Selasa, 09 Februari 2016

Timor drum

Timor drum (Tifa)

Origin: Timor, East Nusa Tenggara.
Material: red wood, animal skin, rattan.

This wineglass-shaped drum is distinctive to Timor. It is played by the priest during traditional ceremonies. There is a face carving in the 'neck' of the drum. It is a museum-quality drum with very primitive aura. A very good complement to your home.

Senin, 17 Agustus 2015

Baluse (Nias' Shield)

Nias' Baluse

Origin: South Nias, Indonesia
Material: Wood, rattan

The war shield of Nias, which vary little throughout the island, can be recognized by their distinctly elongated oblong form and markings. Carved of a single piece of wood, a raised roundel with tapered sides protrudes from the centre from which a raised spine runs vertically the entire length. The top of the shields feature cut-outs, to allow the warrior a glimpse of the enemy before him. Likewise, the extended finial below functions as a stand. Horizontal ropes of twisted rattan are inserted through holes on both sides to add strength and increase flexibility. On rare occasions they are carved with zoomorphic motifs such as the lizards.

Jumat, 24 Juli 2015

Taka from Ngada


Origin: Ngada, West Central Flores, Indonesia
Material: brass

This is taka, a pendant in double ax-head shape. The form is amazingly similar to the Sumba marangga but there does not seem to be an awareness in Flores that there is similar jewelry on the other island.

These taka pendant is typical Ngada pieces, used throughout the Bajawa area. Adat experts there asserted that the shape represents an ax. Taka are worn by men or women around the neck on a chain or suspended singly from a headband worn above the eyebrows. They are used as part of the bridewealth payments and can also be inherited from one's parents. The taka apparently have a certain sacred quality, for they may only be taken out of their special strongboxes into the daylight after a small animal such as a piglet has been sacrificed.

Selasa, 07 Juli 2015

Toraja rice barn panel: "Art from the Mountain"

Toraja rice barn panel

Origin: Toraja, Sulawesi (Celebes), Indonesia
Material: wood

The name Toraja refers to a number of ethnic group inhabiting the mountainous regions of southwestern and central Sulawesi, an Indonesian island formerly called Celebes. The word may be derived from To-ri-aja, Men of the Mountain, a name given to them by the Buginese, one of the other ethnic groups inhabiting South Sulawesi.

The traditional house and the rice-barn are an expression of the esthetic feeling of the Toraja and of his craftmanship. Today, many houses and rice-barns are lavishly decorated with leaf patterns, scrolls, meanders, double spirals, sun-motifs, buffalo head and so on. Carved objects in Torajan houses and barns are an expression of the natural environment and are linked to the highest god in Torajan beliefs (Aluk Todolo). Most of the carved motifs on Toraja houses and granaries suggest fertility and prosperity, concepts that are closely related, if not identical, from the local viewpoint. House and rice-barns, the ends of their roofs upturned, look like proas. In fact, the Toraja themselves point out the resemblance of their dwellings to ships.

Selasa, 10 Maret 2015

Adu so bawa zihono

Adu so bawa zihono
Origin: South Nias, North Sumatra, Indonesia.
Material: Wood.

Adu so bawa zihono, "image of a thousand faces", are the largest type of ancestors figures seen in South Nias and their name refers to the relief carvings of faces that invariably appear on the forked projections, daha, of these armless figures. These adu were made to alleviate misfortunes due to sins. The enlarged sex organs of these adu symbolize the fertility of crops and animals resulting from succesful headhunting, traditionally a social responsibility of young males. If young men did not fulfill their duty as warriors, misfortune might befall the community. Villagers would then respond to the consequent disaster by commisioning adu buwa zihono sculptures.

Rabu, 21 Januari 2015

Hampatong: "Art from the Rainforest"

Hampatong Pataho

Origin: Bahau clan, Dayak Borneo, Indonesia.
Material: Ironwood

The indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, collectively known as the Dayak, built large, communal longhouses along the banks of major rivers and tributaries.
To honor the dead and protect the living, the Dayak peoples create a variety of wood figures, known collectively as Hampatong, portraying individual ancestors, animals, supernatural creatures, spirit guardians or nature deities. Large Hampatong, such as the present work, are of two basic types: Tajahan (images commemorating the dead), and Pataho (guardian figures erected to protect the community). 
According to Dayak belief, figurative representations dispelled evil spirits and brought good fortune. Each Hampatong was carved for a specific purpose and personified a particular spirit or deity. 
The spirit of the deceased had to inhabit the Hampatong before it could begin its long and dangerous journey to the next world.
This imposing Hampatong depicts a male Hampatong Pataho portraying a guardian figure. With elegantly elongated torso and teeth bared ferociously, this striking Hampatong has the heart-shaped face, sunken cheeks and bold round eyes typical of Bahau imagery. This figure's elaborate headdress and earrings suggest that it probably represents a deceased person of high rank. The figure is finely carved from a single piece of first quality ironwood and showing a deep yet beautiful erosion from top to bottom due to time spent outdoor planted in the ground.
This figurated post was frequently put at the house entrance to ward off evil spirits and illnesses. It was also placed along paths leading to the houses, or at village boundaries.

Rabu, 14 Januari 2015

Leti altar (Upulera)

Leti Altar

Origin: Leti island, South East Mollucas, Indonesia.
Material: Wood.

Between New Guinea and Timor, spread throughout the Banda Sea, lie the islands of South East Mollucas. For the most part it is made up of uplifted coral islands - small and barren in the west, somewhat larger and more wooded in the east - where the standard of living is low. On some of the islands famine occurs regularly due to infertile soil and a shortage of rainwater.
Despite their challenging environment, the inhabitants of South East Mollucas have produced works of art of impressive beauty and profound meaning. Consequently, the ancestor statues of Leti and Tanimbar, as well as the jewelry and fabric of Kisar and Tanimbar, have been highly desired by collectors for many years.
Regrettably, the production of most of these objects ceased nearly a century ago. This resulted primarily from the increasing influence of the Dutch colonizers at the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as the related efforts of Christian missionaries.
In South East Mollucas islands, the boat represents a woman in which, after conception, new life can thrive. In essence the boat can be compared to the womb. In the Kai, Tanimbar, and Babar archipelagos, as well as on the islands of Luang, Sermata, Leti and Damar, the boat not only served as a means of transport; it was also considered an important model of society. The occupants of houses and villages saw themselves as a ship's crew, a view that was expressed in various ways. 
The form of this figure indicates the Sun God, the legendary creator ancestor whose union with the earth goddess produces fertility. It was carved in either Babar or Leti because they display several characteristic aspect of South East Mollucan iconography. The heavenly deity, the Sun God, was portrayed as a male figure (although the gender is not specially emphasized), often sitting in a boat or a boat-shaped construction which usually had a beautifully worked stern. The ancestor face is dominated by extraordinary large noses, set just below the downward-angled eyes, which reach almost to the chin. The eyes were inlaid with shell. Ornaments indicating high status are carved on the figure and include a pair of dangling earrings, a headdress with a horizontal band, a comb like extension on the top, and a pair of decorative leg bands below the knees. The ancestor' back rest against carved post that rise high above the figure and that terminate in rounded form. Similarly shaped post extend from the back of the altar, carved with open scroll work like that of the crescent boat form. The woodwork around the ancestor and its offering cups is extensively carved with spiral forms and four petaled flowers. Offerings are placed before the altar during rituals to ensure human and agricultural productivity. The spiral form is undoubtedly the most dominant decorative motif and is found on practically all statues in the region. Decorations often also include representations of the founding ancestors, either in the shape of a human or an animal figure. In the latter case, the animal is often a cock, a dog or a fish-like creature. 
The whole statue was mounted on a post about three meters in height and often stood on a stone base located at the "stern" or east end of the village ritual center. It was thought that earthly life was dependent on the cosmic marriage between the heavenly deity and the earth goddess, a dependence relationship that was expressed in the depiction of the male deity as a helmsman. The combination of helmsman and sun manifests itself also in the orientation of a boat during construction: the stern post must be directed eastwards, the direction of the rising sun. Moreover, divine combination of helmsman and sun is traditionally expressed in the decorative motifs on the stern board and at the top of the stern post.