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Pacific art

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Title

Grade monument

early 20th century-mid 20th century


Artist

Ni-Vanuatu people

Republic of Vanuatu


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]


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 Republic of Vanuatu


Cultural origin

Ni-Vanuatu people


Date

early 20th century-mid 20th century


Media category

Sculpture


Materials used

carved tree fern (Cycas)


Dimensions

79.0 x 25.0 x 31.5 cm


Credit

Purchased 1964


Location

Not on display


Accession number

IA4.1964


Artist information

Ni-Vanuatu people

Works in the collection

9


Shown in 3 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


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