Sissano Lagoon Drum-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
I field collected this sweet ancient drum in 1995 on my second trip to Papua New Guinea. I had flown to Vanimo on the northwest coast right near the Indonesian boarder. Down the coast to the east, six hours by boat, was an area I wanted to visit—Sissano Lagoon. I found a community dinghy beached by the post office in Vanimo and caught a ride with a group of locals who had come to down for shopping. The ride was especially rough plowing into the large oncoming waves. We crossed the bar into the lagoon as night was falling. The boat driver turned to me and asked who I was visiting so he could drop me off by their house. I told him I knew no one. That didn’t seem to faze him as he passed the word through the village and a family volunteered to take me in. It was my first introduction to the amazing hospitality of the PNG folks.
The next morning the son of the man whose house I spent the night in accompanied me through the village going house to house asking for old artifacts. I collected many things in that village and the nearby other ones over the next four days—this drum was one of the very best things acquired. It is ancient with a beautiful design and dark black glossy patina. I include a photo of the inside of the bottom of the drum to show how one judges age in New Guinea drums—from the patina on the inside of the drum and the rounded bottom edge. This one is 19th century for sure, 20” (50.8 cm) tall and sells for $6500.