Ancestor Head

19th century

Indo-Pacific Art

On view, 3rd floor, Indo-Pacific Art

The islands of the southern Moluccas produced some of eastern Indonesia’s finest wooden sculptures, usually dedicated to the memory of ancestors. This head has serene facial features, and the head and ear ornaments are intricately carved. According to their own oral histories, the people of these islands arrived by boats from distant shores. Until recently the region was politically united with the northern Moluccas, historically famous for the production and exportation of cloves and nutmeg. The southern Moluccas are much more arid than their northern neighbors, and they remained relatively unexplored into the colonial period.




18 7/8 × 5 1/2 × 4 3/4 in. (48 × 14 × 12 cm)
base: 9 7/16 × 7 1/16 × 4 5/16 in. (24 × 18 × 11 cm)

Credit Line

Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971

Loan number



Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Ex-collection: Prof. Bernard B. Tursch. Seller: Prof. Bernard B. Tursch.
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

effigies, figures (representations)

Technical metadata and APIs


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