Lot: 35

Fragment of a "malagan" panel

Papua New Guinea - Bismarck Archipelago - New Ireland

Provenance Size Hammer price
Johann F. Gustav Umlauff (1833-1889), Hamburg, Germany
Eduard von der Heydt (1882-1964), Ascona, Switzerland (1926)
Alfred Flechtheim (1887-1937), Berlin, Germany
Alex Vömel (1897-1985), Düsseldorf, Germany
German Private Collection
H: 16.9 inch 2800 EUR

wood, pigments, shell inlay, black clay like mass, base

The term "malagan" refers collectively to a complex series of ceremonies and the visual art forms associated with them.

Most of these impressive sculptures are commissioned for ceremonies commemorating the deceased. The celebrations include, among other things, the construction of a "malagan" house for the presentation of the art objects.

This sculpture shows a figure (man or woman) being swallowed by a fish. An image that symbolizes death in many regions of New Ireland and has
even found its way into everyday language: "big-mouth got him“.

The aim of "malagan" ceremonies is to "finish the dead". This is done by remembering him with all his achievements for one last time - and then forgetting him. "Malagan" figures are traditionally discarded after use.