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Grave Marker

Arts of the Pacific Islands

To indicate that the deceased was male, this grave marker consists of an upright post on top of a boat-shaped base. Grave markers for females have scalloped flat panels placed within the base. It is likely that the boat motif refers to the belief prevalent throughout Southeast Asia and parts of Melanesia that the deceased requires a boat to travel from this world to the next.

MEDIUM Wood, pigment, lime
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 35 1/2 x 48 x 8 1/2 in. (90.2 x 121.9 x 21.6 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 86.230.3a-b
CREDIT LINE Gift of Dr. Martin and Suzanne Schulman
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Grave Marker, 20th century. Wood, pigment, lime, 35 1/2 x 48 x 8 1/2 in. (90.2 x 121.9 x 21.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Dr. Martin and Suzanne Schulman, 86.230.3a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.230.3a-b_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 86.230.3a-b_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION The male grave marker consists of an upright phallic-shaped post perpendicular to a boat-shaped base. The base has areas of decorative carving some of which are filled with lime. From catalogue card: Male gravemarker. Wood, pigment, lime (?). Composed of parts; base and upright. Monaxial base shaped like a ship; long rectangular body decorated along sides with white lime-inlaid interlocking volutes; elaborately curvilinear openwork planar spine bifurcates and extends body. Upright tangs fit into top of base; reduced shapes suggesting body, neck, and head; very little surface articulation. Traces of blue pigment. Condition: Weathered; one end of ship's openwork broken off; long, deep cracks top of base; dried dirt packed into crevices; small crack and chip on other end of openwork; pitting on neck and top of upright's head.
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