Pair of Southern Abelam Sago Pegs-New Guinea Art-Oceanic Art
Sago pegs were used almost like a clothespin to hold a section of coconut fiber at the end of a trough to act as a sieve to drain away the starch from the pounded interior of a sago palm tree. These two were collected separately but are definitely carved by the same hand. Southern Abelam sago pegs are not rare; yet this set is as fine as they get. They are both very old with powerful ancestral faces. It is easy to dismiss such utilitarian objects as insignificant, but some such examples exhibit the finest artistry a culture produces. Please take note of the beautifully refined carving on the faces and their powerfully stoic expression. The two are illustrated in my 2015 “Art of the Abelam” catalog, no. 151. There was a short period of time when I had bases made with stainless steel plaques affixed underneath with engraved details of the object—this is the case with these sago pegs. I know, pretty fancy right? As you can read from the steel plate the right one came from Ugutagwa village where it was called “Akitapale.” Both are 14” (36 cm) in height and both date to the early 20th century. They sell as a pair for $2800.