VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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magician ritual knife, piso ni datu
70.2001.27.512.1-2
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Marvellously carved, this datu knife sums up the Toba-Batak universe. It is also one of the very rare sculptures known with inlaid human teeth, one in the head of the singa, and the other in the middle of the rider's chest. The sculptor has given to the singa's human face a great strengh. A frieze of naked human figures animates the top of the sheath. Two intertwined snakes making a braid take part of the vertical dynamic which ends up with the exceptional tension of the rider's curve.

History of the Object
unknown

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Type
Sculpture 
Materials
wood, human teeth 
Measurements
Height 32,5 cm  
Creator name
Toba Batak 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Indonesia; North Sumatra 
Geography
Indonesia 
Time period
AD 15th century ~ AD 17th century 
Creation date
15th Century - 17th Century; datation carbone 14. Between 1479 and 1673. 
Function
This type of knife, very well carved, was the property of the "datu". It was certainly used for cérémonial sacrifice. 
Acquisition
Formerly in the Barbier-Mueller collection, Geneva. Acquired by the museum in 2001. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Musée du quai Branly 
Museum
Musée du quai Branly 
Credit line
 

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