Dayak Ancestral Figure, Kalimantan, Borneo
height 72in (183cm)
Private Collection, New York
Hampatong is a general term for a statue or figure. These figures might have served a number of different purposes. In this instance, since both male and female images are depicted, it is likely that they represent a mythical ancestral couple. Such ancestors are believed to protect a village by warding off evil spirits. Dayak art is distinguished by the incorporation of many, floral motifs and curvilinear designs, as seen on the hats that these figures are wearing.
Carved of extremely dense hardwood and represents an ancestor of royalty or nobility, as a chief. He wears a rattan hat of conical form over his prominent head and bears a long, thin moustache above his tight lips. Slender nose, raised cheeks and carved eyes
recessed slightly beneath the curved brows. The low relief vest represents one made of pangolin skin, and he holds a betel nut mortar in his hands in front of the suspended sash. He stands on slender, but well defined legs. Very weathered surface from decades of exposure giving the surface a wonderful grainy texture. Organic spongy orange growth in some of the craggy recesses
and remnants of white pigment in spotted areas. Some loss on back of head, rear, left shoulder, belt and one buttock. Feet missing from instep.
- Please note there is a TL report dating the work to approximately 1730-1800.