Middle Sepik River War Trumpet-Sydney Lerman Collection Oceanic Art
Middle Sepik River War Trumpet
Iatmul culture, Middle Sepik River, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea
Sotheby’s London, 10 December 1974, lot 129
Christie’s New York, 4 November 1994, lot 19
Sydney and Lynn Lerman Collection, New York, acquired from the above auction
By Descent to Mark Lerman, Richmond, Virginia
Late 19th/early 20th century
52 1/8” (133 cm) in height
Trumpets such as this were taken into battle and would, if successful, be blown before reaching the home village to signal the number of enemies killed. This one is exceptional for its scale and the beauty of its carved design. I especially love the trail of repeating tongue motifs leading up from the spirit face at the base all the way to the main ancestral head at the top, encircling the mouth hole in its path.
Published in "OCEANIC ART: PROVENANCE AND HISTORY" edited by Michael Hamson, pages 144/145, item 27.