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    Description

    Banks Island
    Suque society grade figure
    Mid-20th century
    Carved fern
    Height: 59 inches

    In the islands of Vanuatu, art forms were created in association with men's grade taking societies. In the Banks Islands, grade figures carved from tree fern functioned as a marker of rank within a grade taking society called suque. This was a complex secret society in which members, over their lifetime, were able to increasingly advance their status within the hierarchical suque structure. This advancement was accomplished by the initiate's costly sacrifice of tusker pigs. Through this process, the initiate would gain important ritual knowledge pertaining to each advancing rank. High ranking members commissioned expert sculptors to carve grade figures from the fibrous trunk of a tree fern. The sculpture would then be erected in front of a ceremonial house called a gamal. The specialized motifs on these grade figures were particular to each specific rank within the suque society. Grade figures were not only a sign of advancement within the suque society, but were intended as the dwelling place for ancestral spirits. This grade figure measures 59 inches in height and is carved with opposing ancestral figures and a complex central diamond motif.

    Provenance:
    A Private Dallas Collection


    Estimate: $7,000 - $10,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2014
    14th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 925

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