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Male Figure (Munga Dukna)

Kept on an altar in a man’s own home or in the men’s house (a building that served as the social and spiritual center of a community), a munga dukna, “image of a deity, ” was treated with all of the respect and honor accorded a distinguished guest in a household. The power to bring its owner good fortune or disaster, health or illness, wealth or poverty, was believed to be within the capacity of the deity honored by this figure. Only about fifty-five figural sculptures from Santa Cruz Islands, the southeastern island group in the Solomon Islands, are known, and the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s figure is the only freestanding munga dukna in a public collection in the continental United States.

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