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

Ancestral Skull

Ancestral Skull

Papuan Ancestral Skull, Indonesia, Asmat, Middle of the 20th Century, Bone, Seeds, Job's Tears and Abrus, Vegetable Fibers, Feathers, Wax 22 x 15 x 15 cm, 71.1966.60.2

For the Asmat, the world of men and the ancestral world are not separate, and death is involved as part of the balance of life. The skulls of important men or great warriors were carefully preserved and decorated with seeds and feathers. These skulls could have been kept where men in a certain clan gathered together, or they were used by the deceased's kin. They were then worn around the neck or served as a neck support. In this way, the relative of the deceased communicated with his ancestor while he was sleeping and recharging his vital energy.