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Pacific art

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Kandimbong (ancestor figure)

early 20th century
collected pre 1920


Unknown Artist


'Kandimbong' represent clan ancestors and culture heroes. The figures are usually between 90 and 120 cm in height and are often adorned with wigs of human hair and woven armbands and legbands. The figure's chest is carved with incised designs which imitate scarification marks given to men who have been initiated.

The 'Kandimbong' is first carved for an important clan member and is used for the initiation of his sons or his brother's sons. During the initiation period, the figure is removed from the 'haus tambaran' (men's ceremonial house) where it is usually kept, and taken to the bush with the young men.

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.


Place where the work was made

Murik Lakes East Sepik Province Papua New Guinea


early 20th century
collected pre 1920

Media category


Materials used

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


122.5 x 17.0 x 19.0 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, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 42, 43. 16

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