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New Ireland, Malagan scultpture and ceremony - construction

 
The construction of malagan sculptures in northern New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea.

Malagan sculptures are carved by the people of northern New Ireland for a range of ceremonies. Each ceremony may display a range of different carvings, all of which are made and commissioned for the ceremony and often discarded after it.

Malagans are carved from the trunk of Alstonia scholaris trees. Prior to carving, the cut wood is kept in the men's enclosure where it is marked and left for several days, to allow the sap to run out and the wood to dry. Depending on the type of malagan the carver may be required to fast and pray before starting work.

Malagan carvers are generally male. While anyone gifted in carving may specialise in malagan, a carver will often learn their skill by working as an apprentice alongside their father. An apprentice will not only learn the use of tools but also particular incantations that are uttered during carving to produce a 'stronger' malagan. A particularly good carver will be praised for his inspiration and his arrangement of each carving. Value is given not only to the carved motifs but also to the spaces cut out of the wood and the use of strong colours which separate the two.

Carvers adopt different strategies to create the spaces in the sculpture. They may burn the wood and scrape out the excess or hollow and smooth out an area. The relevant bird, animal and humanoid motifs are then carved into the wood. These forms, such as the snake-like vievem or struts, contribute to the structural integrity of the sculpture and its meaning. Additional elements may be added such as ear planks, cloth, bark cloth, and fibre.

The application of colour is the final process. The malagan is covered in powdered lime and left to dry for two days when the excess is brushed away, this leaves a base colour of white. People from different areas of New Ireland use a variety of raw materials to make the central colours of red, and black. On Tabar the red comes from a specific creek bed and the black from charcoal or torch batteries. These are the traditional colours of a malagan which contribute to the dramatic effect created by the carver.

The order in which the motifs of figures, birds, fish and animals are placed on the sculpture gives meaning to each malagan. Each sculpture has three names. One for the design template and its place of origin, one related to the stage of the malagans history and the third denotes the motifs used. The combination of motifs can depict the life force or energy of the deceased person for whom the carving has been made. Each kinship group may share the way they represent malagan, and in this way the malagans tie people together and are also related to the ownership rights of the group.
The construction of malagan sculptures in northern New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea.

Malagan sculptures are carved by the people of northern New Ireland for a range of ceremonies. Each ceremony may display a range of different carvings, all of which are made and commissioned for the ceremony and often discarded after it.

Malagans are carved from the trunk of Alstonia scholaris trees. Prior to carving, the cut wood is kept in the men's enclosure where it is marked and left for several days, to allow the sap to run out and the wood to dry. Depending on the type of malagan the carver may be required to fast and pray before starting work.

Malagan carvers are generally male. While anyone gifted in carving may specialise in malagan, a carver will often learn their skill by working as an apprentice alongside their father. An apprentice will not only learn the use of tools but also particular incantations that are uttered during carving to produce a 'stronger' malagan. A particularly good carver will be praised for his inspiration and his arrangement of each carving. Value is given not only to the carved motifs but also to the spaces cut out of the wood and the use of strong colours which separate the two.

Carvers adopt different strategies to create the spaces in the sculpture. They may burn the wood and scrape out the excess or hollow and smooth out an area. The relevant bird, animal and humanoid motifs are then carved into the wood. These forms, such as the snake-like vievem or struts, contribute to the structural integrity of the sculpture and its meaning. Additional elements may be added such as ear planks, cloth, bark cloth, and fibre.

The application of colour is the final process. The malagan is covered in powdered lime and left to dry for two days when the excess is brushed away, this leaves a base colour of white. People from different areas of New Ireland use a variety of raw materials to make the central colours of red, and black. On Tabar the red comes from a specific creek bed and the black from charcoal or torch batteries. These are the traditional colours of a malagan which contribute to the dramatic effect created by the carver.

The order in which the motifs of figures, birds, fish and animals are placed on the sculpture gives meaning to each malagan. Each sculpture has three names. One for the design template and its place of origin, one related to the stage of the malagans history and the third denotes the motifs used. The combination of motifs can depict the life force or energy of the deceased person for whom the carving has been made. Each kinship group may share the way they represent malagan, and in this way the malagans tie people together and are also related to the ownership rights of the group.

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(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014220 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014221 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014222 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014318 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014320 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014321 - 0/3/1883, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A014322 - 0/3/1883, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A016446 - 0/3/1883, malagan, Tatau Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A018921 - 0/9/1883, malagan, Tatau Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A018922 - 0/9/1883, malagan, Tatau Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

A018923 - 0/9/1883, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000515 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Simberi Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000517-001 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Simberi Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000518 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Simberi Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000521 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Simberi Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000522 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000523 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000524 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000525 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000527 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000528 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000533 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000534 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000537 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000539 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000540 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000543 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000546 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000547 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000548 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000552 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000553 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000554 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000555 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000556 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000557 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000558 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000560 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000562 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000563 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000564 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000565 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000566-001 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000567 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000568 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000569 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000570 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000572 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000582 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000583 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000590 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000593 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000597-001 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000598 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000599 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000600 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000601 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000603 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000606 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000608 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000609 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000738 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000766 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000767 - 0/5/1887, malagan, Tabar Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E000772 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001174 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001180 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001183 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001186 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001187 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001188 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001189 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001190 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001191 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001192 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001193 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001194 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001195 - 0/5/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001196 - 0/6/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001197 - 0/6/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E001198 - 0/6/1887, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003320 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003323 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003324 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003326 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003329 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003330 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003331 - 27/1/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003479 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003480 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003481 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003482 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003483-001 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003484 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003486 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E003487-001 - 8/2/1892, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E005926 - 28/11/1896, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E019447 - 4/12/1911, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E024290 - 2/4/1917, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E024292 - 2/4/1917, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E028776 - 29/7/1924, malagan, Tigak Region, , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E031568 - 16/4/1928, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E049720 - 4/9/1941, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E049722 - 4/9/1941, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E049724 - 4/9/1941, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E055056 - 9/3/1953, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E062894 - 9/2/1968, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E062895 - 9/2/1968, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E063150-001 - 28/2/1968, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

E063542 - 12/10/1968, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

PUN0792 - 0/0/1986, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

PUN0800 - 0/0/1986, malagan, , , New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

PUN0814 - 0/0/1986, malagan, , Northern region, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific

(c) assumed Australian Museum.

PUN0905 - 0/0/1986, malagan, Simberi Island, Tabar Group, New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea, Pacific