Quantcast
Videos ()
Nelson A. Rockefeller and His Daughter Mary Morgan on His Collecting

Close

Funerary Figure (Kulap)

Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Papua New Guinea, New Ireland, Namatanai village
Culture:
Southern New Ireland
Medium:
Chalk, paint
Dimensions:
H. 9 x W. 3 1/4 x D. 3 1/2 in. (22.9 x 8.3 x 8.9 cm)
Classification:
Stone-Sculpture
Credit Line:
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Purchase, Nelson A. Rockefeller Gift, 1960
Accession Number:
1978.412.754
  • Description

    Kulap figures represent individuals who had died recently. They were
    distinctive to southern New Ireland, and used throughout the region, they
    were created by specialists living near the limestone quarries in the Rossel
    Mountains. When a family member died, a male relative journeyed to the
    mountains and acquired a male or female kulap, depending on the sex of
    the deceased. After he returned home, the figure was erected, together with
    other kulap, within a shrine inside a ceremonial building surrounded by an
    enclosure. Kulap served as temporary abodes for the spirits of the dead,
    which might otherwise wander, causing harm to the living. Only men could
    view the images, but women often gathered outside the compound to
    mourn their lost relatives. After an appropriate period of time, the figures
    were destroyed.

  • Provenance

    [Watson O'Dell Pierce, Archaeological Artifacts & Antiques, New York, until 1960]; The Museum of Primitive Art, New York, 1960–1978

  • See also
    What
    Where
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
311196

Close