H: 162 cm (approx. 5’ 4”)
Estimated age: End of the 19th century or early 20th century
Provenance: Formerly part of the Kevin Conru Collection,
formerly part of the Taylor Dale Collection,
German private collection
Estimate: € 22.000 – 28.000
The Boiken people of the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea occupy one of the most extensive and ecologically heterogeneous territories in New Guinea. Their boundaries encompass the islands of Walis, Tarawai, and Mushu in the Bismarck Sea.
The war shields from the Nagum Boiken culture of the coastal Prince Alexander Mountains in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea are considered some of the most impressive creations by the artists of Asmat. The Asmat carve their shields from the buttress-like roots and/or trunks of mangrove trees. The soft mangrove wood is well suited for being worked on with tools made of stone, bone, and shell. Shields are used in battle as physical protection against arrows and spears, but are also worn on ritual occasions and placed in doorways to ward off unwanted intruders.
The Boiken people created masterpieces of archaic intensity such as this war shield. Narrowly carved with a spooky face at the top, painted with white color pigments, and with braided fibers on the side. A rare Boiken shield!