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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Wooden Roof Finial from a Rumah Gendang, Ritual House

Flores, Indonesia
Early 20th c

Provenance: Old American collection

The traditional house from the Manggarai region in Flores is named Rumah Gendang, it is where important rituals were performed and gongs, small drums and shields where stored for use during traditional dances.  Atop the roof a wooden finial was erected for protection and to pay tribute to important ancestors.  The most common type erected were in the form of a buffalo, which is a symbol of status and wealth, and it is of immense ritual importance as well, as they were sacrificed in great numbers to accompany the souls of the deceased to the afterlife.  This example represents a human ancestor, and is carved in the form of an anthropomorphic bust.  At both sides of the head there are deeply carved cavities where actual horns from a sacred buffalo were originally inserted.

Wooden Roof Finial from a Rumah Gendang, Ritual House

Flores, Indonesia
Early 20th c

Provenance: Old American collection

The traditional house from the Manggarai region in Flores is named Rumah Gendang, it is where important rituals were performed and gongs, small drums and shields where stored for use during traditional dances.  Atop the roof a wooden finial was erected for protection and to pay tribute to important ancestors.  The most common type erected were in the form of a buffalo, which is a symbol of status and wealth, and it is of immense ritual importance as well, as they were sacrificed in great numbers to accompany the souls of the deceased to the afterlife.  This example represents a human ancestor, and is carved in the form of an anthropomorphic bust.  At both sides of the head there are deeply carved cavities where actual horns from a sacred buffalo were originally inserted.

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