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Melanesia

The region named Melanesia (from the Greek: “black islands”) extends east across the Pacific from its western rim to Fiji, and includes the island of New Guinea and smaller land masses such as Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, and New Caledonia. Diversity rules: even within one island, art objects and the traditions associated with their creation can vary tremendously, as do the spiritual and cultural practices and spoken languages.

New Georgia group, Solomon Islands
Canoe Prow Ornament (Toto Isu)
19th century
Wood, shell, pigment
H. 5 ¼ in. (13.3 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 96.8

Neo village, Temotu, Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands
Male Figure (Munga Dukna)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, fiber, shell, turtle shell, turmeric
H. 13 ¾ in. (33.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.14

Northern Madak peoples, Malom village, New Ireland
Memorial Figure (Uli)
Before 1908
Wood, lime, pigment, shell, sea snail operculum, fiber
H. 55 in. (139.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 91.498

Lower Sepik River area, Papua New Guinea
Commemorative Figure
Before 1908
Wood, pigment, fiber
H. 80 in. (203.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.11

Kambot or nearby peoples, Papua New Guinea
Mask
Early 20th century (?)
Wood, rattan, clay, cowrie shells, nassa shells, boar tusks, human hair, pearl shell, fiber
H. 21 ½ in. (54.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.6

Biwat peoples, Papua New Guinea
Figure for a Sacred Flute (Wusear)
1900–1920
Wood, shell, boar tusk, human hair, cassowary feathers, fiber, pigment
H. 20 ½ in. (52.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 75.53

Iatmul peoples, Papua New Guinea
Mask (Mai)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment, cowrie shells
H. 25 in. (63.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.3

Asmat peoples, Papua, Indonesia
Seated Female Figure
Before 1913
Wood, pigment, seeds, fiber
H. 22 ½ in. (57.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.10

Kanak peoples, New Caledonia
Mask (Apouema)
19th or early 20th century
Wood, feathers, hair, bark, fiber, pigment
H. 61 ½ in. (156.2 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 74.77.2

New Georgia group, Solomon Islands
Canoe Prow Ornament (Toto Isu)
Late 19th century
Wood, nautilus shell, pigment
H. 11 ¼ in. (28.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 75.51

Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands
Feather Currency (Tevau)
Feathers, fiber, bark, shell, beads
Diam. 19 5/8 in. (49.8 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 80.42

Matankor peoples, Manus Island, Admiralty Islands
War Charm
19th century
Wood, frigate bird feathers, glass beads, cuscus teeth, cloth, fiber
H. 20 ½ in. (52.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 76.40

Astrolabe Bay, Papua New Guinea
Mask
Before 1925
Wood, pigment, incrustation
H. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.4

Abelam peoples, Papua New Guinea
Female Initiation Figure
20th century
Wood, pigment
H. 53 ½ in. (135.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 63.68

Kopar peoples, Papua New Guinea
Commemorative Figure (Atei)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment, incrustation
H. 77 ½ in. (196.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.12

Telefol peoples, Papua New Guinea
Shield
19th or 20th century
Wood, pigment, fiber
H. 67 ½ in. (171.5 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 78.6

Kerewa peoples, Papua New Guinea
Skull Rack (Agiba)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment
H. 33 ¾ in. (85.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, 80.72.1

Kiwai peoples, Papua New Guinea
Male Figure (Mimia)
Late 19th or early 20th century
Wood, pigment, human hair
H. 36 in. (91.4 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 2010.5