From where do we source our items? We do not go on buying trips to Asia. Nor do we actively buy from dealers or suppliers based in Asia. We do not source items from the Pacific itself for example. Almost all the items stocked by Michael Backman Ltd have been sourced from the UK - from old collections. Countless items were brought to the UK during the colonial era by colonial administrators and the like. Other items were made in Asia for export to the UK – the UK was wealthy early: it has been a major destination for the world’s exports for hundreds of years. This means that most of our items have been in the UK for at least sixty to two hundred years.
The conditions in which they have been kept often has been very good – the climate is kind, and there are relatively few pests. Many items were acquired as keepsakes and curios, meaning that they stopped being used once they came to the UK. This too has helped to preserve them and their conditions often are far better than had they remained in their home countries. Buying from old UK sources means that the items have good provenance; it helps to avoid fakes, and items that have been amended or embellished. It also means that our items are obtained legally – today, most countries in Asia prohibit the export of their antiques. So, because of its colonial past, the UK is perhaps the world’s biggest source of genuine antiques from Asia, perhaps more so than Asia itself, and that is the source into which we tap.
All the items on this page are available for sale. We are based in central London, but sell to clients around the world. Want to enquire about an item on this page? _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Carved Seated Protective Figure with Lime Inlay Massim People, Kiriwina Island, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea late 19th – early 20th century Inventory no.: 2159 More images & information
Earthenware Roof Ridge Tile with Pigments Chambri Lakes, Sepik River, Papua New Guinea early 20th century Provenance: collected in th early 20th century Inventory no.: 2185 More images & information
Yipwon Spirit Figure Yimam People, Korewari River Area, Papua New Guinea early 20th century or earlier Provenance: collected in the early 20th century Inventory no.: 2183 More images & information
Kominimung Shield Pora Pora or Bien River, Sepik Region, Papua New Guinea early 20th century Provenance: collected in the early 20th century Inventory no.: 2184 More images & information
Samban Hook Figure Iatmul People, Middle Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea early 20th century Provenance: collected in the early 20th century Inventory no.: 2187 More images & information
Lime Container in the form of a Rooster on a Crocodile Iatmul People, Middle Sepik River Region, Papua New Guinea early 20th century Provenance: collected in the early 20th century Inventory no.: 2182 More images & information
Life-sized Ancestor Figure Sepik Region, New Guinea late 19th century Provenance: collected in the early 20th century Inventory no.: 2181 More images & information