West Coast Food Pounder-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art Field collecting, like many of the best things in life, should be done slowly and relaxed. This was NOT the case with this food pounder acquired in the chaos of life-or-death. I had planned a massive field collecting trip into the mountains along the west coast of Papua New Guinea with five of my full-time regular guys with me in a Toyota Hilux four-wheel drive truck. I dropped off one man every ten miles or so as we headed west. Each had a map, a fist full of currency, a backpack of food and a plan to reach a series of remote villages. I was the last man to head inland for five days. Upon my return to the coast, I started driving back, picking up each man and their bags of collected artifacts. The last man, Patrick, was to be picked up at a small village at end of a steep, dirt road a couple miles inland from the coast. As we drove the rutted switchbacks up the mountain we passed some village houses where a man frantically waved us down. His brother had been clearing brush and had been bitten by a death adder snake and was dying. They asked if I could drive him to the hospital in Wewak an hour away. I said sure, but I had a man on top of the mountain collecting artifacts waiting for me. I’ll hurry, pick him up and head back down to take your brother to the hospital. The man said, fine and what type of artifacts are you buying… As I skidded to a stop at the top of the mountain my man Patrick was with a group of people and their objects. I was freaked out and told Patrick to load up, a man was dying down below that we needed to take to the hospital. But what about these people and the stuff they had brought? Ok, I frantically scanned the artifacts and this food pounder caught my eye. How much for this? I paid quickly, grabbed the pounder and ran back to my truck. We hauled ass down the mountain to the guy’s house—where an array of artifacts—drums & wooden plates--were strung along the fence waiting for me. I bought a couple things as they loaded what looked like a gray corpse into the back of the truck. We made it to the hospital in record time. I pulled around the back, ran inside and found a metal gurney to load the poor fellow on top and ran it inside the hospital until I found a couple nurses who took over. About a year later I was in Wewak town when a smiling man stopped me and wanted to shake my hand—he was the snake bit man fully recovered and very grateful. The food pounder has a haunting stylized face with large open eyes and a pointed nose. The top portion has a thick encrusted patina generations old. The lower portion has a smooth red/brown surface from repeated use and subsequent cleanings. It is 23 ¾” (62 cm) in height, ex. Jolika Collection of John & Marcia Friede, ex. Marc Assayag and ex. Paul Rossi Collection. The pounder dates to the late 19th century and sells for $2,800.