| Ancestor figure [adu siraha salawa]

Nias people
Nias, Indonesia

Ancestor figure [adu siraha salawa] 19th century
40.0 (h) x 16.5 (w) x 17.0 (d) cm
Musée Barbier Mueller, Geneva
© Musée Barbier-Mueller Photograph: Studio Ferrazzini Bouchet


When a family member dies on Nias, a new ancestor sculpture is created as a receptacle for the soul of the deceased and a talisman for the living. Sculptures range from naturalistic portraits to powerfully stylised figures. Images of the gold ornaments and large shell bracelets owned by the nobility are carved onto the polished wooden figures. The head of this male, with carefully articulated beard and moustache, is wrapped in cloth.

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