| Architectural finial in the form of a mythical creature [aso]

Ngaju people
Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia
 

Architectural finial in the form of a mythical creature [aso] 19th century
wood, paint
10.2 (h) x 96.5 (w) x 25.4 (d) cm
Purchased 2006
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
NGA 2006.853

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Like many Southeast Asian cultures, Borneo communities view the underworld as the realm of the dragon goddess and a source of fertility. Sacrifices to the dragon-serpent secure agricultural success and human fecundity. These legendary creatures provide protection in daily life and also in death. Painted and incised with curvilinear imagery, this sculpture was probably fixed to the end of the roof gable of a funerary mausoleum. As naming the dragon is considered dangerous, these creatures are referred to as aso or dog.




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