This superb and rare 20th century example was probably carved as a cultural symbolo and dance paddle, possibly for the launching of an elaborate traditional canoe to mark the independence of PNG in 1978, or for some other special occasion. The carving is absoutely traditional and of high quality. This is a typical Tami paddle with a long, broad blade and a fairly short handle, The small, finely detailed male figure at the top of the handle , possibly representing an ancestor, is carved in the round and has an excellent sculptural quality. The ornate relief carving at the top of the blade represents a spirit face which is carved on both sides of the paddle and embellished with typical Huon Gulf abstract designs.
Length of male figure terminal 13 cm / 5 inches, length of blade 34 cm, 13.5 inches, overall length of paddle149cm/58.5 inches.