" 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
Throughout the Pacific, the headrest offers a harmonious synthesis of form and function. In one object, we are offered a glimpse into a culture's aesthetic, psychic and daily worldview. The Friede Iatmul headrest is a very original demonstration of this principle. Measuring 74 centimeters in length, it is expansive and the artist clearly iterates its importance through three anthropo-zoomorphic elements: the female figure, the flying fox fruit bat and the cockatoo. As elaborated by Friede, 'the female figure probably represents a principal female ancestor. She is embraced by a flying fox fruit bat, which represents protective parenting according to the Awar villagers. They said this was because of the caring manner with which the females carried their young while in flight (personal communication 1981)' (2005, p.116). The cockatoo is likely a clan emblem with highly individualized symbolism specific to the owner and his group.
These symbols all work together to enhance the spiritual life of its owner through the ability to enhance their dreams as they sleep on this pillow. In the preface to Supports de rêve (Falgayrettes [ed.] 1989) Muensterberger notes: "The manifestation of a dream is always obscure, even if it is simple and logical at first glance. For the indigenous dreamer, there are no dreams but those that are in themselves an enigma, and whose components carry symbolism indicative of various messages or omens. The dreamed images are considered testimony of a mystical experience, completely removed from the sphere of conscious reality. Undoubtedly the headrest, and particularly those that are carved and constructed with great care, are perceived as personal objects, perhaps invested with a spiritual dimension that could influence dreams."
Testing of the Friede headrest by the C-14 method revealed a date, though inconclusive, of 17th-19th century. For a related headrest from the collection of the Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam, see Greub 1988:160; and for another related headrest see Meyer 2004: 40.