| Priest's container for magic potions [naga marsarang]

Toba Batak people
north Sumatra, Indonesia
 

Priest's container for magic potions [naga marsarang] 19th century
buffalo horn, wood, iron, plant fibre
33.0 (h) x 53.0 (w) x 12.0 (d) cm
Purchased 2005
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2005.149.A-B

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Batak priests [datu] use magic instruments and potions to harness and influence powerful spirits. Special containers are created to store their mysterious medicines. The stopper of this water buffalo horn vessel is in the form of a singa—a mythical chimera of lion, reptile, human, horse and water buffalo. A fierce protective creature, the singa is often associated with the datu.




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