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 in the Bismarck Archipelago. The pieces presented here have come from European collections, mostly in Germany, where they were put together in the 1830-40s and in 1914.

While the origin of these artefacts is limited in terms of time, 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 artworks, among which are 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, and also of the current state of knowledge about the collections. It also brings the most recent ethnographic data up to date, with regard to 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/ 5 Continents

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exhibition curators

Michael Gunn, curator and specialist in oceanic art, at Saint-Louis art Museum, and Philippe Peltier, head curator for the Océanie-Insulinde patrimony unit, quai Branly.Museum.


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

more information 

... about the New-Ireland exhibition