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Title: Finial from a Lime Spatula
Date: probably 19th to early 20th century
Cultural Region: Massim region
Cultural Region: Milne Bay Province
Medium: wood and traces of lime
Dimensions:
5 9/16 x 13/16 in. (14.1 x 2.1 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alvin S. Novack
Object Number: 324:1957
Place of origin: Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea
Current Location: On View, Gallery 109
Notes:
This very fine old figure was carved from ebony and was originally the handle finial of a lime spatula, the blade of which is now missing. Lime spatulas were very personal objects used daily by people living in the Massim region, and they are among the most beautiful objects to have originated from this highly creative area. Human figures are the main theme of many spatula handles, although the range of imagery can vary widely. The crouching or squatting form seen in this piece is the customary way of portraying the human figure.
Provenance
- 1957
Mr. and Mrs. Alvin S. Novack, St. Louis, MO, USA

1957 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, given by Mr. and Mrs. Alvin Novack [1]


Notes:
[1] A letter dated November 25, 1957 from Charles Nagel, director of the City Art Museum, to Mr. and Mrs. Alvin S. Novack acknowledges the gift of this object as part of a larger donation [Director's Office, Donor Correspondence, Archives, Saint Louis Art Museum]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control and the Advisory Committee of the City Art Museum, November 7, 1957.
Exhibition History
Title: Ritual Arts of the South Seas: The Morton D. May Collection
Date: August 22 – October 19, 1975
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Title: Miniatures in Art
Date: March 13 - June 24, 1984
Venue: Saint Louis Art Museum
Publication History
Title: Ritual Arts of the South Seas: The Morton D. May Collection
Year Published: 1975
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