Indiana University Indiana University IU

Culture Enata (Marquesan)
Title Figure (Tiki)
Date 19th century or earlier
Medium Basalt
Dimensions Object: 6 1/4 × 3 1/4 × 2 1/2 in. (15.9 × 8.3 × 6.4 cm)
Overall: 6 1/4 x 3 1/4 x 2 1/2 in. (15.9 x 8.3 x 6.4 cm)
Credit Line Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 97.1

Share this artwork!

About this Work

The word tiki is used in the Marquesas Islands to refer to representations of the human form, as well as to motifs inspired by it. Small stone tiki such as this likely represented deities and deified ancestors. How the figures were used, however, is not clear: the only specific information about how the figures functioned indicates that they were used in healing the sick and as votive offerings for success in all sorts of undertakings. A person would leave such an offering at the temple area dedicated to the particular deity being invoked. Some of the figures, including this one, have holes in the back of the head, perhaps indicating that they were suspended there.

The face clearly identifies this figure as from the Marquesas Islands. The goggle eyes, nose with narrow bridge and flaring nostrils, and broad mouth with an indication of the tongue between the lips are uniquely Marquesan and are consistently found on other Marquesan objects.

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