Home > Pacific Object Guides > New Ireland Malagans

del.icio.us New Ireland Malagans

(1978.412.706, .712, .718, .724, .1494a-f; 1979.206.1474; 2007.215.2)





The term malagan refers collectively to a complex series of ceremonies and the dances, chants, and visual art forms associated with them. Various rites and art forms associated with malagan mark many stages of an individual's life, from birth to initiation to death …

Some forms of malagan are made in connection with the initial funerary ceremonies that take place shortly after the death of a member of the community … However the most numerous and spectacular forms of malagan are those created for display as part of the final memorial ceremony commemorating the deceased, which often takes place months or years after death. — Kjellgren, 2007

  • Click flickr_logo.gif for some installation photographs of the malagan sculptures

Metropolitan Museum of Art Web Resources

eMuseum (What's this?)

  • Cut and paste Acquisition number into the search box

Collection Database

  • Search "malagan" for a selection of photographs of malagan objects in other collections

"Funerary carving (Malagan) [Northern New Ireland] (1979.206.1474)". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/nwir/ho_1979.206.1474.htm (April 2008)

"Funerary carving (Malagan) [Northern New Ireland] (1978.412.712)". In Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/nwir/ho_1978.412.712.htm (April 2008)

Selected Web Resources Elsewhere

Map: New Ireland (via Encarta)

From New Ireland: Art of the South Pacific. St. Louis: Saint Louis Art Museum, 2007-. (May 2008)

"Burial: Malagan ceremony." In Death: The Last Taboo. Sydney: Australian Museum, 2008-. (May 2008) http://www.deathonline.net/disposal/burial/malagan.cfm

"La-sisi Malangan canoe." [pdf] Adelaide: South Australia Museum, 200?-. http://www.samuseum.sa.gov.au/orig/pdf/lasisicanoe.pdf

Published Resources

Links with shelf numbers refer to WATSONLINE, the online library catalog of the Museum. Photocopies of each source reference are available in the Goldwater Library. Certain electronic resources are accessible within the museum or with an approved remote connection.

  • Billings, Dorothy K. "New Ireland Malanggan Art: A Quest for Meaning." Oceania, Vol. 77, no. 3 (Nov. 2007), Pp. 257-285. (A O151)
  • Gunn, Michael. Ritual Arts of Oceania: New Ireland in the Collection of the Barbier-Mueller Museum. Milan, 1997. (P6B N6G97)
    • Especially pp. 41-63, Malagan Ritual Art Traditions of Northern New Ireland.
  • Gunn, Michael. "Tabar Malagan: An Outline of the Emic Taxonomy." In Development of Arts in the Pacific. Edited by Philip J.C. Dark. (Pacific Arts Association Occasional Paper, 1) Wellington, 1984, Pp. 81-91. (A P11 no.1)
  • Gunn, Michael, and Philippe Peltier. New Ireland: Art of the South Pacific. Milan, 2006. (P6B N6N53)
  • Kjellgren, Eric. Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007. (P3 K63)
    • Pp. 159-161, cat. nos. 94-95
  • Kjellgren, Eric. "Funerary Carving (Malagan)." [2007.215.2] Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2007-2008. (The Metropolitan Museum of Art bulletin, Vol. 66, No. 2 (Fall 2008)) New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008. (Widely available in the Museum)
    • P. 44
  • Kuchler, Susanne. Malanggan Art, Memory and Sacrifice. New York, 2002. (P6B N6K95)
    • See also her earlier: "Malangan: Art and Memory in a Melanesian Society." Man, new ser. vol. 22, no. 2 (1987), Pp. 238-51. (A M226 v. 22 or Online)
    • See also her earlier: "Malangan: Objects, Sacrifice, and the Production of Memory." American Ethnologist, Vol. 15, no. 4 (Nov. 1987), Pp. 625-637. (A A5152 v. 15 or Online)
  • Lewis, Phillip. "Changing Memorial Ceremonial in Northern New Ireland." Journal of the Polynesian Society, Vol. 82, no. 2 (June 1973), Pp. 141-153. (A P783 v.82)
  • Lincoln, Louise. Assemblage of Spirits: Idea and Image in New Ireland. New York, 1988. (P2 M665)
    • Louise Lincoln: Introduction, Pp. 13-16; Tibor Bodrogi: New Ireland Art in Cultural Context, Pp. 17-31; Dieter Heintze: On Trying to Understand Some Malagans, Pp. 42-53.
  • Rosman, Abraham, and Paula G. Rubel. "Why They Collected: The History of Artifact Collecting in New Ireland." Museum Anthropology, vol. 22, no. 2 (fall 1998), Pp. 35-49. (A C854 vol. 22 or Online)
  • Wilkinson, G. N. "Carving a Social Message: The Malagans of Tabar." In Art in Society. Edited by Michael Greenhalgh and Vincent Megaw. New York, 1978, Pp. 227-241. (J6 A78)


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License