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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
208 W 83rd St NYC
+1 212 579 3596

Coffin End

Dayak, East Borneo, Indonesia
19th Century or before

This guardian from a coffin is skillfully carved and a dynamic example of Dayak art. The figure is carved in an animated style; it appears to be springing forward away from the coffin it originally terminated.  In the past, the Dayak created wooden coffins for high ranking members of their tribe that had anthropomorphic figures carved on both the ends of the coffin. These figures were typically carved in an aggressive and animated style. It is thought this posture both served to protect the deceased and actually transport the coffin to the upper spirit world. These coffins were stored in small caves on cliffs. This coffin end is carved from light wood, and its patina is typical of wooden sculptures found in these burial caves.

Coffin End

Dayak, East Borneo, Indonesia
19th Century or before

This guardian from a coffin is skillfully carved and a dynamic example of Dayak art. The figure is carved in an animated style; it appears to be springing forward away from the coffin it originally terminated.  In the past, the Dayak created wooden coffins for high ranking members of their tribe that had anthropomorphic figures carved on both the ends of the coffin. These figures were typically carved in an aggressive and animated style. It is thought this posture both served to protect the deceased and actually transport the coffin to the upper spirit world. These coffins were stored in small caves on cliffs. This coffin end is carved from light wood, and its patina is typical of wooden sculptures found in these burial caves.