Art-Pacific (Carolyn Leigh - Ron Perry): Guide to Artifacts
Art areas of Melanesia (map of New Guinea and adjacent islands)
Some areas link to Art-Pacific's articles.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Oro region (Oro Province, formerly the Northern Province, PNG): bark cloth (tapa) produced for trade. barkcloth (tapa)
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Order now: Art Dealer in the Last Unknown, Ron Perry and New Guinea Art, the early years: 1964 - 1973 by Carolyn Leigh and Ron Perry, 320 pages of adventure, over 450 early photographs - join Ron in the jungles of New Guinea on his search for tribal art.
New Guinea: Journey into the Stone Age
by Dr. Kal Muller, Passport Books, NTC Publishing Group, Lincolnwood, Illinois, USA, 1996. Part of Passport's Regional Guides of Indonesia series. Good maps, photos and text.
by Adrenne L. Kaeppler, Christian Kaufmann and Douglas Newton
published by Henry Abrams, Inc., 1997, ISBN 0-8109-3693-3
100 Fifth Ave, NY, NY, USA
Massive overview of Oceanic art, short, scholarly descriptions of each area, 900 illustrations including 260 color plates.
Plumes from Paradise: Trade Cycles in Outer Southeast Asia & Their Impact on New Guinea & Nearby Islands Until 1920
by Pamela Swadling with contributions by Roy Wagner and Billai Laba
Papua New Guinea National Museum and Robert Brown and Associates Pty Ltd, 1996, ISBN 9980-85-103-1
PO Box 1299, Coorparoo DC, QLD 4151, Australia
Documented history of cycles of trade in bird of paradise skins, spices, etc. from New Guinea to Southeast Asia and beyond for over 5,000 years. Excellent maps, very readable text, some photos.
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.