Grade Society Figure

Grade Society Figure

c. 1930


Overall: 210.9 cm (83 1/16 in.)

Gift of Herbert Baker 1971.272



In the islands of Vanuatu, communities carved large statutes to honor ancestors. The figures were often erected near men's-society houses, in conjunction with celebrations marking an individual's attainment of a new rank or grade. Carved from the trunks of fernwood trees, the ancestor statues were originally covered with mud plaster and painted with many colors. The large heads typical of these sculptures symbolize the ancestors' spiritual power, or "mana".

See also
Oceanic Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
Gift of Herbert Baker

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