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

Zoomorphic (fish) Reliquary, Skull

Zoomorphic (fish) Reliquary, Skull

Fish Reliquary, Solomon Islands, Santa Anna Island, Beginning of the 20th Century, Bone, Wood, Natural Pigments, 211,5 x 35,3 cm, Donated By Monique and Etienne de Ganay, Régine and Charles van den Broek, La Korrigane Expedition, 1934-1936, 71.1961.103.56

The soil on Santa Anna Island is poor. Fishing is indispensable to the life of its populations. Their ritualized activity surrounding this activity reflects their bond with the marine world. Young boys are initiated into this activity in the buildings that have been built along the coastline where these reliquaries have been preserved in bonito form, which is a kind of tunny fish or shark, as well as the big fishing and and war canoes. These reliquaries held the skulls of chieftains, and the long bones of the deceased were placed in the canoes. Mourning rituals allowed for the transformation of the dead chieftain into a protective force. Thus, chieftains of important people could reincarnate, after their deaths, into swordfish and sharks, which then became tutelary deities.