L: 70 cm (approx. 2’ 4”)
Estimated age: 19th century or earlier
Provenance: Austrian private collection
“Modang” is a generic term covering a complex of culturally related groups living in the Kutai Regency of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, along the Mahakam River and its tributaries. The ritual life of the Modang is extremely rich. Transition rites (birth, naming, marriage, funerals) are carried out by ritual specialists, who are also spirit mediums (lun enjuk). Previously, most of these ceremonies, when done for the chief’s family, required human heads as well as the building of the great house.
The Modang also have a rich craft tradition of mat making, basketry, beadwork, iron forging, and wood carving, which has achieved a high degree of skill as evidenced by house posts, boards, doors, and staircases with intricate motifs of spirits, animals, and ornamental designs. Part of a bigger statue showing an “Aso” figure combined with an anthropomorphic head. Carved from heavy wood, old patina.