Ancestor figure „hampatong“

The wooden sculpture is carved from one piece of ironwood. Many tree species are known as ironwood in the tropics. The wood has an extreme density and requires carbide-tipped tools for processing, as the tool is subject to rapid wear.

Hampatong is the name for such ancestor and protective figures made of hard wood. They are placed by the Dayak groups on Borneo both as memorial sculptures for the deceased on the burial grounds and as guards in front of their longhouses.

In this hampatong a mother with child is depicted. The child, which touches the mother’s nipple, can only be born after the husband has captured a head. Something must first pass before something new can be created.

Object Ancestor figure, “hampatong” mother with child
Culture Borneo, Kalimantan
Time 20th century
Dimensions Height 182,5 cm
Material Ironwood
Supplementing Literature Back to room view