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Oceania
Ha'apai island group, Tonga
Female Figure
Eighteenth century (?)
Whale ivory
H. 5 in. (12.7 cm)
Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection
Indiana University Art Museum, 2010.17


Figures from Tonga are believed to represent ancestors or goddesses. Only about a dozen carved from ivory survive from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and they be associated in particular with Hikule’o, an important deity connected with harvest and fertility.