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Pacific Rim, Oceanic and Other Tribal Artifacts

Welcome to the Pacific Rim and Oceanic Gallery. Offered here are ancient and antique tribal and ethnographic artifacts. This gallery will be regularly updated so check back often. Please ask if you would like additional photos or more in-depth descriptions Enjoy your treasure hunt...

NOTE: All items being offered on this website have appropriate provenance and are legal to buy and own under the United States statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, Chapter 14. Every purchase comes with a written certificate of authenticity (COA) and are fully guaranteed to be as described. Provenance and accurate, detailed condition information is included with each listing.

To Purchase or Ask a Question: Contact me via email at: or call 828-322-2942. Payment options are check, money-order or PayPal. Credit Cards can be processed through PayPal. Discount may apply on the purchase of multiple items.

Shipping costs not included in purchase price. Tracking info will be provided. Shipping options are USPS Priority Mail, UPS Ground and FedEx. International sales (outside of the United States) require payment via PayPal. All international shipping costs, insurance and import fees are the responsibility of the buyer.

Papua New Guinea Carved Wood Sepik Iatmul War Trumpet Iatmul War Trumpet — Papua New Guinea

Early to Mid 20th Century

An old and exceptional war trumpet from the Iatmul people, Korewori River, Middle Sepik Region of northeast Papua New Guinea. This fine example features traditional geometric designs terminating with a crocodile head, all carved with stone tools. A wide band near the center has Nassa shell inlays. The shells imbedded into thick hardened resin. These unusual 'side blown' trumpets, associated with warfare, are played by blowing (while vibrating the lips) into a hole on the side. Among the Iatmul people, side-blown trumpets were sounded after raids to announce the arrival of the warriors as they returned to their village with prisoners or enemy heads. Like many Iatmul instruments, the trumpets were often played in pairs by two men who sounded them in alternation. In near choice condition with expected surface weathering, minor surface cracks and wear from extended tribal use. Some shell losses, mostly on the underside. A large example that displays dramatically on the included custom metal display stand. Museum deaccession.

Ex. Aase B. and Frederick C. Thompson Foundation. Ex. Samual P. Harn Museum of Art, Ex. Cichon Tribal Arts, all of Florida.

Approx. 25.5" long. Approx. 12" tall on the stand


Papua New Guinea Garra Hook Mask Carved Wood Hunstein 'Garra' Hook Mask — Papua New Guinea

20th Century

A beautifully carved wooden 'Garra' hook mask from the Hunstein Mountains of Papua New Guinea. This large hook mask is of elliptical form with concentric hooks framing the central face. Covered with gray-black pigment overall, the face features boar tusks nose ornaments, cowry shell eyes and bone (or teeth) ear plugs. There are feathers tied with natural fibers around the outer edge. These types of masks are made by the Bahinemo people of the Upper Sepik River. The Bahinemo believe the Garra masks represent bush spirits and wise, old (ancestoral) men. The hooks are seen as stylized hornbill beaks which aside of their decorative effect have a symbolic meaning. The Great Hornbill is related to the soul, ancestors and the spirit world. The Garra, meaning 'sacred object', are carried by male dancers during initiation ceremonies, then were hung from the rafters in the Men's House. In fine condition with light surface weathering and edge wear. An impressive and very large example.

Ex. European private collection.

Approx. 34" tall, 12" wide and 8" deep


Papua New Guinea Penis Gourds Sheath Highlands Penis Gourds — Papua New Guinea

20th Century

Two Penis gourds (sheaths) from the highlands of Papua New Guinea. Both are of the common type, hollowed out gourds with a decorative band of natural woven fiber at the base. Penis sheaths are conical gourds grown by and worn by the tribesmen of the central highlands, Wissel Lakes region. They are secured by the rattan loop and worn in an upright position without other clothing. Also known as koteka or horim, penis sheaths serve several purposes; ceremonial, decorative and a form of cultural expression. Both are intact and in fine condition. Light staining and wear from tribal use. Nice older examples, likely dating to the 1960s. Ex. Florida private collection.

Each is approx. 9" long


Papua New Guinea Crocodile Canoe Prow Wooden Carved Crocodile Canoe Prow — Papua New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

A large and exceptional canoe prow from the Middle Sepik River region. Beautifully carved with the crocodile realistically detailed. A bird lays prone across the snout. At the back of the head is an ancestoral face. Canoe prows are taken as 'trophies' by warriors who seize canoes during battles with neighboring tribes. In near excellent condition with a nicely weathered surface. Minor dings and age cracks (checking) as would be expected. A fine example that displays dramatically on a custom metal stand which is included.

Approx 31.5" long x 11" across. Just over 11" tall on the stand.


New Zealand Canoe Bailer Wooden Tata Maori Canoe Bailer — New Zealand

20th Century

A fine Maori canoe bailer from New Zealand. Exact age is unknown, but most likely dates to the mid-20th century. Beautifully carved with traditional geometric designs and abalone shell inlays. The handle is in the form of a stylized bird. Canoe bailers such as this (called tata) were used by the indignious Maori tribesmen of New Zealand to scoop water from their wooden canoes called 'waka'. In near excellent condition. A small chip is missing from the edge of the scoop, otherwise intact. Displays nicely on the custom metal stand which is included.

Ex. southern California private collection.

Approx. 12" tall x 6.5" across. Approx. 16" tall on the stand.


Papa New Guinea Ramu River Wooden Kundu Drum Ramu River Kundu (drum) — New Guinea

Early to Mid-20th Century

A nice hand-held Kundu (drum) from the Ramu River region of Papua New Guinea. A typical medium-sized drum, hollow-bodied and carved from wood. The original lizard-skin drum head is intact; a very rare feature for a drum from this period. A braided natural woven fiber band secures the skin to the drum and has 2 shells added for decoration, possibly a more recent addition. A decorative fiber band near the bottom is intact and appears original. Condition is very good. There is one very small hole in the drum head, near the edge. Age cracks around the bottom of the drum have been stabilized with glue. Overall a fine example with ample staining and surface wear, consistent with age and extensive tribal use. Custom metal display stand is included.

Drum is approx. 13" tall, with stand approx. 14.5" tall


Papua New Guinea Ancestoral Mask Wood Carving PNG Ancestoral Mask — Papua New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

An exceptional ancestoral mask from Middle Sepik River region of Papua New Guinea. Originally collected in the 1960s. Masks of this type were created to honor deceased ancestors and were thought to contain their sprits. Nicely carved and beautifully painted with traditional geometric patterns. A bird emerges from the the top of the mask, its long neck extends down the forehead. Ropes made of natural twisted fibers hang from the nose and ears. The back of the mask is very unusual and is a rarely seen addition to a mask of this type. Deeply carved with undulating free-form designs which represent the path taken by the deceased through the afterlife. In near excellent condition with a few scrapes and dings along with a stress crack down the back, all consistent with age. A large and attractive older example with excellent provenance. Displays impressively on a custom metal stand which is included.

Ex. Smith College Art Museum in Northampton, Mass. Ex. Traugott collection of Sarasota, FL.

Mask is approx 16" tall x 8" across. Approx 23" tall on the stand.


Papua New Guinea Artist Model Drum Carving PNG Carver's Model — Papua New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

An extremely rare carver's "reference model" from Papua New Guinea's Coastal Sepik region. A model or miniature version of the side of a garamut slit drum. Carvers in the Schouten Islands would sometimes make (one-off) carvings like this as a visual reference of a favorite design. A kind of reminder on how something looked so it could be reproduced at a later date. Intricately carved in traditional designs with bird-head handles as would be seen on an actual slit drum. Condition is quite good. One bird beak is cracked, very minor chips and losses. General wear and weathering consistent with age. Some insect damage on the back. A unique and very interesting artifact, seldom seen in today's market. An attractive piece that displays beautifully on a custom metal stand which is included.

Approx 16" long x 4" tall. Approx 6.5" tall on the stand.


Papua New Guinea Woven Fiber Yam Mask PNG Yam Mask — Papua New Guinea

Late 20th Century

A nice basketry (woven fiber) yam mask from the Abelam people of the East Sepik Province. Made from woven natural fibers and painted with colored pigments. This example is in the typical style, finely woven with open-work mouth, nose, eyes and headdress. Painted in shades of red, yelllow, black and white. Condition is in near choice. Some light fraying along the nose, else intact.

One of the major focuses of ceremonial life among the Abelam people is the competitive growth and exchange of large yams. A man's social status is determined largely on his ability to cultivate special ceremonial yams which can grow up to 12 feet long. At the harvest yam festival they are prominently displayed in front of the ceremonial house. These masks are used to decorate the larger, most important yams. Lavishly adorned for the presentation ceremony, the finest yams are essentially transformed into human images, decorated in the manner of men in full ceremonial regalia. The "heads" of the enormous tubers are adorned with specially made yam masks such as this one, which are made exclusively for yams and are never worn by humans.

Approx 8" wide x 10" tall.


Papua New Guinea Owaa Pick Axe Weapon PNG "Owaa" Fighting Pick — Papua New Guinea

Late 20th Century

An exceptional Owaa, or fighting pick, from the Enga people of the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. These weapons, called owaa (pronounced 'oowah') are worn around the neck and displayed as objects of power. Used to intimidate a warrior's opponent and if necessary inflict bodily harm. The shaft of the pick is finely carved with a zig-zag and diamond patterns, painted in red ocher. On top is a crocodile with inlaid eyes. The tip is a sharpened cassowary bone lashed on with cane. The wooden handle is attached with strips of finely woven cane binding to keep the handle and pick firmly in place. In very good condition. The tail of the crocodile is broken, but otherwise intact and original. Some light wear as would be expected. A fine example.

Approx 16" long x 22" tall.


Papua New Guinea Wooden Carved Mask PNG Wooden Ancestoral Mask — Papua New Guinea

Late 20th Century

A small carved wood ancestoral mask from the Sepik River region of Papua new Guinea. These carvings are not true masks to be worn, but are typically hung in (or on) houses to honor deceased ancestors. Nicely carved with a suspension hole at the top for hanging. Covered in black paint with remains of red and white in the crevices. The eyes are inlaid with shells. In good condition with only light wear and minor paint loss.

Approx 3" wide x 6.2" tall.


Konyak Nag Chest Ornament Mask with Beads Konyak Naga Headhunter's Pendant — Assam

Early to Mid-20th Century

A rare Konyak Naga headhunter's chest ornament from Assam in Northeastern India. These carved wooden maskettes were only worn by the tribe's male head-takers. A fine older example with a nice patina, signs of age and tribal use. This maskette has a well carved face with multiple strands of colored beads. The beads are in gold and a vibrant indigo blue. Condition is near choice. The wood has darkened with age and has a few scrapes, one stable age crack and a small area of insect damage. The beads appear to be in perfect condition. An exceptional example that displays beautifully on a custom metal stand which is included as shown.

Maskettes such as this were later and are currently being produced in brass. Many newer examples were and are now being made for sale to the tourist market.

For additional informantion on pendants of this type see "The Nagas"(1990) by Julian Jacobs (pp.191-197)

Mask is approx 3" tall. Approx 9.5" tall including the beads.


Papua New Guinea Alligator Canoe Prow Alligator Canoe Prow — Sepik River, Papua New Guinea

Mid 20th Century

Carved wood canoe prow in the form of an alligator. Dates to the mid-20th Century, possibly earlier. Well carved; showing teeth and large eyes. Alligators are a common theme on the canoe prows among the tribes along the Sepik river. Shows considerable wear and abrasions from extensive tribal use. A nice example that displays well on a custom metal stand which is included as shown.

Approx 13" long. Approx 7" tall on the stand


Papua New Guinea Ramu River Ancestoral Figure Ramu River Ancestoral Figure — Papua New Guinea

20th Century

Wokam Village Ancestoral Figure from the Ramu River area of Papua New Guinea. Likely dating to the third quarter of the 20th Century. Nicely carved wooden standing figure done in a style typical of this region. In tribal mythology, these enlongated figures with the hooked noses are thought to represent important ancestors - half human, half sea-eagle. Condition is near choice. Minor scrapes, but completely intact. A fine example.

Custom metal display stand is included as shown.

Approx 10" tall on the stand


Papua New Guinea Woven BOdy Armor Cuirasses Woven Curiasses — Papua New Guinea

Early 20th Century

A woven fiber cuirasses (body armor vest) from the high Central Mountain Range, between Telefomin and the Oksapmin area of Papua New Guinea. Intricately woven from natural plant fibers. The main body is woven from cane or reeds with the areas around the arm openings more finely woven, most likley, from coconut fibers. An extremely rare and very old artifact that dates to the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century. Tightly woven, but light weight, these garments served as protection during battle with neighboring tribes. Body armor such as this was later replaced by hand-held shields. Condition is very good. Minor fraying in a few places, but generally intact and near choice. An exceptional artifact. Rarely seen outside of select museums.

Custom metal display stand is included as shown.

Approx. 16" tall x 13" wide.

Approx 19" tall on the stand


Papua New Guinea Ramu River Ancestral Figure Ramu Figure — Papua New Guinea

Mid to Late 20th Century

Ramu River ancestral figure from the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea dating to the third or forth quarter of the 20th Century. The nicely carved wooden figure is shown with hands resting on the knees and wears an avian spirit mask. Condition is near excellent. Minor chips and surface wear consistent with age. A fine example.

Approx. 6.5" tall x 3"


Papua New Guinea Sepik Healing Figure Yaul Healing Figure — Papua New Guinea

Mid to Late 20th Century

Large PNG pottery figure dating to the latter half of the 20th Century. Made by the Yaul people who live along the Yuat River in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea. Constructed from red clay with a gray surface color. The male figure sits on a stool; large hands resting on his knees. Incising on the face and arms represent ritual body scarification. Known as healing figures, they are used by the village shaman in ceremonies intended to help the sick or spiritually distressed. Condition is very good. Minor breaks and small losses have been restored, else intact. A very rare and interesting artifact that displays nicely.

Approx. 10.5" tall x 6" across


Papua New Guinea Sepik Stool Sepik River Stool — Papua New Guinea

Early to Mid-20th Century

A large wooden stool from the Sepik River area of Papua New Guinea. Definitely pre-1950s, possibly dating to the early 20th Century. Stone-carved from a single piece of wood, it shows designs and patterns typical for that region and time period. Some traces of original orange pigment remain in the more deeply carved crevices under the seat. The seat is worn smooth from many years, possibly decades, of indigenous use. Stools of this type were only used by high-ranking tribal officials; most likely an orator or someone affiliated with the village council. Condition is quite good, considering its age and obvious signs of long-term tribal use. Areas of insect and moisture damage, mainly on the base. An exceptional and very rare older example of Sepik River craftsmanship. Items from this period are getting increasingly difficult to come by.

Approx. 16" tall x 14" across the seat.


New Guinea Sawos Pottery Bowls Sawos Pottery Bowls — Papua New Guinea

20th Century

Three polychrome bowls from the Sawos people in East Sepik Province, dating to the third quarter of the 20th Century. Each highly decorated utilitarian bowl is made by women who construct them by coiling method. Men decorate the bowls by incising curvilinear and arciform designs mirrored on two or more sides of the bowls; outstanding motifs mimic nature or are representative of spirits. After the women low fire the bowls, the men heavily apply natural mineral pigments in shades of red, yellow, orange and white. The bowls, despite their elaborateness, are used for everyday eating and when not in use they are stored with their openings towards the ground to ensure visibility of their beautiful designs. Sawos bowls are found throughout the middle Sepik river region because they are traded to neighboring villages for fish, tobacco and other goods.
Custom metal display stands are included.

Bowl #1 (Top) - Small area of restoration along the rim, otherwise intact. Approx. 13.5" in diameter, with stand approx. 15.5" tall

Bowl #2 (Center) - Intact. Approx. 12" in diameter, with stand approx. 15" tall

Bowl #3 (Bottom) - Intact. Approx. 10.5" in diameter, with stand approx. 12" tall

New Guinea Staff PNG Staff — New Guinea

20th Century

Wooden ceremonial staff from Papua New Guinea. Nicely carved in the form of a crocodile. Rich patina that shows wear consistent with age and tribal use. Likely dating to the latter half of the 20th Century. Condition is generally very good. One small chip on the nose and an age crack on the tail, otherwise choice.

Approx. 17" long


New Guinea Vessels PNG Pottery Collection — New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

A rare collection of pottery vessels from Papua New Guinea. Originally collected around 1960 from the (Latmul speaking) village of Aibom, which sits inland off the middle Sepik River in the Chambri Lakes region. Nicely sculpted in the traditional style, each are "janus" type, with similar designs on each side. All are basket-form with birds adorning each side of the handles. In very good condition. All have a few glued breaks as well as minor chips and dings. Generally near choice with strong paint. They show no sign of tribal use and are most likely early tourist pieces. Still a great collection of mid-century PNG pottery pieces. Damage could easily be restored, but display beautifully in their current condition. Not for sale individually. These were all acquired together and I prefer to keep the collection intact.

Heights range from 7" to 4.5" tall

$300 for the group

New Guinea Slit Drum Carved Slit Drum — New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

An older, authentic wooden New Guinea slit drum, nicely carved on both sides with traditional tribal designs. With bird heads on each end, the entire drum is carved from a single piece of wood. Created for the "Cultural Arts Expo" held in Australia in 1960. Although tribally carved and played, this drum was never exposed to the harsh climate of New Guinea and is therefore in excellent condition. A beautiful example for its age. The handmade drum sticks are not original to the piece, but are a nice addition for making the drum playable. No cracks or breaks, only slight wear along the edges from use. Displays well and sounds great.

Approx. 15" long x 6" tall


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