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Funerary sculpture
Date: Early to mid-20th century
Maker: Sakalava peoples or Bara peoples
Medium: Wood, pigment, metal
Subjects: Commemorative, Funerary, male, Status
Dimensions: H x W x D: 180 x 24.5 x 27.5 cm (70 7/8 x 9 5/8 x 10 13/16 in.) Weight: 34 kg (75 lb.)
Credit Line: Gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company
Geography: Madagascar

Among the most spectacular of Malagasy art traditions are the large sculpted posts erected on massive rock tombs made of rough-cut stones without mortar. This large and imposing grave post is an individualized portrait that captures the strength, determination and movement of a powerful male figure.

Rendered as a warrior with strong hands each clenching a spear, and a piercing gaze, the figure radiates authority. His striding stance and the modeling of his muscles, however, give the figure a dynamism and naturalism that is unique among Madagascar's funerary sculptures. Status is indicated by his tufted coiffure and by his loincloth, a traditional form of male attire in Madagascar. The loincloth is wrapped in such a way as to display the decorated ends, suggested here in the traces of red pigment.

Funerary practices and the arts associated with them remain vital to the cultural and artistic heritage of the peoples of Madagascar.

On Exhibit: Yes
Object Number: 2005-6-4