Men posing with rambaramp (effigy figure), probably Malekula Island, New Hebrides, 1930s.
Silver gelatin photograph printed on card stock, 140 x 88 mm; verso printed ‘Carte Postale’, not postally used; in fine condition.
A scarce photographic image of a New Hebrides rambaramp figure in situ.
‘Rambaramp are memorial effigy figures created for men of the highest rank who participated in a hierarchical, grade-based society in south and central Malakula (Malekula), one of the islands that comprise Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides). The body of these figures was created from cane, vegetable fibers, clay, resin, pigment and other materials. The head was made using a male human skull, the skull of the man being memorialized, which was modeled with clay and pigments to recreate living human features. Rambaramp effigies are understood as a direct representation of the body of the deceased man, with facial features as a form of idealized portraiture.’ (St. Louis Museum)