Washkuk Hills, Upper Sepik River, PNG.

This is an old figure with a simplistic form when compared to others in museums, that give it a great strength and suggest it is an older Minja figure, probably dating back to the 1930s. There is some dry rot at the base, no doubt from standing in a hidden bush house for many years. These figure, never to be seen by women, were stored between ceremonies in small huts, along male-only footpaths through the jungle. After harvest of the yams in the Washkuk Hills, there were traditionally three ceremonies – essentially fertility ceremonies, to ensure future abundance. The second of these was the Minja ceremony. In its overall form and details, it is one of the simplest of Minja’s to be found, and this is the source of its artistic strength. The eyes and mouth are pieced through; the strong nose has a pierced septum for attachment of ornaments during ceremony; the flat face has a simple, raised chin; the upper and lower areas are edged with small triangles.
There is a ticket still attached that reads “Amaki 1971”. It came from an old Queensland collection, but a collector who never visited PNG. It must have been acquired in the early 1970s when this piece first returned to Australia.


141 x 35 x 14 cm

Make an Enquiry

Mailing List

Subscribe for notifications of new pieces and upcoming events