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Early 20th C. Important Dayak Reliquary Guardian Figure

Indonesia, Borneo, Central Kalimantan, Dayak peoples, ca. early 20th century CE. A standing guardian figure, hand-carved from wood, with clear male genitalia, a rounded belly, and arms raised over his head, holding a platter-style item atop his head. Two round, bead-like red eyes are inset into the face; its only other defining feature is a small slit for a mouth. Figures like these were placed into ossuary shrines in caves, under overhangs, and on cliff ledges, laid on their backs, assisting in rituals to venerate the dead; most are only known from ethnographic accounts from the very early 20th century, and remaining ones are rare. Size: 3.35" W x 9.4" H (8.5 cm x 23.9 cm)

See a larger example at Sotheby's: http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/lot.28.html/2013/so-stone-n09040

Condition: One foot has been reattached. Loss to one side of his other foot. Inactive insect damage to the lost foot. Extensive deposited patina.

Provenance: collection of the late Peter Arnovick, San Francisco, California, USA

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