Altar w/ ancestor figure, adu nuwu/adu zatua

Nias

Wood, 19th to early 20th Century

Ex collection: Prof. Dr. Herman Th. Verstappen, acquired in the So. Nias village of Bawömataluo, 1955

24 in / 46 cm


This ancestor figure is dressed in royal regalia of his high station. He holds a cup and stick in his hand, and is seated in a daro daro, an altar composed of two stylized dragons looking left and right. He has a warrior’s necklace, a schematic moustache and a single earring, all masculine references. This figure is carved by a refined hand,  recognizable as the same hand as a companion piece collected by Paul Wirz before 1927, now in the Museum fur Kulturen in Basel and published in the Delft catalog, Nias Tribal Treasures, plate 102. Ancestor altars of this type adorned the interior of the community clan house.