Nias lies in a chain of Island west off the coast of Sumatra about one hundred kilometers from the main land, and is occupied by a distinct ethnic groups. Nias Society was dominated by- aristocrats and nobility known as the Si’ulu in the south, and Salawa in the north and central Nias.
Two main types of ancestor figures were produced in North Nias-the Siraha Salawa and the Adu Zatua.
The Nias ancestor Chief figure represents a long-deceased ancestor-Chief, and would have been displayed prominently inside a wealthy Chief’s house as a protective device- usually they were displayed above the floor and atop a stand in a large room in the house.
The fleshy earlobes, almond shaped eyes and prominent nose indicates that this figure comes from the North of Nias, and with its crown resembling that of a palm leaf or a fern frond, and blackened wood.
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- Tribal Art from Nias Island / Sumatra (onartbali.wordpress.com)