Ancestral spirits in New Ireland required that the dead be honoured through the construction of memorial malagan (also spelled malangan and malanggan). This figure is typical of those used in mortuary ceremonies and made by specialist carvers under the supervision of clan leaders. The central image is of a hornbill with soaring ear planks flanked by roosters. Similar malagan were made as masks for special ceremonies. Each part of the cycle was accompanied by a public display followed by dancing and feasting. Malagan of this type were developed in the 1880s and used perhaps as late as 1931.

Physical Description

A carving made from three pieces of wood, each carved with elaborate figures and patterning. The central component has a human face at the base and a framework that encloses a hornbill and fish; and the lateral components have human figures surmounted by roosters. It is painted with natural pigments of red, black and white.

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