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Oceania: Art of the Pacific Islands in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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  • Publisher: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Pages: 368
  • Illustrations: 303 (232 in full color)
  • Dimensions: 8 1/4'' x 11 1/2''
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Author:
  • ISBN: 9780300120301



By Eric Kjellgren

Oceania, which includes the islands of the central and South Pacific, covers one third of the earth, an area larger than that of all the continents combined. From the dense rain forests of New Guinea to the spice-rich islands of Indonesia, the tropical archipelagos of Polynesia and Micronesia, and the deserts of Australia, Oceania's peoples have developed hundreds of distinct artistic traditions that encompass an astonishing variety of forms and media. The remarkable imagery of Oceanic art has had a direct influence on many of the most important artists of the Western canon, from Paul Gauguin to the German Expressionists and the Surrealists, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art houses one of the world's premier collections of art from this region. Published in celebration of the opening of the Metropolitan's newly reinstalled galleries for the arts of Oceania, this generously illustrated volume, the first to survey the breadth of the Museum's collection, provides an introduction to the region's rich artistic heritage through more than two hundred masterworks. An overview of Oceanic art and a history of the Metropolitan's collection are followed by informative introductory essays on the major cultural regions of the Pacific. Detailed discussions of the individual objects place these outstanding Oceanic works inn their historical and cultural contexts. Highlights include selections from the Museums holdings of sculpture from Polynesia and the Sepik region of New Guinea, religious images from Island Melanesia, and Island Southeast Asian textiles. A glossary and selected bibliography conclude this comprehensive volume.

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