Melawi River region
west Kalimantan, Indonesia
early-mid 19th century
307.0 (h) x 22.5 (w) cm
National Museum of Ethnology, Leiden
Hampatong with human features often depict recently deceased ancestors. Created as a home for the soul before it travels to the afterlife, the figures are placed close to dwellings. The effigies are intended to ward off danger and provide spiritual protection to the longhouse inhabitants. Squatting atop a pole, this figure with tongue protruding in a gesture of aggression is dressed only in an elaborate headdress. Eyes and parts of the ornate carving are inlaid with porcelain, a valued trade item in Borneo.