Lot 119
Provenance: Galerie Delta, The Heritage of a Passionate Collector
A Huon Gulf statue

Huon Gulf.

In the shape of a man and carved out of wood. In north eastern Papua New Guinea, on the coastline of Astrolabe Bay, monumental images of male or female ancestral heroes, called telum, were the focal points of ritual and spiritual life. Featuring a highly expressive archaic-cubist style, Astrolabe Bay telum figures appear to be of great age and were probably created by a northern New Guinea proto-culture that influenced both Sepik River and Huon Gulf cultural regions. People who when alive had played a major role in society and possibly even mythical ancestors are represented by the telum. Each telum had its own name. 

Once every so many years a great feast was held for a telum and the men associated with it, when it was positioned amidst the revellers. It may have played an important part in the ritual circumcision of boys, as part of their initiation. Normally, the telum was set up in a men’s house, the asa-tal, which was associated with a particular clan.

The impression created by certain authors that some of these statues stood outside, may have arisen from the fact that early travelers, as we can read in their reports, sometimes asked the inhabitants to place them outside so as to be able to draw and photograph them.

H 71,5 cm


-Carl A. Schmitz, 'Zwei Telum-Figuren aus der Astrolabe-Bai in Nordost-Neuguinea', Tribus 8, October 1959, Stuttgart, pp. 57-65, figs. 3 & 4.

-Toos van Kooten and Gerard van den Heuvel (eds.), Sculptur uit Afrika en Oceanië - Sculpture from Africa and Oceania, Otterlo, 1990, p. 311, cat. 117.

€ 4.000,00
€ 5.000,00
€ 6.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 6.000