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Early 20th C. Indonesian Sumba Island Wooden Spindle

Southeast Asia, Indonesia, ca. early to mid 20th century CE. A hand-carved wooden spindle, rectangular and topped by a human-like head, also carved from wood, nailed in place to give the spindle an anthropomorphic appearance. The body of the spindle is carved with low relief diamond and "X" patterns. Two large, cuboid holes are through the body of the spindle; a similar-sized shape is cut out near the top of the piece to accommodate the head, but does not go all the way through the body. This is meant to be a male figure, and if you look closely at the sides, you can see low relief, abstract arms carved onto the body. On the island of Sumba, the spinning of fibers into thread is seen as symbolic of the process of new life growing within the womb, and as a result young women are expected to be proficient at spinning thread before marriage. Size: 2.05" W x 17.9" H (5.2 cm x 45.5 cm); 19.5" H (49.5 cm) on included custom stand.

Condition: Rich patina on surface from age and handling. Nice preservation of motifs.

Provenance: private Johnson collection, Los Angeles, California, USA

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