Vintage Toba Batak figures from Sumatra
SYMBOLS OF GUIDANCE AND SPIRITUALITY
This very special set of Toba Batak statues was hand carved in wood by local artisans on the island of Sumatra, made according to ancient tradition sometime during the 1970's. It's the only set of its kind in our collection today.
The Toba are the largest group of the Batak people in the north of Sumatra, with numerous kingdoms and dynasties across their long history. In the pre-Christian era, priest-magicians called datu made sculptures made of wood, or occasionally of stone for their villages and families. The function of these sculptures was always magical and religious, never just decorative. Among the Batak, all ancestor figures, mythological creatures and ritual objects were carved exclusively by the datu. Even so, sculptures were also highly valued for their beauty, preserved as sacred heirlooms in families for many generations.