funeral rites

Funeral rites play a privileged, not to mention primordial role in man’s relationship with what is sacred. 

Through their rich ceremonies they underline the point to which death is present and accepted in non-western societies where the deceased, who will become ancestors, are an integral part of life.

This close relationship between the living and the dead very often passes through a vast exchange system that is symbolic, spiritual and physical all at once and manifests itself through offerings and is embodied in the moulded sculpture, a sign of durability and object of memory.


  • Ceremonial Sculpture

    Ceremonial Sculpture

  • Ancestral Skull

  • Headdress Mask

  • Reliquaire zoomorphe (poisson), crâne

    Zoomorphic (fish) Reliquary, Skull

  • Funeral Effigy

  • Funeral Mannequin

  • Mourner's Mask

  • Funeral Ceremony

  • Bronze Funeral Drum

  • Funeral Statue

  • Anthropomorphic Statues

  • Anthropomorphic Mask

  • Reliquary Guardian Statuette

  • Skull Representation

  • Anthropomorphic Funeral Post

  • Female Figure

  • Funeral Bag

  • Pedestal Bowl, With Zoomorphic Decoration

  • Bowl

  • Funeral Mask

  • Funeral Urn

Female Figure

Female Figure

Funeral Figure, Madagascar, Sakalava , or Vezo, 19th Century, Wood, 78,5 x 20,5 x 20 cm, 3740 g, 71.1965.24.3

In Madagascar, many populations believe in the ongoing presence of ancestral spirits among the living. The tombs are surmounted by posts sculpted in the image of those who have died, or sometimes by bird figures. The grave is the place for commemorative ceremonies, and offerings and zebu sacrifices are meant to ensure the protection of the deceased, who if not honored thus might cause accidents or illness.