Lot 123
Provenance: Galerie Delta, The Heritage of a Passionate Collector
A Vanuatu spear

A ceremonial spear of the Big Nambas people with a janus faced head decorated with three prongs. These are ceremonial spears made for initiation and other ceremonies and not made for fighting. Chiefs of the Big Nambas people of northwest Malakula Island formerly possessed this specialized category of spears that served as fearsome vehicles of retribution. Roughly ten feet (3 m) long, they consisted of a long bamboo shaft surmounted by a carved wooden fore shaft such as seen here, adorned with stylized faces representing powerful ancestors.

Owned and controlled by chiefs, these spears were used primarily by maho, a class of professional assassins dispatched by the chiefs to kill enemies in retaliation for insults, infractions of customary law, or deaths caused by warfare or malevolent magic. The stylized facial features of the heads on the foreshafts are similar to those of the Big Nambas gable ornaments (p´naret). Wood, fibres and bone.

H 136 cm


-Speiser, F. Die Kleinwüchsigen Asiens (Andamanen, Malacca, Philippinen, Wedda) und Beschreibung einzelner Inselgruppen Melanesiens [The Pygmy People of Asia in the Andamans, Malacca, the Philippines and Vedda, as well as a description of some Melanesian Island Groups.], Basel, Switzerland, 1930.

See also: -The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 42. And: Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, 110, 186-7.

Or: -Kjellgren, Eric. How to Read Oceanic Art, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014, p. 90.

€ 1.200,00
€ 1.500,00
€ 600,00

Hamerprijs: € 600