Coastal Sepik Mask - Sotheby’s London, 21 June 1979, lot 108 Coastal Sepik Mask Sotheby’s London, 21 June 1979, lot 108 I guess by now you realize the pieces I am most attracted to are the very earliest archaic examples. Maybe this is my field collecting bias showing through—valuing the very earliest, hardest to find objects with unquestionably pure spiritual intent. This ancient Coastal Sepik mask is probably the oldest I have seen of this type. At 11 ½” it is fairly small but look at the deep volumes of the forehead. As with nearly all pre-contact, stone-carved New Guinea pieces there is a total absence of straight lines. The edges are smooth and rounded, there are undulations in the surface and signs of shell-scraping on the cheeks. I love how the eyes are both recessed and then bulge out around the open slit hole. The nose is broad and curves down and in to follow the contours of the face. The nostrils are flared to to give room for the multiple piercings which would have string and shell attachments. The hole through the nostril is a gaping oval. The piece was estimated at 1800 to 2800 UK pounds and sold at the low estimate—a crying shame! This is easily a $50,000 to $70,000 mask today. I implore the spirits to bring this mask to my doorstep one day.