Head of a malagan figure

DATE:
early 20th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Wood, paint, and opercula
CLASSIFICATION:
Sculpture
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 38 1/2 x 18 1/4 x 12 1/4 in. (97.79 x 46.35 x 31.11 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Arts of the Pacific Islands - Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund
COPYRIGHT:
This work is in the public domain. Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art.
OBJECT NUMBER:
1975.13

General Description

Heads such as this were the major sculptural components of large seated figures assembled from vines and other plant materials for the malagan. Malagan is the name for the elaborate funerary ceremonies and feasts to honor the dead in New Ireland, and it is also the term used to describe the masks and sculptures made for the ceremonies. Although most malagan objects were ephemeral, discarded at the end of the festivities and allowed to disintegrate, heads of this type and certain kinds of masks were kept for reuse in subsequent ceremonies.

Adapted from

DMA Label text.

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