Boiken Ceremonial House Lintel-New Guinea Oceanic Art
The ceremonial houses of the Yangoru Boiken people were more modest affairs compared to their Abelam neighbors. Consequentially, the carved figurative lintels that adorned their facades were substantially shorter than Abelam examples. The present one is classic in composition with four ancestral spirit figures linked arm in arm with totemic birds in between. On each end are larger carved hornbill birds with their distinctive notched beak. The ancestral spirit figures are in the traditional squatting birthing position symbolizing their role and the role of the ceremonial house in the creation and continuation of Yangoru society. The faces have pierced noses, of course, and nice remains of traditional painted designs. The lintel comes from the Allan Stone Collection and was part of the single owner sale at Sotheby’s New York, 15 November 2013, lot 15. The piece dates to the early 20th century, is 63” (160 cm) in length.