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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Amulet Figure from a Soul Ship

Dayak, Borneo, Indonesia
Early 20th Century

Small wooden ships filled with figures were suspended by palm fiber ropes in Dayak Longhouses. These ships were physical reminders of the inhabitant’s ancestors and of the afterlife. They symbolized the transportation of deceased souls to the land of the dead. This figure would have been placed in one of these ships. Carved from a small tree branch, this figure exhibits fantastic movement and plasticity. The arms of the figure still retain the natural shape of the branch.

Amulet Figure from a Soul Ship

Dayak, Borneo, Indonesia
Early 20th Century

Small wooden ships filled with figures were suspended by palm fiber ropes in Dayak Longhouses. These ships were physical reminders of the inhabitant’s ancestors and of the afterlife. They symbolized the transportation of deceased souls to the land of the dead. This figure would have been placed in one of these ships. Carved from a small tree branch, this figure exhibits fantastic movement and plasticity. The arms of the figure still retain the natural shape of the branch.

 

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