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Collection: Guy Spilers/Rene Van den Berghe (further information below)
$2500 plus tax and shipping
This beautiful old & well used Slit Gong Drum is from the Lower Sepik River area in the East Sepik Province of Papua New Guinea.
In many parts of New Guinea, the sounds produced by certain types of musical instruments, played during ceremonies, are said to be the voices of supernatural beings. Among Sepik peoples, the most important musical instruments were sacred flutes and slit gongs—percussion instruments carved from massive logs, hollowed out to create a resonating chamber with a narrow slit like aperture, whose edges are struck with wood beaters to produce a deep, sonorous tone. The ends of slit gongs are typically embellished, as here, with ornate incised clan designs as are both sides of this fine drum are adorned with deep incised clan designs.
Large slit gongs are a prominent feature of men’s ceremonial houses where they are sometimes arranged in pairs running longitudinally down the length of the earthen floor of the open under story of the structure. Played to accompany a variety of ritual performances and other events, such drums, though used exclusively by men, are readily visible and relatively public objects.
This is a rare and unique beautiful incised carving and would be a wonderful addition to your collection. This is a stunning collectors piece.
Close friends, Rene Vanden Berghe and Guy Spilers found themselves living a life of adventure they sought out and embraced. Born in Belgium just prior to WWII, they spent their youth under German occupation. After the war, the adventures continued with National Service in 1953-54 serving in an elite battalion: the para-commando platoon. After military service was over, Rene studied tropical agriculture and used a government grant to start a coffee plantation in the Belgian Congo where he only escaped by “the skin of his teeth” when he had to flee during the Lumumba Insurrection in 1961. He and Guy then emigrated to Australia where they secured employment as overseers for the Catholic Church Mission in New Ireland – running a plantation from 1962-72. Their knowledge, diligence and military training saw the plantation prosper despite tribal fights, earthquakes, riots and the occasional confrontation with axe and knife-wielding workers. Their practical skills were balanced by a love of art, photography and travel. A talented amateur photographer, Rene left an extensive collection of photographs of their experiences and travels. After leaving the plantation they traveled throughout Melanesia, French Polynesia and Micronesia, Europe, Asia and South America before settling in Nambour on the Sunshine Coast. They collected tribal art pieces throughout their travels to inspire Rene’s love of painting and sculpture.
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