THE FUNERARY ART OF MADAGASCAR
What is an aloalo?
The aloalo is a funerary pole sculpture that, along with the skulls of slaughtered zebu, is placed on the tombs of important people in the south-western region of Madagascar. These carved posts often tell the story of the person's life and generally take the form of a series of geometric or symbolic shapes topped by sculpted figures or objects evocative of the deceased's life. They are chiefly associated with the Mahafaly people, although they are also found on the tombs of some Antandroy and particularly the Sakalava, whose carved figures are reputed for their often erotic imagery.
Antanosy tomb (malagasy blog)
Nowadays for tourits, vendors make bright aloalo for home decoration. Therefore many Malagasy objects sold abroad have the aloalo as theme of decoration, because it is fashionable, and it refers unmistakably to the Malagasy culture.
Paradoxally locally the new and bright aloalo can be bought and put on the tombs by the families, especially because they are beautiful, since the objective is to decorate the tomb about the life themes of the dear deceased.
taken from, see more here: http://caacart.com/html/efiaimbelo_frameset.html