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Anglautaki c.1970 Place made: Kamanliver Village, Malakula Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu Melanesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood, clay, ochre, fibre

Dimensions: 93.5 h x 36.5 w x 24.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased by J-M Charpentier on behalf of the CAAB
Accession No: NGA 71.207.119

Anglautaki are not created for a grade system event, but for the Nemasien death rituals, for which a small building is constructed over a Navet funerary bier at the side of the community’s dance ground. Suspended from the shelter’s roof are sculptures of flying foxes to coax the spirit of the departed to travel with them westwards towards an uninhabited coast and under the sea where the ancestral spirits live. The anglautaki hangs at the front of the shelter, looking outwards.
The dominant face represents the recently deceased and the small faces are those of their ancestors— but Charpentier also received a second interpretation [1], that the small faces represented certain grades of Nimangi, with the large face being that of death.

At the time of Charpentier’s field-collecting activities, eight Nabwol men had the rights to make Anglautaki, and only two Botgate men had paid to create and use them. Anglautaki are exceptionally rare objects—after their use, they are placed in the Namal until they fall apart. There are four in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

[1] J-M Charpentier, New Hebrides field collection 1972-73 card index, no.47, National Gallery of Australia.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013

From: Crispin Howarth Kastom: Art of Vanuatu National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2013