Lampung, Sumatra, Indonesia
Backrest for a throne of honour
19th century or earlier
118.5 (h) x 199.0 (w) x 6.7 (d) cm
Musée du quai Branly, Paris
© 2010 Musée du quai Branly Photograph: Thierry Ollivier/Michel Urtado/Scala, Florence
Thrones of honour [pepadon] are central to the great feasts of merit held in Lampung, south Sumatra, to celebrate wealth and rank. Prominent nobles sponsor elaborate and expensive feasts at which many buffalo are sacrificed in the quest for titles, higher status and indicators of power such as the right to use the pepadon.
For centuries, thrones with ornate backs [sesako] have been carved from wood. Sesako display imagery from both the upper and lower realms, with snakes and serpents appearing with bird and tree motifs. The realistically portrayed human head at the apex of this sesako may depict the specific ancestor who commissioned the throne for his own feast.