Pierre Nachbaur

“Majapahit Terracotta”, by Soedarmadji J.H. Damais

The result of 30 years of personal research in the field, this book showcases amateur art historian and independent scholar Soedarmadji Jean Henry Damais’ private collection of terracotta artifacts from the Indonesian Majapahit Era (13th to 16th century). Resembling a museum catalogue with tastefully shot pictures of the works, Damais has selected just 73 of his extensive collection that is made up of hundreds of pieces. These select works cover the whole range of antique production from this era. The main aim for the author is to help people learn about the value of terracotta works from this era, as in the past the materials focussed on have been artefacts made from gold, bronze and stone. He also explains the diverse functions of the artefacts which range from ‘architectural elements to garden furniture and household utensils.

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Seated Male Ritual Figure of a Warrior or Shaman

Awesomely, if not sternly, seated upon a raised dais or throne, this stern figure depicts a strong male figure. Small wooden sculptures are used for a variety of purposes by the Dayak ethnic groups of Central Borneo — amulets hung from necklaces, decorations for lids of bamboo containers used for the storage of magical substances and on rare occasions, as in this case, free standing statuettes that may have function as ancestor statues.

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Heirloom storage Lidded Box with sacred motifs

This beautiful wooden box would have been used by an aristocrat of either the closely related Nage or Ngadu tribe of Flores Island to carry valuables. These could include heirloom gold jewellery, coins or even perhaps small copper alloy ancestor statuettes. It is fitted with holes on the sides of the top and bottom for the insertion of now missing cords that would allow it to be carried on the shoulder like a purse. There is also a visible hole in the front that would have been used for a peg to lock the box.

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