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