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Collection

An image of Grade society figure (Male half figure) by
Alternate image of Grade society figure (Male half figure) by

Ambrym (Ambrim) Island, Vanuatu

Title
Grade society figure (Male half figure)
Other titles:
Carved figure (Grade-symbol of a male half figure)
Place of origin
Ambrym (Ambrim) IslandVanuatu
Cultural origin
Ambrym people
Media category
Sculpture
Materials used
carved Cycas (tree fern)
Dimensions

80.0 cm height

Credit
Purchased 1964
Accession number
IA4.1964
Location
Not on display
Further information

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

Bibliography (2)

Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1964 Acquisitions, Sydney, 1964, 63. cat.no. 115

Tony Tuckson, Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Sydney, 1973, 41. cat.no. 2

Exhibition history (2)

Melanesian Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 20 Apr 1966–22 May 1966

Aboriginal and Melanesian art, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 19 Oct 1974 -