The present item is in several ways an extraordinary piece of sculpture. Although medium-sized it does not fit in the frame of ancestor figures hailing from Central Nias. The statue is without limbs and has an unusual carved bell-shaped torso in facets, somehow reminiscent of the formal jacket consisting of stitched strips. The upper part, though, seems in accordance with the usual crowned ancestor figure. The head carved in a bold style with pronounced wing-shaped eyebrows extending towards the ears and a flat chin lends the image a monumental appearance. A three-pronged crown tops the head. On closer inspection the central part of the flat-based crown consists of a central stalk flanked by two fern ornaments and behind two large vertical projections are visible. This forked element appear on statues which belong to the protective ancestral images domain in Niha society. Most notably they emerge on adu hörö figures but also on adu tendro luluwo, protective images which are rendered limbless and with flat torsos. In the latter case we find one or more ancestral statuettes fastened to the prongs by means of plant fibre. This could also have been the case with the present item as an entwined rattan band is attached to the left prong, leaving room for a statuette. For comparison see two statues in the holdings of NMVW: RV-1629-61 and TM-860-8 and published in Nias Tribal Treasures, Delft 1990, p. 239, ill. 94 and 95. These figures seem to be rendered sexless, whereas in the present item typical Central Nias style button-shaped breasts underscore the female sex. Blackish soot patina testifies to the age of this statue which was acquired in situ by the renowned Dutch pioneer in ethnomusicology Jaap Kunst (1891-1960). In 1930 he travelled toghether with Rudolf Bonnet, the famous painter, to Nias. Provenance Collection Jaap Kunst, bought in Nias in the 1930's. Christies Amsterdam, 26 april 1993, ex lot 197. With old label on the bottom with written initials J.K. Private collection The Hague, Holland.
h. 40 cm.
Hamerprijs: € 13.000