Set of Two Carved Wooden Tools with Human Faces from Nias, Indonesia (circa 1960s - 70s)
Set of two carved wooden tools with human head finials from Nias, Indonesia (circa 1960s - 70s). Mounted on contemporary stands, this pair of handles, or probably weaving tools, have characterful patinas and bird-like elegance. Each figure has three hole piercings on each side most likely as conduits of fabric or string. They are in fair vintage condition commensurate with age and use.
As background on the island, until the consolidation of Dutch rule in the early 20th C, Nias was home to the most vibrant aristocratic warrior cultures. Inter-clan conflicts, headhunting raids and rituals, slave trading and the valorisation of violent prowess were fundamental features of Nias civilisation. Merit and noble rank were attained through prescribed rituals. This reflected the ostentatious, swashbuckling martial ethos of Nias culture until the populace's mass conversion to Christianity precipitated the breakdown of Nias traditions. The island is divided into regions, each with a distinctive dialect, architectural style and aesthetic variations (ref: Art of the Ancestors dot com).
Dimensions (without stand):
H 18 cm / 7.1" and 16 cm / 6.3" (each piece)
L 17 cm / 6.7" and 18 cm / 7.1"
W 3.0 cm / 1.2" and 3.0 cm / 1.2"