Figure, One of a Pair

Atauro Island

Not on view

One of a pair of matched male and female ancestor figures (itara) from the island of Atauro in Timor-Leste. The figures have angular facial features with small blocked sections indicating eyes, ears, nose and mouth, whose simplicity achieves a remarkable elegance of expression. The hands and feet of this male figure in particular are exaggerated. Large, flattened hands are oriented parallel to his sides with palms facing inwards so that his arms hang down in a stance typical of figural sculpture in the island of Atauro. Given the lighter color of the wood around his torso, it is clear that these would have rested on layers of cloth garments which would have wrapped around his waist to just above the knee. The figures are tied together by a length of cord fiber which passes over the shoulder of the female to wind around the waist of the male figure.

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