Protective 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 tools of a very hard steel for processing, as the tool is exposed 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 deceased on the burial grounds and as guards in front of their longhouses.

In this Hampatong a Janus figure (double sex) is depicted with the male part holding a fish in his hand and two animals crawling over it. The female part of the sculpture touches her navel, a reference to birth, life and energy. The male side with the fish in his hand is connected to feed the clan.

Object Protective figure “hampatong” 
Culture Borneo, East-Kalimantan
Time 20th century
Dimensions Height 234 cm
Material Ironwood
Supplementing Literature Back to room view