cambridge, 1988, frontispiece in  color and Fig. 26, page 13.
PARCOURS des MONDES 2011 : 10 years/ans -­‐ 20 objects/objets. Galerie Meyer-­‐ Oceanic Art, Paris, fig. 8.

Comparative examples :
Very few of these small, superbly carved hooks are known. Notable ones are :
Inv. N° RME 135 in the collections of the Museum Rietberg, Zurich.
The MASCO Collection hook (subsequently Gal. Meyer).
Several examples in the Ethnographical Museum, Budapest collected in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, N°’s 14.341 ; 37.785 (Biro 489z) ; 37.765 (BIRO 489t).
A male figure hook in the Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden.
A male figure hook (N° 74.35.1) in the collection of the Musée Royale d’Afrique Central, Terveuren.
Another one is in a well known private collection in Amsterdam.

Ref. :
Bodrogi, Tibor: ART IN  NORTH-­‐EAST NEW  GUINEA. The Hungarian Acadamey of sciences, Budapest. 1961.
125  JAHRE  JUBILÄUMS-­‐AUSSTELLUNG :  DIE  KUNST  NEUGUINEAS  –  1875-­‐2000.  Exhibition  guide. Museum für Völkerkunde, Dresden, 2000.
De Grunne, Bernard: ART PAPOU. Louis Musin Editeur, Bruxelles, 1979.
Wardwell, A.: ISLAND ANCESTORS – Oceanic Art from the MASCO Collection. The Detroit Institue of Art, Detroit, 1994.
THE ART OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS. P. Gathercole, A. Kaeppler, D. Newton: National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1979.