Oceanic Art: Myth, Man, and Image in the South Seas


Carl A. Schmitz.


Carl A. Schmitz, Oceanic Art: Myth, Man, and Image in the South Seas, New York, Abrams, n.d. (1969), 406 pages, 337 illustrations including 50 hand-tipped colour Plates, unblemished tissue guards, foldout colour-toned maps, illustrated front board cover and spine, colour illustrated dust jacket, thick large quarto, 28.0 x 30.2 x 5.8 cm (weight 3.18 kg). Preface; Introduction; Cultural, Art and Style Traditions; Iconographic Motifs; New Guinea, Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia; List of Plates; Bibliography; and Photographic Sources.

Condition: Fine, hardcover book and dust jacket as new.

Professor Carl August Schmitz (1920-1966) was born in Cologne, where he completed his PhD on Melanesian cult sites in 1955. He conducted field work in north-eastern New Guinea in 1955-56 and completed a habilitation thesis from his original research in 1958. Two years later he was appointed Curator at the Anthropological Museum (later the Museum of Cultures) in Basel, Switzerland, becoming its Chairman in 1964. The following year, Schmitz was appointed Chairman of the Frobenius-Institute in Frankfurt, where he also was appointed Chair of the Department of Anthropology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Frankfurt University and Chairman of Frankfurt’s Ethnological Museum (now the Museum for the Cultures of the World). Having achieved eminence as a noted German anthropologist writing especially on kinship and religion, Schmitz died unexpectedly at the age of 46. Oceanic Art is the last book by a great scholar in this field. With its splendid production, superb selections of artworks and its extensive and authoritative texts, this book is a monument to the author’s work across the Pacific regions, uniting his interests in art, culture, history and religion.