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.
[Julius Carlebach Gallery, New York, until 1951]; Nelson A. Rockefeller, New York, 1951, on loan to The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1956–1972; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1972-1978
Bodrogi, Tibor. Art in North-East New Guinea. Budapest: Publishing House of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1961.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Art of Oceania, Africa, and the Americas from the Museum of Primitive Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1969, no. 58.
Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007, 94, 159-61.