The tree fern (Cycas) is one of the most sacred plants in Vanuatu. Its importance is such that it figures in the country's coat of arms. The starchy pith of the plant provides a flour similar to that of the sago palm.
Other parts of the tree are used in medicinal preparations intended to treat poisonous bites. Images carved out of the trunk are important symbols at funeral ceremonies, and other totems are used to delimit sacred areas.
© Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005
Carved figure (Grade-symbol of a male half figure)
carved Cycas (tree fern)
80.0 cm height
Not on display