Funerary Carving (Malagan)
- late 19th–early 20th century
- Papua New Guinea, New Ireland, New Ireland
- Northern New Ireland
- Wood, paint, fiber
- H. 108 in. (274.3 cm)
- Credit Line:
- The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972
- Accession Number:
In northern New Ireland, malagan is the collective name for a series of ceremonies, as well as the masks and carvings associated with them. Still practiced today, these rituals are held primarily in memory of the dead and combined with initiation ceremonies in which young men symbolically replace those who have died.
The carvings, the most technically complex in all of Oceanic art, are commissioned from recognized experts and depict figures from clan mythology. They are displayed in special enclosures, sometimes in considerable numbers, during feasts honoring both the dead and the donors of the carvings. Once they have served their purpose, malagan carvings are usually abandoned or destroyed.