Oceanic art

Micronesia

In comparison to Melanesian arts, the objects produced by the Micronesians are streamlined, highly finished, executed with astonishing precision, and coldly functional. The designs developed by these peoples show a highly evolved respect for natural materials, which are scarce. The only masks from Micronesia are from the Mortlock Atoll and represent in simple elongated features benevolent spirits. Rows of figures placed on Mortlock Atoll illustrate mythological events and were thought to protect the islanders from typhoons.

Other important Micronesian art includes objects related to ocean navigation, gable figures in female form from Palau (Belau), and abstract figures representing deities. Micronesian textiles, especially the loom-woven works of the Caroline Islands, are noted for their geometric renderings of humans, stars, and fish. Fibers used are mainly banana and hibiscus.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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