Mysterious flute from Papua New Guinea's depths could bring £15,000

Sometimes you don't need to venture into mankind's past to find rare collectibles, you just need to travel to an obscure part of the world.

This is set to be proven at Desbenoit Fierfort & Associates' Precolombian Art, Popular Art of Mexico, Oceania and Asian auction on February 2.

Among the sale's highlights is a unique artwork consigned from a private collection in Amsterdam: a superb carved flute in the form of a naked person from a mysterious culture in Papua New Guinea.

The wood sculpture was made by the Iatmul people (numbering 10,000 people), a still-extant culture about which little is known or understood. It consists of shapes interlocking into each other.

A carved wooden flute by the Iatmul people of Papua New Guinea

The person is depicted in a beautiful form, dynamic and powerful, with hands on hips. "His face has an expression hieratic and determined," read the auctioneer's lot notes.

The figure's head is surmounted by a bird with a long nose pliers with its source in the center of the torso and the upper halo. 

Measuring 44 x 11 x 6cm, the piece is set to auction with a €12,000-15,000 estimate.


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