Buka Paddle-Solomon Islands-Melanesian Art-Oceanic Art
Sometimes when an object type has an easily recognizable and distinct look one is tempted to lump them all together almost as an interchangeable commodity. Early on I was guilty of this with regards to Buka paddles such as the present example. Like with most things, knowledge comes with experience and now that I have had a fair number of these pass through my hands I can truly appreciate an exceptional specimen. I first came across this paddle in the Washington D.C. home of a long-retired State Department diplomat. He had responded to my “WANTED! Looking to Buy…” ad in the Washington Post newspaper. I made the gentleman a very fair offer that he basically laughed off. But as time passes…the son contacted me recently upon the father’s death. Point is, this is a real beauty that I feel very fortunate to offer. The man acquired it from an antique store back in the late 1960s while stationed in Manila. The paddle was said to have come from a retired ship captain’s collection. So, the paddle is fresh to the market after nearly 60 years. The figure is exceptional with a huge head, thin limbs and a toothy grin. The opposed head above is equally beautiful. The paddle dates to the late 19th century, is 71” (180.4 cm) in height.