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Part of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
Date: late 19th–early 20th centuryAccession Number: 1976.351
Date: 18th centuryAccession Number: 1978.412.875
Date: late 19th–early 20th centuryAccession Number: 2003.8
Date: ca. 1800Accession Number: 1979.206.1508
Date: late 19th–early 20th centuryAccession Number: 1978.412.1558a-d
Date: 18th–early 19th centuryAccession Number: 1979.206.1466
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The islands of the Pacific Ocean encompass nearly 1,800 distinct cultures and hundreds of artistic traditions in an area that covers over one-third of the Earth's surface. The galleries for Oceanic art are divided geographically into sections: Polynesia and Micronesia (this gallery); Melanesia (subdivided into two areas: New Guinea and Island Melanesia) and Australia (Gallery 354); and Island Southeast Asia (Gallery 355).
This gallery presents art from two major cultural regions of Oceania: Polynesia (the islands of the central and eastern Pacific) and Micronesia (the islands of the tropical northwestern Pacific). Polynesia is home to thirty-seven different peoples who share a common ancestry, and includes many of the most widely known Pacific islands, such as Hawai’i, Tahiti, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), and Aotearoa (New Zealand). Micronesia comprises four main archipelagos—the Caroline, Mariana, and Marshall Islands, and Kiribati—and several isolated islands called the Micronesian Outliers. Notable works include a variety of human images (tiki) from Polynesia, and rare examples of Micronesian sculpture.
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