Tino Aitu (Deity sculpture)

before 1830

Museum of Ethnology Hamburg

Museum of Ethnology Hamburg

Even today, this wood sculpture, nearly abstract in its expression, continues to impress viewers with its clear formal vocabulary. It comes from the Nukuoro Atoll in the western Pacific. In the 1870s, a number of these figures, including two others in the museum’s collection, were acquired there by Stanislaus Kubary for Hamburg’s former Museum Godeffroy. The sculpture seen here is among the larger specimens of its kind produced in the late 18th and early 19th century. It was crafted without metal tools. Up to today, only 37 of these figures are known worldwide. They represent gods and deified ancestors who are associated with the five family groups in the Nukuoro population. Placed in temple precincts, they were given food as sacrificial offerings on major festive occasions, and were ritually clothed and adorned with flowers.

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  • Title: Tino Aitu (Deity sculpture)
  • Date Created: before 1830
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Publisher: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg
  • Rights: Museum of Ethnology Hamburg | Photo: Paul Schimweg
  • External Link: Homepage Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg
  • Medium: wood
  • on display: South Seas Hall
  • Date of Acquisition: ca. 1885
  • Context of Origin: Nukuoro Atoll – Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
  • Collection: Coll. Godeffroy Museum


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