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The British Museums uniquely important. Melanesian collection is pre-eminent among early collections, and the 20,000 items it comprises are core to understanding the cultures of the western Pacific. The extraordinary art styles represented, from groups such as New Guinea, New Ireland and the Solomon Islands and relating to ancestors, family and clan, houses, feasting and festivals, are of interest not only in themselves but also for how they have influenced European artists since the nineteenth century. With contributions from a wide range of international scholars, anthropologists, indigenous peoples and artists, and illustrated with over 300 colour images of Museum objects and contextual photographs, the book will survey and respond to the collection from the point of view of anthropologists and the people responsible for its creation. "Melanesia" is a visual and key reference work, providing illuminating encounters with the historical and contemporary cultures of the western Pacific, documenting the most culturally diverse and artistically fertile region in the world for the first time.