S&SWM PR papers L1044


[Ansd Sept 10/94]

Ringwood | Hants | Sep./1/1894

To General Pitt-Rivers Larmer


Being informed that you purchase curios of various descriptions I write to say that I have a good collection of New Guinea ones - womens' dresses, pipes, drums, bows & arrows, spears, shields, head dresses, stone clubs, arm-shells and other things too numerous to mention.

Having spent 8 years in New Guinea and the adjacent islands, I had been able, with some amount of trouble and expense, to gather together a very varied collection, including most of the things in general use.

I should be glad to know if you care to purchase any of these, so that I might contrive in some way to let you see them.

I gathered every one of them myself direct from the natives, so that I know the locality of each article, and also its use.

I also took a good number of photographs of natives and native scenes, and have the negatives with me, so could readily print from these. They are only amateur productions, but give, I think, a very good idea of the people.

If you would kindly reply to this, I should feel much obliged

I am
Yours truly
E.B. Savage



The Square | Ringwood | Sep. 11th 1894


Will you kindly inform General Pitt-Rivers that I shall be glad if he could come on Friday next to see the curios, say by the train which arrives at Ringwood about 3.30 p.m.?

Our house is a shoe warehouse opposite Cox & Hicks, drapers.

Will write again tomorrow, but have sent this on so as to secure a day for the inspection.

Am writing in great haste.

Yours truly
E.B. Savage



The Square | Ringwood | Sep. 12th 1894

To General Pitt-Rivers, Rushmore


I wrote a brief note to Mr. Gray yesterday saying that I should be glad if you could make it convenient to see the N.G. curios on Friday next. I trust this date will suit you.

It is rather difficult to quote a price for the collection without knowing if you would care for the whole or only part of it. I should like you to see them first and I do not think it will be difficult to agree about the price. If you purchase the whole I think you will have the best New Guinea collection in England.

Our house is quite near the Church, and directly opposite the White Hart hotel.

I am
Yours faithfully
E.B. Savage



[Ansd Oct. 1/94]

The Square | Ringwood | Sep. 28th 1894


I have been expecting to hear from you respecting the N.G. Curios.

Some of the people here have asked me to exhibit them at a Bazar [sic] to be held next week but I cannot give them an answer till I know what day you might be here to see them.

Will you be good enough to ask General Pitt-Rivers if he can give me a definite time so that I might know what to do?

Some day in the early part of the week would suit me best. The Bazar is on Thursday.

Yours faithfully
E.B. Savage

Harold Gray Esq.



[Ansd by telegram Oct. 8/94]

The Square | Ringwood | Oct. 6th 1894

To General Pitt-Rivers, Rushmore.


I have taken the liberty of sending you a list of objects in my N.G. Collection. This will give you some idea of what it is like and its value. You will see that it covers almost the whole life of the people and is the more interesting on this account.

Of course I have only given a very salient description of them, wishing more especially that you might know what articles are contained in it.

I have never before offered the collection to any one but as I am expecting to leave home again shortly, it seems necessary to get rid of them, for our house has a very limited capacity for keeping such things.

I could not possibly hold them over till the Spring, as Mr Gray suggested. It seems best, therefore, to make a price for the whole as given in list, then if you care to purchase them I shall be glad to write out as full a description as possible, and give you the locality of every article. I have a fairly large map of the district (that is of British N.G.) which it was my intention to show you, or, if you wished it, to place with the collection. On the other hand, if you do not care to purchase them, there will be no serious harm done.

It is not beyond the mark to say that they would be worth what I ask for them even in Australia. But they are worth more in England, as it cost me a considerable sum for carriage from the nearest port in Australia.

The price I ask for them is £60.

Will you kindly let me know your final decision?

I remain
Yours faithfully
E.B. Savage



Savage | Ansd. May 17/95

c/o Mrs Berriman | 24 Church Road | Richmond | Surrey | 6.5.1895

Dear Sir

Before leaving home I printed a new set of N.G. photographs for myself, intending to keep them, as it was uncertain when I might be able to print more. The ones that you saw I gave to my mother. But if General Pitt Rivers wishes to purchase them I will chance being able to print others for some time, which will probably not be for a year at least.

I could not afford to seel them at less than 2/- each, so if General Pitt Rivers cares to purchase them at this price, I will, on receipt of a reply, instruct my mother to pack them and send them on to you. There are about 3 or 5 of them which were given me by a friend; these I should ask my mother to keep.

The whole of them are nicely mounted, and form a most valuable collection.

Kindly let me know what General Pitt Rivers thinks

Yours faithfully
E.B. Savage

Harold Gray Esq.


List of Objects

One native wood Pillow in shape of crocodile

Four carved Bark Belts - two from Maipua & two from Bushmen, Fly River.

One Belt worn by boys & young men before taking to the larger bark ones

One Kilt worn by boys up to about the age of 15 or 16 years

Three carved Drums or tomtoms coming from 3 different tribes. The one from Saibai is the finest I have seen in New Guinea.

Two carved objects called by natives Gopi - used suspended by long strings in front of verandah.

One skull of small crocodile from Katau River N.G.

One Grease Pot made of coconut shell - from Kerepunu N.G.

One Food Dish, two spoons made from coconut, two shell do. [spoons] & 1 Laddle [sic]

One Dugong Charm composed of mother & little one on her back, and two stones one on either side. Used by dugong man of the tribe who has the supposed power of attracting the Dugong.

One model of Dugong painted various colours by native boy

One Stone Hatchet, two stone adzes with very long extra stone to one of them

One ornamented native human Skull, purchased by me at Wabuda by [insert] from [end insert] the man who slew the victim. There is something protruding from the eye-sockets & the nose covered with seeds, fixed on with wild honey.

One Human Skull (non ornamented) which I found in a cave

One instrument used in war times, composed of large beans, held in the hand and shaken, producing a rattling noise

Two stone spinning tops

One mourning decoration worn cross-wise over the shoulders

One mourning ornament with hair of deceased inside - worn round the neck

Two other decorations worn in mourning

Two Bamboo knives used in decapitating an enemy, notched to keep the tally of heads cut off by it - one has 5 notches and is stained with blood - the other has 9 notches

Two slings always carried with the above Knives for the purpose of taking home the skulls when severed from the body.

One native Drill for boring holes in shell ornaments etc. Very ingenious.

One Brush for sweeping floor

One Tongs for seizing anything hot

One Wooden Bobbin used in making fishing nets

One Fan

One small Rush Basket

Two Bird-of-Paradise Plumes worn as head-dresses.

Two Carved Figures called Umuruburu, one representing a mgu, the other a woman. Worn round the neck in the native dance.

One carved figure of a woman, called Mimia, used in the initiation of lads - Very difficult to obtain. I secured this one from a chief named Kuruka who is now dead.

One Ear Pendant worn by widow in mourning. Fits round the forehead and the pendants hang at either ear. Made of reeds cut in two - Job's tears.

Two Dugong's Tusks

Two small decorations for the arm made of scented grass

Two carved charms supposed to keep away sickness

One very fine shell nose ornament, & two small ones of bamboo

Two shell armlets worn round the upper arm (biceps) for decoration Also used as money in trading. Considered very valuable by natives

One shell wristlet very difficult to obtain as natives do not like to part with it

Four armlets of boars' tusks, each being made of two tied together

One armlet being an unusual growth of one tusk so as to form a circular armlet

One necklace of crocodile's teeth.

One fine necklace of Dog's teeth

Two fine shell necklaces with pendants

One long necklace of small shells worn round the neck several times

One long necklace of seeds - Job's Tears very pretty

One long necklace of a mixture of shell & some black substance

One neck ornament composed of a black fungus & white shell

One forehead ornament of Dogs' teeth

One forehead ornament of shells - very valuable

Two circular forehead ornaments of white shell as a background and overlaid with carved tortoise-shell worn in centre of forehead

Two circular forehead ornaments other kinds

The ornament worn at back of head composed of dog's teeth and human hair. Difficult to be got.

One carved comb for combing out the hair.

Nine carved combs of different shapes used to decorate the head mostly mounted with a tuft of feathers

Two long feathery arrangements & 1 shorter one worn at the back of the hair

One Bone Fork said to be used for eating human flesh.

One Belt of shells worn in the dance and making jingling noise

One wooden Image (not an idol) used in much the same way as Mimia above mentioned

One Stone Image - same use

Two large water Bottles made from coconut

Two small water Bottles made from coconut

One head ornament of Parrots' feathers

Two netted bags showing two different kinds of native work

One specimen of native cloth together with mallet used in beating it out

One peculiar netted dress worn only by widows in their early mourning

One anklet and similar thing worn just below the knee

Two Head-dresses of cassowary feathers with Bird-of-Paradise plume in the centre

Two head-dresses made entirely of Bird-of-Paradise feathers

Two head-dresses of different shapes

One white head-dress of cockatoo feathers

Two large Head-dresses called Bome, used only in war

One large head-dress used only in the dance

One War Ornament of tortoise-shell, edged with half-circles of white shell, and a centre of seeds. This is held between the teeth to denote ferocity

Two others of a similar use but made of boars tusks, one ornamented with feathers & human hair

Two Belts covered with seeds (Job's Tears) and worn cross-wise over the shoulders. From a tribe, called Tugeri in Dutch

Two daggers made from the leg-bone of the Cassowary.

One instrument for opening coconuts made of same

Musical instruments - 1 panpipe, 1 sort of flute, 2 jews harps, 1 bamboo arrangement unnameable

A goodly number of ear-rings

Two lime gourds (1 large 1 small) used for carrying the lime used in chewing the araca nut.

Two beautifully carved spoons for conveying the lime to the mouth - one is the figure of a man holding a drum and is, I think, a fine piece of workmanship for a New Guinean. Both of Ebony

One Charm (a large bivalve shell tightly closed) used by sorcerors to kill an enemy at a distance of course without touching him. Some incantation is used, with it. It is called "Maid-lu" and the "maid" man who uses it is a much dreaded individual.

Two arm protectors when using bow & arrow, with plumes attached

One shihi or girdle worn round the waist and between legs as a suspender for penis & testicles, with long streamers behind. Made of bark beaten out thin.

Two Belts of the Fly River district

Eight armlets of various kinds from Fly River

Three spears used by Motu tribe. These are thrown by the hand. This tribe has no bows & arrows

Four canoe paddles - 2 from Fly River, 1 from East end, 1 from Tugeri tribe from Dutch N.G.

Two native spades, also used by women in village quarrels

One Fish spear

One fish basket, for catching fish, with opening at the top. It is put quickly down upon the ground in somewhat shallow water, thus enclosing fish, which are taken from opening at the top.

One native carved sword from East end. Made of ebony

Two Bows of different tribes, with 28 arrows of various sorts, some bone-tipped and poisoned, nearly all more or less barbed, and many of them carved. There are two methods of poisoning them one by vegetable poison, the other by the juices from a dead body. The latter far more effective.

One tall mask with grass appendage, worn by Kaivakuku or policeman. He is entirely hid beneath it, and is much dreaded by would-be thieves and other offenders against the unwritten laws.

One beautiful tortoise-shell mask with representation of flying bird on the top, Worn in the dance principally by chief

Two figured wooden shields worn to protect vital part from arrow thrusts. They are so adjusted over the shoulder as to leave both arms free for the use of the bow & arrows.

Two large figured decorations used in Dubu or man's house. Both have large representations of faces.

One smaller figured decoration central figure is also a face

One man-catcher or lasso of cane, with spear run down the centre so that when it is thrown over the head and thrust forward it penetrates the back of the neck.

The pig-catcher or lasso of cane, but not with spear as in that for man

Two stone clubs - one from Motu tribe and one from Maipua. The Motu one has a tuft of feathers at the top and some human hair bound round the handle

Five long feathery ornaments worn in the armlets and reaching up to and above the shoulders

Three long wooden figures flattened at one end for the purpose of opening coconuts

Five womens' & girls grass petticoats, the only covering worn by the women. They are nicely made & dyed different colours

One girdle worn by men of Fly River

One girdle with arrangement at back, worn by bushmen or inland tribes round about the Fly River

Four Bamboo pipes from which tobacco smoke is inhaled. They show the different carving of different tribes

One instrument that makes a whirring sound when used

One fine specimen of native cuscus. It is not properly stuffed, but only sufficiently so to bring home



EB Savage 24.5.1895 Asks PR to send selected photos to him to say what they show, unselected ones can be sent to his mother. Photographs include some from Murray Island



Savage | Ansd by Gray May 27/95

24 Church Road | Richmond | Surrey | 6.5.1895

To General Pitt Rivers | Rushmore

Dear Sir,

If you will send the selected photos to me at the above address, I will write particulars about them, and return to you. Kindly send the unselected ones to my mother.

I am glad you found my salient description of curios of some value.

There were a few photos of Australian aborigines which I took on Murray Island, but I cannot tell if these are among the ones you have selected till they come. I know them all so well that there can be no mistake about locality.

With many thanks
Yours truly
E.B. Savage

Transcribed by AP May/ June 2011

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