Lot: 40

Rare megalithic ancestor figure "gowe ni’oniha", 2nd half 19th century

Indonesia - South Nias

Provenance Size Hammer price
Emile Deletaille, Brussels, Belgium (1998)
H: 29.9 inch 8000 EUR

lime stone, base Most megalithic sculpture is commemorative in nature, created to honour members of the nobility, a tradition inspired by the people’s strong belief in ancestor spirit worship. This stone sculptures are used to mark burial grounds or are simply placed outside houses to commemorate deceased family members. The rest of an appendix on the head suggests that the figure originally had a sculptural top. But it could also have served as an architectural part of a house (base of a supporting pillar) to protect the inhabitants from evil forces. This figure captivates with its clearly defined geometric forms, which make it appear surprisingly modern.


Barbier, Jean Paul & Douglas Newton (ed.), Islands and Ancestors, Munich 1988, p. 202, Plate 5
This object is subject to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage Protection Act. For shipment to a non-EU member state, export regulations will vary.