Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Memorial Figure (Uli)

Powerful and enigmatic, the commemorative figures from New Ireland known as uli have attracted the attention of Westerners from the time they began arriving in Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Uli were viewed at male rites concluding funerary celebrations that took place during the year following the death a leader. This figure is larger and more robust than many, but its form and features are typical of the genre, which is characterized by a large head, stocky body, and short, powerful legs. The oversized hooked nose and wide grimacing mouth with pointed teeth add to the menacing expression.

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