Global Art & Artifacts

Indonesia

Batak Hand Carved Wooden Scale Box. Gold. Halangan North Sumatra

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    Batak tribes are well known for their carved medicine containers like this (see C-7734, for another). This one is less artistic and more functional, but using the traditional motifs of the Singa (protective creature) and ASO (human-like heads).   Functional? This particular container was used (lightly)… Continue reading

Wooden Wall Mask. Yawn. Artist signed. Bali. Indonesia.

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    I have run across a few of these “yawn” masks over the last few years and have not been impressed. But this one is different.   This is an artisan’s stunning interpretation of what is supposed to be a satisfying gesture. But with the wrinkled forehead, flared… Continue reading

Majapahit Kingdom Sandstone Head Fragment. Estate find. Bali.

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    A Majapahit Kingdom – one of the last major Hindu empires of the Malay archipelago – in eastern Java from 1293 to around 1500. The Majapahit society developed a high degree of sophistication in both commerical and artistic activities . . . yielding a cosmopolitan population… Continue reading

Unique Rencong Knife. Weapon of Nobility. Aceh. Northern Sumatra. Indonesia.

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    Aceh is a semi-autonomous Indonesian province on the northeast tip of the island of Sumatra. The ethnic group there – the Acehnese – use the Rencong to fight off invaders during the frequent conflicts especially in the mountainous wilderness areas.   Engagement techniques vary depending on the… Continue reading

Wayang Gedog Performance Mask. Indonesian Religious Rituals. Wood. Ceremonials. Bali. Indonesia.

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  Not to be confused with the Wayang Topeng mask used in a dramatic form of dance performances, this mask was used in performances and stories about the kingdom of Janggala . . . about a love story between a prince and princess.   Obviously not used by the… Continue reading

Large Balinese Garuda with Vishnu Riding. Hindu. Temple Art. Wood. Ubud. Bali. Indonesia

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  Truly Stunning!   By now you know the significance of this Hindu deity riding between the Garuda (protector) wings. If not, ask me. I have books on the symbolism .   Carved in the 1940s -1950s in the town of Ubud in the… Continue reading

Wayang Golek Rod Puppet. Sundanese Culture. West Java. Indonesia

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    There is still little known about the wayang golek puppets but historians have speculated that they most likely originated in China and arrived on the north coast of Java (Pasisir region) around the 17th Century. Through a series of cultural adoptions over a couple of hundred years,… Continue reading

Old Madura Keris Kriss Kris Dagger. Centipede. Madura. Indonesia.

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    Directly from Madura, this Keris was passed on through 2 generations. Madura is an Indonesian island off the northeast coast of Java and is inhabited by 3.65 million Madurese.   Keris have been produced for centuries. It is divided into three parts: blade (wilah), hilt… Continue reading

Iban. Dayak. 34″ Fertility Staff. Gawai Melah Pinang. Ritual. Ceremony. Indonesia

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    Sure, the Ibans / Dayaks were renowned for practicing headhunting to further territorial expansion. They had a fearsome reputation until the Europeans arrived with their colonization in the 1800s. Some headhunting episodes were reported into the mid-1900s.   There were rituals, ceremonies and festivals all… Continue reading

Indonesian Ceremonial Dance Mask. Wood. Hand Painted. Cirebon. Java. Indonesia

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    This mask was used in a dramatic form of Indonesian dance called Topeng. Such masks are used to interpret traditional stories concerning fabled kings, heros and myths.   Hand made and hand painted in the mid-1900s and acquired in Cirebon in West Java (about 200 miles east… Continue reading
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