Ancestral Figue (Ngwalndu)
Arts of the Pacific Islands
On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor
These three Abelam works are all associated with the korumbo, a large ceremonial house for spirits. Every few years, Abelam men carve representations of ancestral figures in conjunction with the initiation ceremonies of young men. The figures represent the benevolent spirits, or ngwalndu, of individual clans and are considered responsible for clan prosperity. The figures are carved in the forest and brought into the korumbo, where they are covered with mud and painted.
156 x 14 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (396.2 x 36.8 x 31.8 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Mrs. Melville W. Hall
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Abelam. Ancestral Figue (Ngwalndu), 20th century. Wood, pigment, 156 x 14 1/2 x 12 1/2 in. (396.2 x 36.8 x 31.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Melville W. Hall, 81.164.1. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 81.164.1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Ceremonial house ("tambaran") figure in form of a wooden anthropomorphic figure painted red, yellow ochre, white and black. The body consists of a thin vertical shaft with scalloped edges. Extending from top of head are two large hornbill heads; there are also hornbill heads at base of figure. On each side of the figure, in high relief are other avian forms, some of which are parrots, and human heads.
Condition: Deep crack on left side of head extending from crown to chin. There are checks on face, forehead. Just below head, in high relief is a central group of avian-like forms that has a crack on left side and there is slight movement at the break. Loop under chin cracked, but firm and no movement. Received with modern metal stand.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.