Arts of the Pacific Islands
Wood carvings from the Nicobar Islands are very rare, and only two other examples are known of this type, a heavy-bodied, crouching figure with a turtle carapace on the back. The figure's extraordinarily long arms, set in sockets, stretch forward. The face is anthropomorphic: the eyes are pointed ovals of shell; the mouth, with square-cut teeth, opens to reveal the tongue; and traces of the original bright red paint remain on the teeth, tongue, and lips. The figure wears a chin-strap helmet, pointed at the top in the Malayan manner. It suggests that the style derives from some part of the Malay Peninsula, where related dialects are spoken. The only recorded use of wood sculpture in this area was in forms of henta-koi, or "scare devils," intended to keep malevolent spirits at bay.
Wood, shell, pigment
29 x 17 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (73.7 x 44.5 x 64.8 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Museum Collection Fund
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Figure (Kareau), 19th century. Wood, shell, pigment, 29 x 17 1/2 x 25 1/2 in. (73.7 x 44.5 x 64.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Ella C. Woodward Memorial Fund and Museum Collection Fund, 63.57. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 63.57_SL1.jpg)
overall, 63.57_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
Carved wooden figure with outstretched arms, open mouth and bent knees. The eyes are inlaid with shell and the lips as well as beard show traces of red paint. The figure is carved with a shell-like covering on its back and a hat which resembles a helmet. Its open mouth reveals a double row of square-cut teeth and a protruding tongue. The Nicobarese used the figure to scare away evil spirits.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.