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24

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MYRON KUNIN, MINNEAPOLIS

Doreh Ancestor Figure, Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT
24

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF MYRON KUNIN, MINNEAPOLIS

Doreh Ancestor Figure, Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 56,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York

Doreh Ancestor Figure, Manokwari, West Papua, Indonesia

Provenance

Reportedly Rheinisches Missionsmuseum, Wuppertal-Barmen, circa 1900
Carlo Monzino, Lugano
Sotheby's, New York, November 10, 1987, lot 131, consigned by the above
Masco Collection, Detroit, acquired at the above auction
Sotheby's, New York, May 9, 2006, lot 27, consigned by the above
Myron Kunin, Minneapolis, acquired at the above auction

Exhibited

The Kimbell Museum of Art, Fort Worth, Texas, Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, September 24 - December 4, 1994; additional venues:
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, February 2 - March 26, 1995
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, June 11 - August 6, 1995
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, March 9 - May 5, 1996

Literature

Allen Wardwell, Island Ancestors: Oceanic Art from the Masco Collection, Seattle and Detroit, 1994, p. 35, cat. 3

Catalogue Note

In his discussion of the Kunin figure, Wardwell notes: 'Most korwar figures were made for the families of deceased males and occasionally females immediately following their death. During the carving, chants were sung to assure that the spirit power of the ancestor would enter into the figure. The figures then served as intermediaries between the living and the dead. Their advice was sought through the actions of a shaman who went into a trance and was then able to pass on the words of the spirit to the living descendants.' (Wardwell, Island Ancestors, 1994, p. 34).

'There are a number of different regional carving styles represented by korwars, and this piece [the present lot] has been attributed to the Biak people [...]. Most Biak examples, however, depict seated figures, while those showing a standing figure carrying an openwork 'shield' are ascribed to the Doreh people [...]. The nature and meaning of the shield form have generated considerable discussion. Baaren [Korwars and the Korwar Style, 1968, pp. 76-77] believes it to represent a single snake or two intertwined snakes. In the mythology of the region, snakes symbolize the underworld and its dangers as well as the powers of regeneration. Relevant to this object, he also notes that "the snake may also turn out to be a young man. This last conception perhaps offers an explanation for the smaller figure which some korwars have in front of them."'

Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas

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New York