Old Massim Lime Spatula-Seymour Lazar Collection-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
While I do love Massim art, with its intricate curves and complex delicate compositions; there can be a fastidiousness to it that runs counter to raw emotive power that is the beating heart of the very best New Guinea art. Thus, I really love when an early Massim object shows that shared spiritual intensity—as with the present lime spatula. One of my favorite all-time Massim lime spatulas was from the Van Lier Collection that sold at Christie’s Amsterdam in 1997 that was so early, so archaic that the piece was misidentified as Papuan Gulf. What that spatula had which this one does as well—is a wide mouth stretched to its limit with aggressive teeth. This is combined here with an otherwise sparsely adorned figure, gone are the curvilinear designs and stylized bird beaks. Instead, is a smooth torso and elongated belly, abbreviated legs, spread as they merge with the blade. Clarity is a key feature of great New Guinea art, and this spatula exemplifies it. The piece dates to the 19th century, comes from the Seymour Lazar Collection, stands 13 ¾” (34.9 cm) in height.