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Loan Object

Ancestor Figure (Aitos)

19th century


100 × 20 × 19 cm (39 3/8 × 7 7/8 × 7 1/2 in.)
base: 8.89 × 20.32 × 20.32 cm (3 1/2 × 8 × 8 in.)
Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971
On Timor, even though local cultures believe in a divine creator who is often considered to have a dual nature, representing both male (sky) and female (earth) qualities, ancestors take precedence in ritual life. It is the ancestors who influence all daily affairs and are considered to be the source of health, well-being, and fertility. Wooden sculptures of them are placed on circular stone mounts at the center of the village.
Made in Timor, Indonesia
Not on view
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.