Gallery 355 - Island Southeast Asia
Part of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
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The islands of the Pacific Ocean encompass nearly 1,800 distinct cultures and hundreds of artistic traditions in an area that covers over one-third of the Earth's surface. The galleries for Oceanic art are divided into sections: Polynesia and Micronesia (Gallery 353); Melanesia (subdivided into two areas: New Guinea and Island Melanesia) and Australia (Gallery 354); and Island Southeast Asia (this gallery).
This gallery is dedicated to the arts of the indigenous peoples of Island Southeast Asia, which stretches in a broad crescent from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, eastward across Indonesia and the Philippines, and northward to Taiwan. While the majority of the population of Island Southeast Asia today is Islamic or Christian, the arts and cultures of the region's indigenous peoples, whose works are presented here, are more closely related to those of neighboring regions of Oceania. Highlights include a variety of ancestor images, jewelry in gold and other precious materials, and changing displays of the region's rich and varied textile traditions.