Lot: 2

Sale 100

Sitting female figure "hampatong"

Indonesia - Borneo, Dayak

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Alfred Weissenegger, Winklarn, Austria
Private Collection Austria
H: 30.7 inch This object is not available anymore.

wood, base

It depicts the body of a mature woman who has already given birth to children. Across her back she carries the scaly body of an animal, which was probably meant to enhance the figure's spiritual power. She was probably once part of a pair of male-female figures representing important ancestral or clan founders, placed in a ceremonial hut.

It is an interesting example of figures known as "hampatong", which are among the most important artistic creations of the Dayak.

The word "hampatong" ("tempatong or "kepatong") refers to figures made of wood in general. They vary greatly in size, can reach dimensions of up to 1.5 m or higher, and are sometimes built on posts. There is a tremendous stylistic range in these sculptures, and specific function and use vary according to ethnic group.

"Hampatong" were placed in front of ceremonial huts and longhouses, at the village entrance or on riverbanks near the village.

They fulfilled important functions, such as protection against spirits, diseases and enemies. There are "hampatong" set up in connection with headhunting for slain enemies ("tajahan kayau") and others set up for dead persons at mortuary feasts ("tajahan tiwah"). The largest "hampatong" were erected at the village entrance. They were meant to protect the village from epidemics and misfortunes that could affect the whole group.

Stöhr, Waldemar, Art of the archaic Indonesians, Geneva o.J., p. 97f. Feldman, Jerome, The eloquent dead, Los Angeles 1985, p. 118ff.