Loan Object

Figure of the Creator Deity

19th century


35 1/16 × 41 5/16 × 11 13/16 in. (89 × 105 × 30 cm)
Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971
Figural woodcarvings from the Raja Ampat Islands are expertly worked and very distinctive, with oval facial planes and characteristically long, narrow noses. Often the figures’ detachable arms are spread out in an attitude of prayer. Very few of these carvings survive, and the most comprehensive group is now in the Royal Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. The figure shown here is similar to the figures in that collection, which scholars believe represent deities. If that is true, it is a rare instance in eastern Indonesia of producing images of the divine; figural representation is usually reserved for ancestors, while the divine remains abstract.
Made in Waigeo, Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Raja Ampat
19th century
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 such records is ongoing.