Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Figure, One of a Pair

Date:
late 19th–early 20th century
Geography:
Indonesia, Sumatra
Culture:
Toba Batak people
Medium:
Wood, metal
Dimensions:
H. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm)
Classification:
Wood-Sculpture
Credit Line:
Gift of Fred and Rita Richman, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.1137.4.2
Not on view
One of a pair of matched male and female images from the Toba Batak people of Sumatra. Each figure is carved from dark brown wood and seated on a tapering, roughly circular base, with the legs drawn in towards the body and the hands clasping the knees. The male figure wears a flat headdress surmounted by a backward curving projection, probably representing a plume of hair, while long hair is shown gathered at the back, projecting upwards at the nape of the neck. The female figure has a smooth, gently domed head with no indication of hair. The ears of both figures are carved in high relief and show the artificial extension of the earlobes formerly practiced by the Batak. Both figures have eyes which are inlaid with grey metal. The carving style, though economical, is expressive. Sloping angular forms indicate the pectoral muscles of the male figure while these in the female slope upwards to indicate breasts. Simple incised lines indicate fingers and toes, and while the base of the male figure is undecorated, the base of the female figure is incised with curvilinear foliate motifs.


Further reading

Hersey, Irwin. Indonesian Primitive Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Capistrano-Baker, Florina H. Art of Island Southeast Asia: The Fred and Rita Richman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.
[Ben Tursch, Brussels, until 1977]; Fred and Rita Richman, Sarasota, FL, 1977–2013

Hersey, Irwin. Indonesian Primitive Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

Capistrano-Baker, Florina H. Art of Island Southeast Asia: The Fred and Rita Richman Collection in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994.



Related Objects

Puppet Head (Si Gale-gale)

Date: late 19th–early 20th century Medium: Wood, copper alloy, lead alloy, water buffalo horn, paint Accession: 1987.453.6 On view in:Gallery 355

Container for Magical Substances (Perminangken [?])

Date: 19th–early 20th century Medium: Wood, Chinese trade ceramic Accession: 1988.124.2a, b On view in:Gallery 355

Ritual Seat for a Noble (Osa' osa)

Date: 19th century Medium: Stone Accession: 1988.125.1 On view in:Gallery 355

Finial from a Ritual Staff (Tungkot Malehat)

Date: 19th–early 20th century Medium: Copper alloy, resin Accession: 1988.143.141 On view in:Gallery 355

Ancestor Figure (Adu Zatua)

Date: 19th–early 20th century Medium: Wood, paint Accession: 1988.143.64 On view in:Gallery 355