Kwoma water spirit figure realises $69,000 at Bonhams New York

A Kwoma/Wovumbanji water spirit figure from Papua New Guinea achieved $68,750 in Bonhams' African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art sale in New York on November 12.

It originates from Urumbanj Village in the island's Washkuk Hills and was first acquired by a Western collector during the 1960s.

Bonhams Kwoma mjinda
The Kwoma people use the mjinda in fertility rites

Known as mjinda, they are produced by the Kwoma people for use in fertility rites.

The present lot stands at just over six feet tall and is the oldest variation of the form, which is believed to have been copied from neighbouring tribes.

Another work from Papua New Guinea, an Iatmul suspension fish spirit figure produced near the Middle Sepik River, made $52,500.

It would have been made to hang in a men's ceremonial house, which are the centres of religion within the community.

The Iatmul are an ethnic group spread across a number of villages along the banks of the Sepik - with the result that there is significant variation in cultural practices.

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