Wednesday, June 6, 2007



Material: Composite
Region: Lake Toba
Dimensions: C. 8 inches

In THE ELOQUENT DEAD, edited by Jerome Feldman, page 87-88, it is stated that, "No matter what precautions are taken, there will be ancestors that have no place in the spirit world. These begu, or malevolent spirits, can be persuaded to take up residence in pagar - charms - and serve the men who control the pagar. Pagar means 'fence' and designates, according to Barbier, 'a natural or manufactured object....which has the power to keep away evil spirits or to protect against witchcraft' ". The pagar talisman would be activated by special incantations spoken by the shaman. This old pagar depicts a female figure with large, pointed breasts. Bone fragments are bound to the lower portion of the front of the figure with fiber cordage. A conical iron tip supports the figure above. Plugs in the head and abdomen seal the openings which have been filled with pukpuk, a ritually charged substance unique to the Batak. Good, old patina. 19th century.

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