Webster Papuan Gulf Drum-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art Provenance
This ancient Papuan Gulf drum was originally sold and illustrated by the early British dealer William Downing Webster in 1901 in no. 28 of his Catalogue of Ethnographical Specimens. It was recently plucked from an upstairs table on a Wisconsin antique shop by a sharp-eyed young collector. The drum is from the Elema culture—Orokolo area—as Webster notes in his catalog entry. It has Webster’s inventory number 10312 painted in white on the side. The drum as two ancestral spirit faces on the flanged sides of the open crocodile mouth. There is an intact monitor lizard skin tympanum held taught by strips of cane anchored to the drum’s handle. It is hard to beat this very early, extremely well documented provenance. The drum dates to the mid 19th century, is 25” (63.6 cm) in height.