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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Pagar Power Figure

Batak tribe Sumatra, Indonesia, 19th c

Provenance: Old European collection

Shamans or datus used these objects to control the spirit world and keep evil spirits away from the village. The wooden cavity on the figure’s chest, just above its thumbs, contains pukpuk, which is a mixture of organic substances that activates the figure’s magical qualities. The figure is carved in an elongated stylized fashion; and when viewed from profile the subtle curves of the sculpture are revealed.  This example is also quite large and impressive, with strong and oversized hands and ears.  The patina is dark and deep, attesting to its great age and repeated ritual use. The wood used is heavy and dense.   Overall, it’s in very good condition, the splits seen in the wood are old and stabilized.

Pagar Power Figure

Batak tribe Sumatra, Indonesia
19th c

Provenance: Old European collection

Shamans or datus used these objects to control the spirit world and keep evil spirits away from the village. The wooden cavity on the figure’s chest, just above its thumbs, contains pukpuk, which is a mixture of organic substances that activates the figure’s magical qualities. The figure is carved in an elongated stylized fashion; and when viewed from profile the subtle curves of the sculpture are revealed.  This example is also quite large and impressive, with strong and oversized hands and ears.  The patina is dark and deep, attesting to its great age and repeated ritual use. The wood used is heavy and dense.   Overall, it’s in very good condition, the splits seen in the wood are old and stabilized.

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