Pacific Spirits

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The Pacific Islands are famous for spectacular masks and ritual sculptures that blend art, theater, and dance with social and spiritual meaning—and The Field Museum has one of the world’s best collections of these impressive treasures. Pacific Spirits takes you halfway around the world and 100 years into the past to witness sacred customs that once thrived in this region. Intricate woodcarvings, embellished with plant fibers and colorful dyes, these objects are works of art as well as artifacts of culture.

In Pacific Spirits, you can:

  • Admire dramatic masks—like the praying mantis mask that covers a person’s entire head and torso—and discover how and why these elaborate costumes were created.
  • Play wooden slit drums—some as large as a person—that once gave voice to powerful spirits.
  • Meet malanggans, memorial carvings created to honor deceased relatives, and understand how their spiritual power was created and destroyed in rituals that united communities together.
  • Glimpse life inside a traditional Men’s House, which was once the ceremonial center of most villages.