Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Ancestral Couple (Ana Deo)

Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Indonesia, Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara
Culture:
Nage
Medium:
Wood
Dimensions:
H. 11 3/4 in. (29.8cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Fred and Rita Richman, 2006
Accession Number:
2006.510
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 355
This remarkable couple from the Nage people of the island of Flores probably represent the founders of one of the village clans. Human images (ana deo) representing ancestors and other supernatural beings were frequently associated with ancestral shrines (heda). The original context of the present work is uncertain. However, the couple originally may have been the riders who sat atop a larger ceremonial horse figure (jara heda) associated with one of the village shrines from which they were later removed and preserved as a sacred object. The posture of the figures, however, is somewhat unusual for such equestrian images, and it may have been an independent work. Whatever its original function, the quiet dignity of the figures, with the man's arm clasped tenderly around his consort's shoulder, makes it a compelling work.
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