Iatmul Culture Sepik River Suspension Hook-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
There is a quiet calmness to this pre-contact Middle Sepik River suspension hook. It comes from the Iatmul culture and has a simple, clear facial composition with minimal dot eyes, pronounced raised nose with pierced septum and demure mouth. The body has been reduced to a lozenge form with a dynamic spiral design carved in very high relief. The patina is superb with both glossy highlights and ancient encrustation. There is significant signs of wear on the hook as it joins the shaft where the string bags holding ritual paraphernalia would have been suspended for generations gently swinging from the rafters. This piece comes from the private collection of the Beverly Hills dealer Harry Franklin with his two inventory numbers—O196 on a circular white label and then an earlier number, 2162, painted in white beneath the hook. The piece dates to the 19th century, stands 20 ½” (52 cm) in height and sells for $9500. Questions?