Many collectors are familiar with the fishing canoe prows of the region of West Papua once named Humbolt Bay after the famous German explorer who discovered it, then called Geevink Baai as a part of Dutch Bew Guinea, and finally as Cinderwasi Bay as part of West Papua.
The carving is classic for this type of prow. A bird's head (probably a cormorant, good at finding fish) is placed above a complex and formal arrangement of large and dangerous fishes including sharks and dolphins. This example is old and well weathered, with some loss of he distinctive red and yellow trade paint surface. Provenance: Ex Senta Taft Henry, Galleries Primitif, Sydney, size 37 x 23 cm / 14 /2 x 9 1/2 inches.