Grade Society Figure

Grade Society Figure

c. 1930

Fernwood

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

Gift of Herbert Baker 1971.272

Location

Description

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
Collection: 
Oceanic Art
Department: 
Oceania
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Fernwood
Credit line: 
Gift of Herbert Baker

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