Ɵ Sepik River Suspension Hook, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea.
Wood with dark brown patina
H. 74.3 cm - w. 37 cm
Sepik River Suspension Hook, Papua New Guinea
H. 29 1/4 in - w. 14 5/8 - W. 2 1/8 in.
- Bonhams London, December 9, 1992, lot 126
- Lance Entwistle Gallery, London
- Private collection
- Allen Wardwell, Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, The Detroit Institute of Arts, Washington University Press, Seattle, 1994, p.60
This very old Sepik hanging hook, most probably carved with a stone tool, combines rigour and solemnity in its carving, compared to other examples from the Middle Sepik region. They are often attached to the beams of houses of worship, to protect food and skulls from the appetite of rats in particular.
This one has a small, beautifully crafted oval head under the hanging hole above a stylized body, slightly flared in the middle, bearing raised 'necklaces' and numerous decorative incisions in the shape of volutes on both sides of the body. The hook itself is very graphic and can represent, as is often the case, a fish's head or a boat. These objects with a strong symbolic value contribute to the well-being of the clan, to its protection from disease, to the fight against the forces of evil, and have an influence on the success of animal hunting or skull hunting.
The patina is crusty and deep black.
Location of the item France - 75008 Paris