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Grade monument

early 20th century-mid 20th century


  • Details

    Other Titles
    Carved figure (Grade-symbol of a male half figure)
    Grade society figure (Male half figure)
    Place where the work was made
    Ambrym Island Malampa Province Vanuatu
    Cultural origin
    Ni-Vanuatu people
    early 20th century-mid 20th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    carved tree fern (Cycas)
    79.0 x 25.0 x 31.5 cm
    Purchased 1964
    Not on display
    Accession number
    © Ni-Vanuatu people, under the endorsement of the Pacific Islands Museums Association's (PIMA) Code of Ethics

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Ni-Vanuatu people

    Works in the collection


  • About

    In Vanuatu, a grade-taking system enables individuals – usually men – to rise in status and power within their community. Following nomination to enter a new grade, ritual events must be paid for and sufficient 'tusker' pigs made available for public sacrifice. Ceremonies require the wearing of grade-specific ritual paraphernalia and are accompanied by dances, initiations and feasts. Additionally, the initiand must commission a sculpture specific to their grade level. These sculptures are displayed on public platforms during ceremonies to honour the ancestors, and later left to perish and return to the bush.

    Carved from tree fern, the name and grade for which this figure was made has been lost and any remnants of over-modelling or painted designs covering the surface are no longer extant.

    [entry from Exhibition Guide for 'Melanesian art: redux', 2018, cat no 4]

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

Other works by Ni-Vanuatu people

See all 9 works