Lot: 5

Magic staff "tunggal panaluan"

Indonesia - Sumatra, Toba-Batak

Provenance Size Hammer price
Castor-Hara, Drouot-Richelieu, Paris, 16 December 2013, Lot 167
Berry de Bruijn, Breda, The Netherlands
H: 69.3 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, animal hair, fabric, metal, base

These staffs are among the most important ritual objects of a "datu" priest and were usually made by him. Their rich and powerful imagery combines human and animal figures, ordered in a hierarchy strictly determined by the esoteric knowledge of the "datu" priests. The staffs were animated by inserting the magical substance "pupuk" into the heads and chests of the figures.

The "tunggal panaluan" were believed to have so much power that, to prevent disaster, they were never stored inside the house but under the eaves of the "datu's" hut. Small separate buildings "pantangan" were sometimes built to house the most powerful examples.

The history of the staff derives from mythology. The story goes about twins turning into trees as punishment for incest. From that time on that kind of staffs were made out of the wood of that very special tree.

The staffs had many functions. They offered protection from fire, warned of coming hostilities and could drive away diseases. They were believed to be able to make rain and drive away storms, as well as to bring sickness and death to enemies. It was also believed that the wand could ensure the fertility of fields, people and animals.

Sibeth, Achim, Mit den Ahnen leben, Stuttgart 1990, p. 129 ff.