Malanggan

DEFINITION

Intricately carved Melanesian ceremonial sculptures ? some call them masks ? were made for elaborate rituals, some to memorialize the dead, some for a boy's initiation / circumcision rituals, and some, on a smaller scale, for other events. Different clans have owned different designs, and any artist commissioned to make a malanggan could work only designs owned by the patron's clan. Chicago's Field Museum says "Malanggan carvings took months to make, but after guests had viewed them, the carvings were burned or left to rot, breaking the connection with dangerous supernatural forces called into them when they were made."Also see primitive.

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