BOSMAN AMULET FIGURE
Ramu River Delta, Madang Province, Papua New Guinea
Wood, pigments, shells (Conus species gastropod and cowrie), fiber
Height: 9 ¾ in (24.7 cm)
The underside of the figure inscribed in red ink: "E. 2505"
Very good condition for an object of this type and age. General marks, nicks, scratches and abrasions consistent with age and use. A hole drilled in the underside for mounting. Fiber attachments are dry and fragile. Very fine glossy reddish-brown patina with crusty remains of red earthen pigment. Inventory number "146-QM-P" painted inside proper right leg. "146-QM-P" painted in black ink on the underside along with "E.2505" painted in another hand in red.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Julius Carlebach, New York
Denver Art Museum (inv. no. QM-146), acquired from the above on January 9, 1949
Harry A. Franklin, Beverly Hills, acquired from the above by exchange in April, 1962
George R. Ellis, Oceanic Art: A Celebration of Form, San Diego, 2009, p. 31, cat. no. 9
San Diego Museum of Art, Oceanic Art: A Celebration of Form, January 31, 2009 - January 3, 2010
The rigorously structured composition of this exceptional amulet figure plays with volume and negative space, and its strong, vertical forms convey a great sense of energy. The characteristic form of the nose is particularly well developed, and the pierced septum retains its plaited fiber and shell adornments. The sculptor has paid particular attention to several small details, such as the carving of the hands and feet - the vertical form of the latter contribute to the figure's almost leaping appearance - and to the carving of a small cleft which separates the buttocks from the upper thigh. A small quadruped wriggles its way down the conical headdress, which is pierced at the top for suspension.
For two closely related examples from the collections formed in the 1920s by the Surrealists André Breton and Paul Eluard see Friede, ed., New Guinea Art: Masterpieces from the Jolika Collection of Marcia and John Friede, San Francisco, 2005, vol. 1, p. 94, cat. nos. 68 and 69.