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Ancestor Figure (Iene)

Arts of the Pacific Islands

To honor deceased family members, villagers kept carved wooden figures to contain the souls of their ancestors in the family house. This seated figure (iene) from Leti has elongated limbs drawn close to the body and rests on a pedestal. The extension from the forehead may indicate the rank of the deceased.

MEDIUM Wood, pigment
DATES early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 22 7/8 x 4 7/8 x 5 in. (58.1 x 12.4 x 12.7 cm)  (show scale)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 42.338
CREDIT LINE Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION Ancestor Figure (Iene), early 20th century. Wood, pigment, 22 7/8 x 4 7/8 x 5 in. (58.1 x 12.4 x 12.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Stewart Smith Memorial Fund, 42.338. Creative Commons-BY
IMAGE overall, 42.338_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Ancestor figure of brown wood showing a seated human figure with knees drawn up and arms crossed on the knees. The whole figure, especially the legs, is elongated. Ear ornaments are represented as well as a little crest on the head. The eyes and mouth are painted grey. The base of the figure is in tiers with a typical Indonesian scroll on several parts of the tiers. Condition: chipped in several places.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (82%)
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