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Pacific Rim, Oceanic and Other Tribal Artifacts

Welcome to the Pacific Rim and Oceanic Gallery. Offered here are ancient and antique tribal and ethnographic artifacts. This gallery will be regularly updated so check back often. Please ask if you would like additional photos or more in-depth descriptions Enjoy your treasure hunt...

NOTE: All items being offered on this website have appropriate provenance and are legal to buy and own under the United States statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, Chapter 14. Every purchase comes with a written certificate of authenticity (COA) and are fully guaranteed to be as described. Provenance and accurate, detailed condition information is included with each listing.

To Purchase or Ask a Question: Contact me via email at: or call 828-322-2942. Payment options are check, money-order or PayPal. Credit Cards can be processed through PayPal. Discount may apply on the purchase of multiple items.

Shipping costs are not included in the purchase price. Shipping options are (U.S. only) via USPS Priority Mail, UPS Ground or FedEx. Tracking info will be provided. Fragile items will be double-boxed.

International Sales: Shipping outside of the United States is no longer available. International shipping has become overly stressful and is no longer an option due to unpredictable costs, customs issues and import/export restrictions that vary by country.

Kiribati Shark's Tooth Sword Club Gilbert Island Micronesia Kiribati Shark's Tooth Sword — Gilbert Island, Micronesia

Early 20th Century

An exceptional shark's tooth sword from Kiribati, Micronesia dating to the early 1900s. Swords of this type were specific to the tribespeople of Kiribati in what now is called the Gilbert Islands; a small chain of sixteen coral islands and atolls remotely located in the Pacific Ocean about halfway between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. The sword consist of two rows of very sharp sharks' teeth lashed into a palmwood staff. Each tooth is drilled and tied to a rounded central shaft using finely braided coconut fiber cord called 'coir'. The handle and central grip are wrapped in braided cords (often incorporating human hair) along with strips of decorative rattan. This sword is an example of one type of traditional weapon used by the Kiribati. Called a Tetoanea or Tewinnarei, these shark's tooth swords (clubs) measured from 2 feet 6 inches to 3 feet long. They were used for close infighting and hand-to-hand combat. They were also used as part of 'ceremonial warfare' performances, in maintaining honor and the settling of tribal disputes. Overall in very good condition. One tooth is chipped and several teeth have been re-secured with matching modern twine. Minor fraying on the grips and small losses to the rattan. Some of the original cording is broken or missing, but generally everything is stable and complete. A fine and very rare example! Custom stand included. Approx. 33" long x 1.75" wide.

Additional info: The Kiribati used numerous other types of weaponry, all called by different names. Each formed a part of a warrior's combat ensemble; the sword along with a spear and dagger. A warrior also wore a complete set of body armor made from thickly woven coconut fiber, a belt of stingray skin and a helmet created from a hollowed out and dried puffer fish.

Ex. Herbert Harris collection of NYC and FL. Mr. Harris was lead percussionist for the New York Philharmonic and a jazz band drummer throughout the early to mid 20th Century. This sword was acquired by him in the late 1950s.


Papa New Guinea Ramu River Large Wooden Kundu Drum Large Ramu River Kundu (drum) — Papua New Guinea

Mid-20th Century, possibly earlier.

A very large and beautifully carved Kundu (drum) from the Ramu River region of Papua New Guinea. A lovely hand-held drum; hollow-bodied and carved from wood as is typical. This finely crafted instrument features a two-headed bird handle and much of the main chamber is covered with an intricately carved fish motif. The lizard-skin drum head is intact and playable; a very rare feature for a drum from this period. A braided natural woven fiber band secures the skin to the drum. The lizard skin is likely a more recent tribal replacement and not as old as the drum itself. Drums from this period often had their skins replaced (possibly several times) as they became worn or damaged over years of ceremonial use. Condition is very good, near choice. Some light staining, pigment fading and surface wear; all consistent with age and extensive tribal use. Overall a fine example that is larger than most of this type.

Ex. estate collection of Alvin Cohen of Bethesda, Maryland.
Ex. Cichon Tribal Arts of Florida.

Approx. 23.5" tall x 6" across


Papua New Guinea Carved Wood Sepik Iatmul War Trumpet Iatmul War Trumpet — Papua New Guinea

Early to Mid 20th Century

An old and exceptional war trumpet from the Iatmul people, Korewori River, Middle Sepik Region of northeast Papua New Guinea. This fine example features traditional geometric designs terminating with a crocodile head, all carved with stone tools. A wide band near the center has Nassa shell inlays. The shells imbedded into thick hardened resin. These unusual 'side blown' trumpets, associated with warfare, are played by blowing (while vibrating the lips) into a hole on the side. Among the Iatmul people, side-blown trumpets were sounded after raids to announce the arrival of the warriors as they returned to their village with prisoners or enemy heads. Like many Iatmul instruments, the trumpets were often played in pairs by two men who sounded them in alternation. In near choice condition with expected surface weathering, minor surface cracks and wear from extended tribal use. Some shell losses, mostly on the underside. A large example that displays dramatically on the included custom metal display stand. Museum deaccession.

Ex. Aase B. and Frederick C. Thompson Foundation. Ex. Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art. Ex. Cichon Tribal Arts; all of Florida.

Approx. 25.5" long. Approx. 12" tall on the stand


Papua New Guinea Garra Hook Mask Carved Wood Hunstein 'Garra' Hook Mask — Papua New Guinea

20th Century

A beautifully carved wooden 'Garra' hook mask from the Hunstein Mountains of Papua New Guinea. This large hook mask is of elliptical form with concentric hooks framing the central face. Covered with gray-black pigment overall, the face features boar tusks nose ornaments, cowry shell eyes and bone (or teeth) ear plugs. There are feathers tied with natural fibers around the outer edge. These types of masks are made by the Bahinemo people of the Upper Sepik River. The Bahinemo believe the Garra masks represent bush spirits and wise, old (ancestoral) men. The hooks are seen as stylized hornbill beaks which aside of their decorative effect have a symbolic meaning. The Great Hornbill is related to the soul, ancestors and the spirit world. The Garra, meaning 'sacred object', are carried by male dancers during initiation ceremonies, then were hung from the rafters in the Men's House. In fine condition with light surface weathering and edge wear. An impressive and very large example.

Ex. European private collection.

Approx. 34" tall, 12" wide and 8" deep


Papua New Guinea Artist Model Drum Carving PNG Carver's Model — Papua New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

An extremely rare carver's "reference model" from Papua New Guinea's Coastal Sepik region. A model or miniature version of the side of a garamut slit drum. Carvers in the Schouten Islands would sometimes make (one-off) carvings like this as a visual reference of a favorite design. A kind of reminder on how something looked so it could be reproduced at a later date. Intricately carved in traditional designs with bird-head handles as would be seen on an actual slit drum. Condition is quite good. One bird beak is cracked, very minor chips and losses. General wear and weathering consistent with age. Some insect damage on the back. A unique and very interesting artifact, seldom seen in today's market. An attractive piece that displays beautifully on a custom metal stand which is included.

Approx 16" long x 4" tall. Approx 6.5" tall on the stand.


Papua New Guinea Woven Fiber Yam Mask PNG Yam Mask — Papua New Guinea

Late 20th Century

A nice basketry (woven fiber) yam mask from the Abelam people of the East Sepik Province. Made from woven natural fibers and painted with colored pigments. This example is in the typical style, finely woven with open-work mouth, nose, eyes and headdress. Painted in shades of red, yelllow, black and white. Condition is in near choice. Some light fraying along the nose, else intact.

One of the major focuses of ceremonial life among the Abelam people is the competitive growth and exchange of large yams. A man's social status is determined largely on his ability to cultivate special ceremonial yams which can grow up to 12 feet long. At the harvest yam festival they are prominently displayed in front of the ceremonial house. These masks are used to decorate the larger, most important yams. Lavishly adorned for the presentation ceremony, the finest yams are essentially transformed into human images, decorated in the manner of men in full ceremonial regalia. The "heads" of the enormous tubers are adorned with specially made yam masks such as this one, which are made exclusively for yams and are never worn by humans.

Approx 8" wide x 10" tall.


New Guinea Vessels PNG Pottery Collection — New Guinea

Mid-20th Century

A rare collection of pottery vessels from Papua New Guinea. Originally collected around 1960 from the (Latmul speaking) village of Aibom, which sits inland off the middle Sepik River in the Chambri Lakes region. Nicely sculpted in the traditional style, each are "janus" type, with similar designs on each side. All are basket-form with birds adorning each side of the handles. In very good condition. All have a few glued breaks as well as minor chips and dings. Generally near choice with strong paint. They show no sign of tribal use and are most likely early tourist pieces. Still a great collection of mid-century PNG pottery pieces. Damage could easily be restored, but display beautifully in their current condition. Not for sale individually. These were all acquired together and I prefer to keep the collection intact.

Heights range from 7" to 4.5" tall

$300 for the group

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