Painted wood, sea snail opercula
Overall: 92.7 cm (36 1/2 in.)
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Munro 1971.149
At the death of an important individual in New Ireland society, villagers begin preparations for an elaborate funeral (malagan) ceremony. Food is collected for feasts, and artists are commissioned to carve elaborate sculptures and masks. Neighboring groups are invited to the ceremonies, which last for days and include speeches, dancing, music, feasts, and exchanges of goods. The ceremonies climax in the display of the elaborately carved, brightly painted art works. After the guests' departure, the malagan sculptures and masks are discarded, or sometimes stored.
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