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Artist's cultural association:
Armachtoertoer 1973 Description: coloured in black, white, brown and red ochres
Place made: Menmenboas Village, Malakula Island, Malampa Province, Vanuatu Melanesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood, clay, tusks, feathers

Dimensions: 191.0 h x 74.0 w x 20.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased by J-M Charpentier on behalf of the CAAB
Accession No: NGA 71.207.149

This is an exceptionally rare sculpture associated with the naxoen napan events in female initiation rites. This figure is paraded or ‘danced’ when young women, usually around the age of 12, have their right incisor tooth removed in a rite corresponding with the male initiatory rite of circumcision. According to Charpentier [1], two prize pigs were killed and their tusks were given to the four elder men who all contributed to making this work.

[1] J-M Charpentier, New Hebrides field collection 1972-73 card index, no.133, National Gallery of Australia.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2013

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