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Funerary Carving (Malagan)

Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Papua New Guinea, New Ireland, New Ireland
Culture:
Northern New Ireland
Medium:
Wood, paint, fiber
Dimensions:
H. 108 in. (274.3 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1972
Accession Number:
1978.412.712
  • Description

    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.

  • Provenance

    [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

  • See also
311158

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