Exquisitely beautiful figural flute stopper
Papua New Guinea, Sawos / Iatmul
|Galerie Lemaire, Amsterdam, The Netherlands||H: 17.5 inch||sold|
wood, encrusted patina, clay-like mass, cowry shell, plant fibre, base
The figure is stone carved from hard wood and shows a softly worn aged and encrusted dark brown patina.
The great flutes are amongst the most sacred and important objects of the clan. They must never be seen by women or uninitiated men. The sounds of these flutes were the actual voices of the spirits, and their magic needed to be controlled. Therefore, these figures were made and inserted into the flutes when they were not in use.
Howarth, Crispin et. al., Masterpieces of New Guinea Art, Brussels 2014, p. 132