Art of the South Pacific

Art of the South Pacific

New Ireland, Art of South Pacific aims to convey an overall picture of the works of art from the Pacific Islands in the north-west of Papua New Guinea, within the Bismarck Archipelago. The pieces presented here have come from European collections, mostly German, where they were assembled together in the 1830-40s and in 1914.

If the artefacts' dates are fairly easy to identify, their geographical origins are far more complex. As is frequently the case in Melanesia, this island is small but it contains 32 linguistic groups. This publication exemplifies the diversity and the aesthetic quality of the artworks, among which feature the famous Malagan sculptures which show extraordinary virtuosity in their motifs and technical skill. This panoramic survey also takes in the latest research on this subject.

The richly illustrated catalogue includes reproductions of all the artefacts shown in the exhibitions and includes numerous field records. Various specialists have contributed to the volume. This work of reference gives an account of the history of the region at the moment when it was colonised by the Germans and when missionaries were introduced. It also provides insight into the current state of knowledge about the collections. Furthermore, it brings the most recent ethnographic data up to date concerning the different regions of the island, the rituals and the use of artefacts.


304 pages in 24 cm x 28 cm format

Many colour illustrations

price: 45 €

isbn 2-915133-49-3 / 978-88-7439-368-8

A co-publication by the musée quai Branly and 5 Continents

buy this catalogue online

exhibition curators

Michael Gunn, curator and specialist in oceanic art at the Saint-Louis art Museum, and Philippe Peltier, head curator for the Oceania-Insulindia patrimony unit, musée du quai Branly


Vicky Barnecutt, Antje Denner, Brigitte Derlon, Sean Kingston, Susanne Küchler, Markus Schindlbeck, Graeme Were.

more information 

... about the New-Ireland exhibition