The Massims live in the northeastern tip of New Guinea. An Austronesian people, one of the Massim’s most distinctive art form is the lime spatula which is often carved to great beauty. While most lime spatulas are made to facilitate the chewing of betel nut, a mild stimulant, large older examples such as this one are used as ceremonial objects. This spatula is made from dense hardwood and comes from Piori village, halfway between East Cape and Dogura in Milne Bay Province. Double figure spatulas are one of the rarest representation in the Massim corpus. According to art dealer Anthony Meyer, there are only seven published examples of double figure spatulas including six recorded by Beran in 2014. This example brings the number up to eight. The figures in this example are wonderfully carved in the round, with each figure’s limbs bending in graceful curves.
Galerie Meyer Oceanic and Eskimo Art
Beran, Harry (1996), MUTUAGA – A Nineteenth Century New Guinea Master Carver, University of Wollongong Press