Massim Figure From Top of Lime Spatula-New Guinea Art
Massim Lime Spatula Figure
Massim culture, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea
Private collection, London, 1970s
New York collection
Skinner Auction, Boston, 2011
6 ½” (16.5 cm) in height
Often the figurative sections of Massim lime spatulas are quite stylized and embellished with intricate designs carved onto the surface—making them visually interesting but somewhat decorative. It is rare to get a true figure, unadorned, with its power generated by its sculptural form. On this example, the limbs, while thin and delicate, have a strength from their being connected at the joints and being looped back to the solid torso. The face is wide-eyed and smiling, the head jutting forward and low to the body—the latter being a consistent indicator of an early style in New Guinea figurative art. The deep, glossy patina corroborates this antiquity.
Published in "OCEANIC ART: PROVENANCE AND HISTORY" edited by Michael Hamson, pages 160/161, item 34.