|Dayak Hampatong guardian figure
|Hampatong maternity guardian figure - Bahau, Dayak, Borneo, Indonesia
ironwood, 19th century
ex Bruce Frank Primitive Art
I find unusual placement and/or pose of the child in maternity figures interesting. This sculpture has some very unusual qualities
regarding the carving of the child. As you can see in the photo (above right), the child's arms are carved coming up underneath the
mother's legs and one of the child's feet is placed in front of the mother's leg, while the other leg is carved behind the mother's other
leg. The right hands of both of the figures have elongated almost claw-like fingers.
Bruce Frank states about this figure:
"This maternity figure was most likely situated in the veranda of the long house structure. Its weathered gray surface shows evidence
of being exposed to the outside elements. The figure is carved in high relief with great depth. The flat back signifies that the figure
was originally incorporated into a larger architectural structure. The saw marks at the bottom of the figure show the point at which the
figure was detached from the larger structure. Both the mother and child have powerful, expressive features. The right hand of the
mother has claws for fingers, which are an indication of the early period during which the hampatong was carved."
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