This is a wooden coconut grater of the kind typically found across Indonesia and Oceania. There was once a metal bit inserted at the end of the neck, which was the actual scraper. A person would have sat upon the seat while grating the coconut, and hence there is a shiny patina on it. The body of the scraper has two short back legs and two front arms and hands that reach upwards towards the neck-like extension. Its belly displays male genitalia and two breast-like protuberances, the combination of male and female attributes being common in central Nias in reference to fertility and abundance. Along the upper part of the 'neck' is a male figure with a prominent headdress, bulging eyes, and what appears to be a lengthy moustache carved in high relief, which may also refer to an elder or ancestor. On the underside is a lizard form, also common in Nias sculpture, in low relief.
Nias coconut scraper
22.5 x 15.0 x 49.0 cm
Purchased with funds provided by the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2011
Shown in 1 exhibition
Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–2019