Ancestor Figure

Batu Island, Nias, Indonesia
19th Century

On the Island of Nias; spirits of deceased ancestors are believed to intervene with the daily affairs of the living. Ancestor figures such as these would be consulted before any serious decision is made. This type of Nias figure is characterized by an attenuated torso and vestigial stumps for arms; this is the style of Batu Island. This particular example has a powerful presence; it’s staid expressive gaze captures the essence of the ancestors. The elegant body with tense legs is covered with a deep smoky patina from generations of use and storage. There still remains some old fabric around the top of the head.

This figure stands 11.25 inches tall.

SOLD / IN 10-08-09