Monday, May 12, 2008

Papua New Guinea shunting proa

I found this 18" model in an antique/junk shop. It was labeled as having come from Papua New Guinea in the 1960's. I was delighted with the find because it's very unusual to find a model with a two sail shunting rig.
I've been unable to pinpoint what part of the country this style comes from. The shape of the slatted decking is unusual and I can't find anything similar in any of my reference books.
The model is carefully made and the scale seems accurate. There's actually a thin sliver of bamboo sewn with tiny stitches around the perimeter of the palm frond sail. I'd say it was built by someone who had been building the real thing.


  1. It is a nice canoe but it seems that there are difficencies with this canoe and how it was built. It seems also it was an attempt to copy the real model. Any carver who makes miniature models would, like you say have an understanding of building canoes. The outrigger is too far out and for reasons they should not...and also the stern and opposite are uncovered signalling a riggerless canoe or small mono type used in calmer seas. It may have been designed to attempt to copy those canoes used by Mortlock and Tasman atolls in PNG (Polynesian Outliers) and The sails also are inefficient signifying inexperience with sail geometry efficiency but it is a nice piece to look at.

  2. This is a canoe from Milne Bay. The sails look like 'tapa' cloth...something that would be used only for a model.