Lot 4
  • 4

Spirit Board, Era-Kipaia Ethnic District, Gulf of Papua, Papua New Guinea

80,000 - 120,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • wood
  • Height: 41 in (104 cm)

Field number '232' and collection date '28.2.66' in pencil to the reverse


Collected in the village of Ubuo (Gope ethnic district) by Thomas Schultze-Westrum on February 28, 1966
Private Collection, Germany

Catalogue Note

In 1966 Thomas Schultze-Westrum collected several kópe and kakáme spirit figures in the village of Ubuo in the Gope ethnic district. These boards, including the present lot, do not resemble the Gope style so much as that of the Era-Kipaia ethnic district, which lies to the east. Schultze-Westrum (private communication) notes that in the village of Aimei (Era-Kipaia), he collected “a kópe which is almost identical” to the present lot, “especially in the design of the mouth.” He concludes, therefore, that the present kope was forcibly removed from Era region and taken to “old Ubuo”. Aumari Moiopu, Schultze-Westrum’s informant in Ubuo, told him that the villge of Baravi, upstream from Aimei on the Era River, was the subject of raids by the people of old Ubuo.

Schultze-Westrum adds that the kópe which he collected in Aimei was the work of an artist named Gabagi who had apparently worked in a village called Ikoru, long abandoned by the time of Schultz-Westrum’s visit. The similarities between the kópe collected in Aimei and the present lot suggest that this kópe may also have been created by the Era-Kipaia artist Gabagi.