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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
+1 917 733 9589

Pagar Figure

Batak tribe, Sumatra, Indonesia
19th-early 20th c

Provenance: Collected before WW 2, by Leo JW Ostrum a Dutch national involved in the Tin mining business in Sumatra.  He was interned by the Japanese during the war.  At the wars end, he migrated to Canada.

In the 1970’s the dealer James Willis acquired this figure along with the entire Ostrum collection.

Pager figures defended against evil spirits. Instilled with apotropaic powers, these figures contained the souls of people who died. Honored with offerings and incarnations, these figures could be used to communicate with the ancestors. 

This is a very dramatic example of a Pagar figure.  Carved in a “cubistic” style, it’s a brilliant conception of a sculpture and demonstrates the capacity of Batak carvers.  In addition to exhibiting raw sculptural qualities with its atypical ‘Zigzag’ form; this figure draws the viewer in with its heavy encrusted surface and original ‘Pupuk’ charge. Its original arms are made of separate pieces of wood, that are attached to the figure with old nails. This figure has all the elements of a true magic object. In excellent condition.

Pagar Figure

Batak tribe, Sumatra, Indonesia
19th-early 20th c

Provenance: Collected before WW 2, by Leo JW Ostrum a Dutch national involved in the Tin mining business in Sumatra.  He was interned by the Japanese during the war.  At the wars end, he migrated to Canada.

In the 1970’s the dealer James Willis acquired this figure along with the entire Ostrum collection.

Pager figures defended against evil spirits. Instilled with apotropaic powers, these figures contained the souls of people who died. Honored with offerings and incarnations, these figures could be used to communicate with the ancestors. 

This is a very dramatic example of a Pagar figure.  Carved in a “cubistic” style, it’s a brilliant conception of a sculpture and demonstrates the capacity of Batak carvers.  In addition to exhibiting raw sculptural qualities with its atypical ‘Zigzag’ form; this figure draws the viewer in with its heavy encrusted surface and original ‘Pupuk’ charge. Its original arms are made of separate pieces of wood, that are attached to the figure with old nails. This figure has all the elements of a true magic object. In excellent condition.

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