This figure was created to commemorate an ancestor, although it does not represent the deceased in a literal way. Instead, it is intended to convey a powerful message about family continuity and the perpetuation of the clan. Often, such figures represent deceased chiefs and are kept by the current chief to symbolize the historical precedent on which his authority is based. Thus a commemorative portrait becomes an agent of social entitlement and control.
Carved lightwood male figure. Elaborate dark-stained 3-element headdress at back. Two side projections and a flat incised center. Pointed and deeply incised beard along chin. Oval face with eyes and eyebrows a sries of ovals, straight tappering nose, thin pursed lips, neck straight cylindrical. Upper torso with crudely finished hands and fingers at stomach centered by navel. Muscles of chest and arms indicated, flexed knees and prominent penis hidden beneath reed skirt. Flat web-like feet (toes represented) a part of the thick circular base. Under surfaces unpolished, high polish on head and upper torso. CONDITION: Good: Small cracks throughout. One large gapping crack at back from headdress to base, some native repairs. Small chip at tip of nose.