| Ancestor figure [adu zatua or adu lawule sange'e]

Nias people
central Nias, Indonesia

Ancestor figure [adu zatua or adu lawule sange'e] 19th century
wood, beads
71.5 (h) x 58.0 (w) x 22.0 (d) cm
KIT Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam


Throughout Nias, ancestor figures are created to honour the dead and protect the noble house and its descendants. Adorned with an elaborate necklace, earring, bangles and distinctive pointed headdress, this figure from central Nias commemorates a deceased member of the nobility. With four arms, large penis and pointed breasts, it is hermaphroditic and associated with fertility and headhunting. The pegs at its feet were places for hanging the severed skulls of enemies.

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