Sculpture - Malagan

Production date
Papua New Guinea
New Ire
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Object detail

Wood sculpture used as a Malagan post. Marumarua type with kapkap on chest.Bird hanging upside down under feet holds penis with beak. Figure of man has inverted hands, holding a flying fish (upside down in front of body, mouth of flying fish rests on penis, which rests between feet. Head is tiered either side of central ridge.

Opercula set into the eye portion of mask, represent eyes.
Production date
Production place
L1140mm x W176mm
Media/Materials description
Wood, opercula from Turbo Petholatus.
History and use
Marumarua type Malagan is a three-dimensional external image of a person (picture of a person, spirit, image, a shadow, a silhouette, or a sketch). It is usually presented for public viewing in its own display house, or forms part of the assemblage of a larger malagan grouping towards a final commemorative display.

Malagan ceremonies are large, intricate traditional cultural events that take place in parts of New Ireland province in Papua New Guinea. The word malagan also refers to wooden carvings which are prepared for the ceremonies, and to an entire system of traditional culture.
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