Kanak figure

oceania | New Caledonia

Kanak figure

New Caledonia

Planting figure

Carved wood
19th century
Height: 26 in. (66 cm)

Ex collection Galerie Ferrandin, Paris
Ex private collection, France

Kanak figure 26 in. / Galerie Flak Price on request
This figure is a classical example of ancient Kanak art from New Caledonia.
These figures were partially buried/planted in front of the houses. They were attributes of the status, power and prestige of their owners. These sculptures, known as "planting figures" ("figures à planter" in French) were also associated with rainmaking rituals. These figures could also be planted near the house of a deceased chief, along an alley, or in a place marked as forbidden, thus retaining their role as objects of remembrance.

According to Roger Boulay & Emmanuel Kasarhérou (Kanak, L’art est une parole, 2013, p. 128), "owned and then ceded, these artistic creations bore testament to a political history of the groups and their relations. These sculpted archives, as an expression of the power of their creators, sealed alliances when they were transferred from one group to another."
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