God Figure, Tahiti, Society Islands
height 13 3/4in (35cm)
Private East Coast Collection
According to Kaeppler (1993: p 534), "Sacred receptacles, through which gods and ancestors were invoked, were ti'i and to'o. Wooden or stone figures in human form, ti'i, served as dwelling places for guardians, ancestors, and the lesser gods, who were called to them at unspecified intervals, their outward appearance having little relevance for their successful use."
The present example was probably intentionally ritually broken in two (later reattached) in order to release its spiritual power.