1350-2073 - New Ireland Malagan funerary statue in at the Metropolitan Museum of Art museum, New York, USA. New Ireland is part of the Bismarck Archipelago, situated north of New Guinea, and has an estimated population of 100,000. The Dutch first encountered the island in 1616, and today New Ireland is a province of Papua New Guinea. Nineteen different languages are spoken on the island, and it is divided by a chain of mountains into three distinct regions: northern, central, and southeastern. The art of New Ireland traditionally centered on mortuary ceremonies and feasts to honor the dead. In northern New Ireland, the name given to these elaborate ceremonies is malagan, which is also the term used for the carved and painted sculptures associated with the ceremonies.