Santa Cruz Island Figure Sculpture and Its Social and Ritual Contexts
In this ethnographic study of traditional sculpture from Santa
Cruz Island, near the Solomon Islands in the southwest Pacific the
late anthropologist William H. Davenport presents a distinctive
genre of figure sculpture produced for and used in traditional
religious rituals and ceremonies.
The body of the book discusses the history of Santa Cruz Island
society since the first Europeans came to the area in 1595, the
cultural meanings of its most conspicuous features, and
descriptions of the main components of worship, the rituals. The
book includes discoveries about the making and use of the
figurines, as well as the iconography of the pieces. The latter
information is derived from general ethnographic data collected in
the course of field research between 1958 and 1976 on Santa Cruz
Island and the adjacent islands of the Santa Cruz Group, where
Davenport's many close friends included both his informants in the
villages and officers of the British Colonial Service.
A dual study of a tradition of so-called tribal art in its context
and a study of Santa Cruz Island society, the book includes
meticulous descriptions of the sacred objects, currency, dances,
and social interactions. Davenport's records of 55 specimens of
Santa Cruz sculpture from both private collections and
museums-initial acquisition, subsequent ownership, and other
detailed physical information-constitute the catalogue section of
An engaging and previously unrecorded transcription of information
distilled from local informants of the oral myths, rituals, and
ceremonies reveals how Santa Cruz believers distinguished,
celebrated, and communicated with their deities.
Davenport's own unique photographs-both black and white and
color-illustrate rituals on the island and life as it was lived
before independence in 1978. His work here is a record of a culture
which is barely now either lived or remembered by the descendants
of those who created it, and all figural sculpture discovered in
the future must be judged against this corpus of authenticated
Audiences will include anthropologists interested in the tribal
arts of Pacific peoples, libraries with Melanesian collections, art
historians, contemporary historians interested in the difference
between description and comparison, and the special political and
economic situation of colonialism.
You do not have access to this book on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.
Log in to your personal account or through your institution.
Table of Contents
Export Selected Citations
Export to NoodleTools
Export to RefWorks
Export to EasyBib
Export a RIS file
(For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...)
Export a Text file