Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Figure (Tiki)

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 (2010.18, 2010.7, 69.123, 2018.8).

Marquesas Islands
Figure (Tiki)
19th century or earlier
H. 6 ΒΌ in. (15.7 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Raymond and Laura Wielgus Collection, 97.1