Stopper from a Bamboo Medicine Container

Dayak, Nagju, Borneo
19th Century

Dayak shaman store magical substances in bamboo containers; wooden stoppers such as this example are carved to protect the magical materials inside. This stopper is carved in the classic Dayak rendition of a mythological feline beast. The posture of the figure's body is conceived with good use of negative space and fine details such as a curled tail carved in relief on its back. The menacing face with large eye orbits and deeply carved mouth showing exposed teeth is meant to intimidate the spirits. The surface is encrusted with soot from generations of storage. This is a very early example.

This stopper stands 5 inches tall.

SOLD / IN 8-2-10