| Ancestor figure [adu zatua]

Nias people
Nias, Indonesia

Ancestor figure [adu zatua] 19th century
wood, paint
48.5 (h) x 17.5 (w) x 15.0 (d) cm
KIT Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam


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. This male wears an ostentatious headdress and has a carefully articulated beard and moustache.

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