The Jean McKay and Stanley Gordon Moriarty Collection: Papua New Guinea, 20th century



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A collection of approximately 225 artefacts from the highlands of Papua New Guinea collected by Stanley Moriarty between 1961 and 1972.

Mr and Mrs Moriarty donated approximately 225 artefacts to the Australian Museum between 1978 and 1990. They also donated artefacts to Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Museum of Victoria.

Stanley Moriarty's life spanned a critical period of New Guinea's contemporary history. He died in 1978, three years after Papua New Guinea gained independence, having fulfilled his desire to share his understanding of the important, yet fragile nature of Highlands culture. Through his systematic collecting of material culture from the region, he ensured the survival of a unique aspect of Melanesian art.

Moriarty first visited New Guinea in 1961. This was the first of regular visits over the next eleven years. He travelled to remote and restricted areas and had access to previously uncollected art forms. Though most of Moriarty's collecting of Highlands art occurred in the field, his attendance at Highlands agricultural festivals (singsongs) provided him with the opportunity to acquire magnificent examples of body decorations and armaments from the performers. (Extracts from Tribal Arts website)


20th century; Indigenous artefacts; Melanesian art

Coverage Spatial

Papua New Guinea

Coverage Temporal




2012-05-30 23:43

2011-04-19 13:07