Lot: 104

Squatting female ancestor figure "iene" with sacrificial bowl

Indonesia - Moluccas - Leti Island

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Piet Lepelaar, Leiden, The Netherlands H: 10.9 inch 3500 EUR / 8000 EUR

wood, shell, rest., missing part (nose)

These figures were to serve as homes for the souls of the deceased.

According to old reports (Riedel,1886) they were made by specialists five days after a death, which is the appropriate moment for the soul to enter the statuette.To attract the soul, the "iene" were placed on a gold plate, and wrapped in red cloth.

The figures were kept in the upper part of the house and worshipped daily with prayers and food offerings. They served as a link between the spirit world and the realm of the living.


Barbier, Jean Paul & Douglas Newton (ed.), Islands and Ancestors, Munich 1988, p. 316 Riedel, J.G.F., De sluik- en kroesharige tassen tusschen Celebes en Papua, The Hague 1886