The present figure was once part of the sail mast hoist of a sea-going canoe and was looking downward, so as to protect the company. The style is characteristic from the Lower Sepik-Ramu esturary and Manam island area and I date it to the 1920's.
This archaic spirit or ancestor figure has a strong gaze with a bird beak nose, the typical conical hairdress of lower Ramu men, piercings in the ears and a beard collar. Possibly it is a masked figure as the arms seems to come down from high up behind the face in a twist movement, hands joined on the lower belly.
Good condition, weathered surface consistent with use.
Galerie Flak, Paris ; The piece was expertised by Marie-Catherine Daffos in the 1990's.