Image: Anthropomorphic figure, New Caledonia E42761

Anthropomorphic figure, New Caledonia E42761

Provenance: New Caledonia, Melanesia, Pacific

The visual arts of New Caledonia are limited to sculpture, which itself is limited in the types of objects produced. The northern part of the island was the only area in which masks and figure sculptures were produced. In the rest of the island, sculpture is concentrated on the decoration of men’s ceremonial houses: doorjambs, lintels and finials. This standing male figure in all likelihood commemorates an ancestral spirit. The stocky build and broad face are classical New Caledonian canons. Spirit figures afforded magical protection to the families that owned them.

This figure was acquired by the Museum as part of an exchange with the Mitchell Library, Sydney in 1936.


Description: Black, carved, male figure; muscular legs, narrow waist; hands resting on hips; top of head and right foot damaged.

Height: 4.5cm; Length: 39cm; Width: 16.5cm

Emma Furno
© Australian Museum

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