VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Prow ornament
RMV 135-35.
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The very rare wooden bird figures from Enggano Island are a personal fascination of the curator. The gracious way they are carved only adds to this. By dr Pieter ter Keurs, Curator Insular Southeast Asian Collections, Leiden.

History of the Object
It is not known how Hakbijl acquired the bird figure. He was probably a dealer in art and rarities, since his name also occurs in the inventory books of other European museums (such as the British Museum).

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
Wood; and mother-of-pearl 
Measurements
Width 29,5 cm. Height 22 cm. Length 25 cm.  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Where it was made
Indonesia, Enggano 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
Before 1871 
Function
These wooden figures used to be canoe decorations. They depict fast-flying herons which stimulate the canoe’s speed and guarantee a good catch. 
Acquisition
Purchased by the museum in 1871 from Mr. A. Hakbijl 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State property of The Netherlands 
Museum
National Museum of Ethnology, Rijksmuseum Volkenkunde 
Credit line
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden, the Netherlands 

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