Discover the museum's exhibitions

25 October 2008 - 22 March 2009, Heleneum - Lugano


The exhibition "Mana. Le raccolte della Micronesia e della Polinesia del Museo delle Culture" (Mana. The Micronesian and Polynesian Collections of the Museo delle Culture)explores and documents the complex concept of Mana through several artworks that belong to the museum’s Micronesian and Polynesian collections. Traditional Oceanic beliefs stated that these items possess an immanent energy known as Mana: a sacred impersonal force from the spiritual world which could influence not only the people who possessed it but even objects and places. It was believed that Mana, a concept closely linked with prestige and status, permeated the bodies of certain people of high social rank. In addition, Mana could also flow into their artefacts and into surrounding people. It could, however, also work in the other direction: contact with powerful objects could enrich the Mana of those people who were best suited to possess cosmological powers.

Foto gallery

The exhibition itinerary

In the rooms dedicated to temporary exhibitions on the ground floor, visitors are greeted with three elegant works of art. These are a prelude to the pieces in the Sala Polinesia on the second floor which form an integral part of the museum’s permanent collection. The exhibits allows us to explore the very intriguing, albeit complex, concept of Mana.

For online information on the concept of Mana, please view the Highlight page (October 2008). 

Other external collaborations