Abelam Wood Wakan Headdress-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art Provenance & History Abelam Wooden Headdress, Wakan Kwambigum village, southeastern Abelam area toward Roma village, East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea Field collected by Michael Kremerskothen, Dortmund, Germany Published Art of the Abelam, by Michael Hamson, 2015, no. 112, p. 208 Early 20th century or before , 37 3/8” (95 cm) in height I have known of this old Abelam wooden headdress for decades and feel fortunate to have been able to acquire it for this exhibition. As a former field collector who spent a lot of time in the Abelam area, I was always attracted to the age and delicacy of this piece. The openwork design is a complex composition of a central ancestral spirit surrounded by totemic birds. The headdress is remarkable for its obvious long ceremonial life. When an artifact is repeatedly used through the generations, it continually earns its cultural significance. This importance can be both seen and felt in the object itself, from the worn rounded edges and thick layers of magical paint. It is that combination in this headdress of a light, airy structure with the heavy ritual residue that I personally find so compelling. Published in "OCEANIC ART: PROVENANCE AND HISTORY" edited by Michael Hamson, pages 158/159, item 33.