Shaman's Medicine Container

Karo Batak tribe, Sumatra, Indonesia, 19th century
This container is a remarkably

fine example of craftmanship. The stopper is made from wood that has a deep, dark, glossy black patina. It is carved in the form of two ancestor figures mounted onto the back of a stylized singha, an important, protective mythological creature in Batak lore. The carved stopper fits into an old Chinese porcelain trade jar, which has been covered in a tightly woven cord. A part of the front left arm on the bottom figure is missing, as well as a section of the singha's tail.
Overall, the container is in very good condition and shows great age.

It stands 61/4 inches tall.