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Thomas Murray

Altar with ancestor figure, adu nuwu / adu zatua
Nias
Wood
19th to early 20th Century
Ex collection: Prof. Dr. Herman Th. Verstappen, acquired by him in the south Nias village of Baw├Âmataluo, May 1, 1955
24 in / 46 cm

$90,000 USD

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.