Superb Rare “Frieda River” Telefomin War Shield “Atkom”, Mountain OK, Upper Sepik River, Papua New Guinea. Carved and engraved hardwood and natural pigment. Highly stylized geometric patterned shield is a classic example of the old war shields, atkom, produced by the Mountain Ok people of the Highlands of Western Papua New Guinea. According to Barry Craig, “Mountain Ok shields were carried into battle by unarmed shieldbearers sheltering a line of bowmen behind them.” (Craig in Hays, and Hellmich, eds., New Guinea Highlands: Art from the Jolika Collection, San Francisco, 2017, p. 527). Discussing shields from the Jolika Collection, Chris Boylan notes that “the Mountain Ok readily identify elements of the design - such as ‘eyes’, ‘heart’, ‘arms’, ‘wings’, ‘hornbill beak’, and so on - but never give an explanation of the overall design. It is probable that these names are merely names and do not necessarily indicate that the design elements carry meanings. [...] it is clear, however, that the shields as objects are thought of in anthropomorphic terms. They are given personal names and are believed to acquire courage against enemy arrows. Other qualities suggest that they are vehicles of ancestral power.” (Boylan in Friede, Hays, and Hellmich, eds., ibid., pp. 148 and 153). Approx L180 x 62cm. PROVENANCE John Magers Collection, Sydney.
Fees apply to the hammer price:
Room and Absentee Bids:
24.20% inc GST*
Online and Autobids:
24.2% inc GST*