Ancestor Figure (Yene)

Leti Islands

Not on view

Throughout the islands of Maluku Tenggara in eastern Indonesia, ancestor images indicated important links between the living and the dead. Small seated ancestor figures depicted deceased family members and were kept and used within the home. The present image is likely from Leti Island, where such images were called yene. Each depicted a specific recently deceased individual and served as a vessel in which his or her spirit resided temporarily before departing for the land of the dead and to which it periodically returned to receive offerings or be consulted about important matters. On Leti, the pose of yene indicated the gender and status of the deceased. Male ancestors were shown seated with the legs drawn in to the body, and female ancestors were depicted with the legs crossed.

Ancestor Figure (Yene), Wood, Leti Islands

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