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Male ancestral figure

early 20th century
pre 1920


Unknown Artist


This figure was bought from the sale of Lady Glover's collection held in Sydney in 1970, ("New Guinea and Aboriginal Objects", lot no. 279). The collection, formed originally by Charles R Glover, was not added to after 1920. Characteristic of one of the lower Sepik styles of figure carving is the way the head is set down on the body. The figures are thick set and tend to have a greater angularity than those of the middle Sepik. The legs are strongly articulated with differentiated planes between the lower and upper parts. The head-dress is only found in figures on the coastal and lower areas. Most of the body and the head-dress have been painted red but on the face there still remains a patina of polychrome curvilinear decoration. There are fibre armbands and head-dress decoration. The chest, shoulders and abdomen are engraved representing scarifications.

revised entry from AJ Tuckson, 'Some Sepik River art from the collection', AGNSW Quarterly, vol 13, no 3, 1972, pg. 670.


Place where the work was made

Murik Lakes East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


early 20th century
pre 1920

Media category


Materials used

carved wood, red and white natural earth pigments, charcoal, natural fibre tassels


120.7 cm height :

0 - Whole; 120.7 cm


Purchased 1970


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Theodore Bruce & Co, Catalogue of an outstanding collection of New Guinea and aboriginal objects which will be sold by public auction at the premises of the joint auctioneer FR Strange Pty Ltd, 614-618 Botany Road, Alexandria, NSW, Tuesday 8th September, 1970 commencing 7.30 pm, Sydney, 08 Sep 1970. lot no. 279

JA Tuckson, Art and Australia, 'Primitive art collection', pg. 76-79, Sydney, Jul 1972, 76 (illus.), 78.

Tony Tuckson, Art Gallery of New South Wales Quarterly, 'Some Sepik River art from the collection', pg. 666-679, Sydney, Apr 1972, 670, 674 (illus.). plate no. 2

Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 42, 43. 16