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Ironwood Carved Ancestral Male Figure from Borneo (circa 1930s - 50s)


SKU 0899

Ironwood carved ancestral male figure from Borneo (circa 1930s - 50s). A traditional headdress-wearing male figure stands squarely on both feet. His facial features present inset eyes, a long nose and pouting lips with wide-open eyes. A characterful, aged patina is found throughout with remnants of colour which have peeled over time. Upon request a video of the statue can be provided. The statue is in fair vintage condition commensurate with age and use. There are several prominent blemishes, cracks and markings due to age. One of the feet has been halved and a crack exists between the statues two lower extremities. These do not detract overall aesthetically from this significant piece but simply attest to its age and add interest by and large.

As background, in this culture, ancestors are not vague, distant entities from a mythological past but rather extraordinary beings belonging to the here and now. The link between the living and the eternal spirits of the dead is an unending cycle of rituals that often re-enact those of the original founding couple of a village, clan or peoples whose lore is handed down orally from generation to generation. Ancestor statues hewn of wood and stone are not uncommon. Although sacred and held in great esteem, these effigies are not idols, but rather temporal 'sitting' places of ancestral spirits during periodic early visitations accompanied by grand feasts. In Borneo, their animistic folk religion states human life must be a balance and kept in harmony between man and spirits and between man and his natural environment. This is also the basic concept of the Balinese Hindu religion. (ref: Indonesian Tribal Art by Bruce W. Carptender, 2015). 

Dimensions (without stand):

H 51 cm / 20.1"

W 9.0 cm / 3.5"

D 4.5 cm / 1.8"