Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.
" f " : In addition to the regular Buyer’s premium, a commission of
7% (i.e. 7.49% inclusive of VAT for books, 8.372% inclusive
of VAT for the other lots) of the hammer price will be
charged to the buyer. It will be refunded to the Buyer upon
proof of export of the lot outside the European Union within
the legal time limit.(Please refer to section VAT refunds)
Post Lot Text
The initiation of young boys in New Guinea often begins at the age of eight and lasts throughout their teen years. They are then reborn as men, and allowed to marry. The youth are familiarized with matters of war, diplomacy, religious knowledge, sexuality and marital duties and social relations (Smidt, pp.39 and 49).
Completion of the process is cause for celebration, and a lime spatula such as the Jolika example was given to the boy by his maternal uncle as one of the emblems of his newly realized masculinity.
'The Iatmul and other Middle Sepik peoples use betel nut, the fruit of the areca palm, which is chewed with lime made from burnt shells or coral and other substances to produce
a mild stimulant effect. Among the Iatmul, the ornate containers and spatulas used respectively to hold and serve the lime had ceremonial as well as practical functions.
The tops of the lime containers have a hole for the insertion of the lime spatula, and the lower ends are frequently adorned with carvings depicting totemic animals or other supernatural beings. The lower ends of Iatmul lime spatulas were carved with a series of ridges [as is true with the Jolika example]. To express pride, assertiveness, or anger,
Iatmul men rapidly thrust the spatula in and out of the lime container so that the ridges, rubbing against the edges of the hole in the top, produced a harsh grating noise' (MMA 2012).
The superb fine delicacy of the figure, which stands 17 cm. tall (6¾ in.), is belied by the powerful articulation of its features and the decisive balance and counterbalance of volumes and negative space, incorporating the best traits of Iatmul style. The Beasley-Langlois-Jolika spatula is very closely related to another in the collection of the The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1978.412.821) formerly in the collections of Harold Kaye, Everett Rassiga and the Museum of Primitive Art (1963).
Harry Beasley began collecting when he was only 13 (in 1895) and continued his pursuits avidly until his untimely death in 1939. Works of art from his former collection are distinguished by a rectangular label bearing his name, as is the case in the Jolika lime spatula. See Hermione Waterfield and Jonathan King, (Provenance, 2006, pp.78-91) for a more detailed account of Beasley's thirst for treasures.
The Friedes acquired this work of art from the Parisian collector Pierre Langlois after having been spotted by Emile Bouchard, a Parisian collector and a friend of the Friedes known for his exquisite eye (Friede, p.114). See Micromegas, lot 28 for a fine tiny Sepik maskette formerly in Bouchard's collection.