Indiana University Indiana University IU

Browse the collection

Female Figure

Culture Tongan
Title Female Figure
Date 18th century
Medium Whale ivory
Dimensions Object: 5 1/8 × 1 7/8 × 1 7/8 in. (13 × 4.8 × 4.8 cm)
Overall: 5 1/8 × 1 7/8 × 1 7/8 in. (13 × 4.8 × 4.8 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 2010.17

Share this artwork!

About this Work

Tongan ivories such as this female figure are very rare, and they may be associated with an important deity connected with harvest and fertility. These figures were kept in shrines wrapped in bark cloth, and many of them were pierced in the back of the head (as in this example), suggesting that they were suspended. The shiny surface and creamy golden brown color of the ivory exemplify the ideal woman’s skin texture and color, and the well-developed breasts and buttocks, prominent calves, and small hands reflect features that were admired in Tongan women.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

Viewing Information
This artwork is currently on view.


Request this Image
The Eskenazi Museum of Art provides images of its collection, free of charge, upon request. This artwork is under copyright protection. You can request the image and it will be emailed to you when the request is complete.

Cite this Page
"Female Figure | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.