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Art-Pacific (Carolyn Leigh - Ron Perry): Guide to Artifacts

Art areas of Melanesia (map of New Guinea and adjacent islands)

[Map of Melanesian art areas including New Guinea, New Ireland and New Britain, Solomon Islands: 10k]

Some areas link to Art-Pacific's articles.

  1. Solomon Islands and Bougainville (North Solomons Province, PNG): detailed carvings and jewelry inlaid with pearlshell or overlaid with filigree turtle shell. Strings of handcut shell money are made and sold to neighboring groups. crafts | jewelry | cutting shell | shell money | map, books
  2. New Ireland, Lavongai (New Hanover), Lihir, Tabar (New Ireland Province, PNG): elaborate painted fret work Malangan sculptures and masks. Malagan and other New Ireland funeral art
  3. New Britain and Duke of York Islands (East and West New Britain Provinces, PNG): Baining bark cloth fire dance masks, Tolai dukduk masks, Sulka and Menge masks, Kandrian shields. Sulka masks | Sulka dance information | Baining dances and bark cloth masks | Tolai tubuan and dukduk masks
  4. Admiralty Islands and the St. Matthias Group (Manus Province, PNG): carved bowls, lime spatulas and decorated gourds, basketry and pottery are in early collections.
    Not shown: Vanuatu (New Hebrides and Banks Islands) and New Caledonia (French) are on the eastern side of the Coral Sea. New Caledonia Kanak masks, carvings and other objects are only found in a few early collections. Vanuatu carvers sculpt large tree fern figures and vertical slit-gong drums. Fiji can also be included in Melanesia, but their art is more Polynesian.
  5. Island of New Guinea

  6. North coast including the coastal mountain ranges, the Sepik-Ramu river basin and neighboring hills and mountains (East Sepik and Sandaun (West Sepik) Provinces): highly developed artistic cultures focused around large men's ceremonial Haus Tambarans. Extensive material culture includes masks, sculptures, bark paintings, pottery and numerous other artifacts. Sepik River: map with links to articles on different art areas and villages | masks - Middle Sepik | Ramu River: masks - carvings - map | Karawari and Blackwater Rivers: masks - carvings - map | yam masks - fiber | yam masks - wood | pottery - Chambri | story boards | cane and fiber figures
  7. Northeast coast up to Astrolabe Bay (parts of Madang Province, PNG): telum wood figures from this area were some of the first to appear in European collections.
  8. Tami, Siassi and Umboi Islands (Morobe Province, PNG): Tami and Siassi wooden bowls are representative of their fine wood carving, also bark cloth tago masks.
  9. Huon Peninsula, Finisterre Range and Markham Valley back of Lae (Morobe Province, PNG): colorful tall bark cloth dance plaques and similar ceremonial pieces, pottery decorated with small figures.
  10. New Guinea Highlands (Enga, Chimbu, Western, Eastern and Southern Highlands Provinces, PNG): Highland tribes are known for their dramatic ceremonial body painting, kina shell jewelry and human hair wigs decorated with Bird of Paradise and other plumes. body art | jewelry - dancers | Bundi tapa
  11. Oro region (Oro Province, formerly the Northern Province, PNG): bark cloth (tapa) produced for trade. barkcloth (tapa)
  12. Massim region (Milne Bay Province, PNG): a triangle of islands, including the Trobriand Islands, and associated area of coast. The Kula ceremonial trading cycles tied these peoples together in a complex network of individual exchanges between both men and women. Artifacts include ebony carvings and Kula shell jewelry. Massim: crafts - kula - map | Kula canoe
  13. South Coast from East Cape to Yule Island (Central Province includes the PNG capital, Port Moresby): Motu and Mailu people were great sailors. The Motu made major trading voyages in large outrigger canoes (lakatoi) carrying pottery to trade for sago in the Papuan Gulf. They also had complex tattoos.
  14. Gulf of Papua (Gulf Province, PNG), Fly River region (Western Province, PNG) and Torres Strait Islands (Australia): large bark cloth and basketry masks, flat oval boards carved in low relief in the Gulf. Gogodala on the Fly make 3-dimensional painted figures. Torres Strait made elegant turtle shell masks.
  15. Papuan Gulf: masks-carvings-map-Gogodala-Angu (Kukukuku)

  16. South coast west of Merauke and swamplands back of Agats (Papua, Indonesia): Marind-anim, Asmat, Mimika and related tribes. The Asmat are famous for their towering white bisj poles carved from mangrove root. Asmat art
  17. Highlands of Papua (administrative center is Wamena): many tribes live close to their Stone Age origins. Men in some groups still wear gourd phallocrypts. phallocrypts
  18. Bird's Head (Vogelkop) Peninsula to Cendrawasih (Geelvink) Bay (Papua, Indonesia): centuries of extensive trade in Bird of Paradise plumes with Moluccan Islamic sultanates before European contact. Korwar figures carved to honor the dead. Biak Island had metal works.
  19. Jos Sudarso (Humboldt) Bay, Lake Sentani and east along the coast from the Papua provincial capital of Jayapura (Hollandia) to Aitape in PNG: Asian Dong-s'on bronze objects and glass trade beads were collected at Lake Sentani. Wood carvings, canoes and paddles and bark cloth display delicate nature-based motifs.



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Melanesian art TOC | Map of art areas of Melanesia
Papua New Guinea: Highlands: body art - Bundi tapa - jewelry/dancers | Karawari and Blackwater Rivers: masks - carvings - map | Massim: artifacts- Trobriand Kula - map | Kula canoe | New Britain: Baining - Sulka - Tolai dukduk | New Ireland: Malagan | Ramu River: masks - carvings - map | Sepik River: masks - carvings - villages - map | Papuan Gulf: masks - carvings - map - Gogodala - Angu (Kukukuku)
other areas: Asmat | Solomon Islands: crafts - jewelry - map
art and craft:
barkcloth (tapa) | body art | cane and fiber figures | canoes and prows | jewelry/dancers | masks - Middle Sepik | phallocrypts | pottery - Chambri | shields | story boards | suspension hooks | weapons | yam masks - fiber | yam masks - wood

Indonesian art TOC | Dyak baby carriers and masks | furniture | Java folk art | Lombok baskets | Lombok lontar boxes | masks from Bali and Java | puppets

China: Bai textiles/art TOC | baby carriers | baby hats | woodblock prints

Collecting New Guinea art in the field since 1964.

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Artifacts on this site were collected in the field by my husband, Ron Perry. I take the photographs, do the html, text and maps. Background in Who We Are. Art-Pacific has been on the WWW since 1996. We hope you enjoy our New Guinea tribal art and Indonesian folk art as much as we do. by Carolyn Leigh is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-ND 4.0