We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Osa'osa seat

circa 19th century


Unknown Artist

No image
  • Details

    Other Title
    Nobleman's stone seat, osa osa
    Place where the work was made
    Cultural origin
    central Nias
    circa 19th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    83.0 x 100.0 x 60.0 cm
    Purchased with the assistance of Terry and Lynn Fern 2006
    Not on display
    Accession number
  • About

    Osa' osa seats are carved for use in important Niha feasts, including rites of passage celebrations and 'feasts of merit', which commemorate an individual's integration into society. An impressive product of Nias material culture, this osa' osa, provides a means through which we can begin to understand a fairly isolated region of Indonesia, which, having remained on the periphery of the great external influences, developed distinct social practices and preserved these indigenous ways into recent times.

    In addition to their cultural import, osa' osa seats are admired for their imaginative design and craftsmanship. As is typical of osa' osas, this seat is zoomorphic, with the head of the protective, mythical beast lasara, and a stylised, upright tail, possibly of a bird. As the only embellishment, a 'kalabubu', a traditional piece of ceremonial Niha jewellery worn by men as a symbol of valour and victory in warfare, decorates the beast's neck.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, December 2006.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

    • Nomadic Rug Traders (Editor), Newsletter, Sydney, 2006, 3 (colour illus.).

    • Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'The Asian Collection', pg. 12-13, Sydney, Mar 2009, 13 (colour illus.). This work is in the foreground of the image on page 13.