Karawari River Yipwon, New Guinea Art, Oceanic Tribal Art Here is a small and ancient Karawari River yipwon spirit figure from my recent PRE-CONTACT exhibition catalog. It is important to remember the determination of age for an Oceanic art object is done almost entirely by style and not surface quality. A thick patina of use can be authentically built up after only 30 or 40 years in the field, and one of weathered erosion can happen in even less time than that. Style, however, is generally a much more stable and accurate method of dating an object. Such is the case with the present small yipwon figure from the Upper Karawari River (some spell this Korewori). One of the surest signs of the oldest Karawari yipwon is their volumes. Post-contact examples are thinner and less substantial, almost two-dimensional. The most ancient have thick, substantial heads and even wider back spines—both of which are still evident on this piece even after substantial erosion and loss. The large head projects boldly forward and the spine is very broad for such a small sculpture. For the Yiman people, these hook figures were associated with hunting. From my own field research, I was told that with the assistance of yipwon when a hunter goes out at night looking for pig, one will invariably cross the path right in front of him. Without the spiritual benevolence, the wild pigs will remain unseen. The figure is 11 ¼” (28.5 cm) in height, dates to the 19th century and the price is $8500.