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Object Name: Ancestor figures (adu zatua)
Place of Origin: North Nias Island, Indonesia
Date/Era: Collected before 1907
Medium/Materials: Wood, plant fiber
Dimensions: W: 69 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.5679
Each time someone died in Nias, a carved figure representing the person was added to the row of figures lashed to the wall of the main room of the house. Old houses sometimes contained hundreds of these figures, serving as a visual genealogy of the lineage ancestors.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.