Loan Object
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Incised Container (Solep)

19th century

Bamboo

42 x 4.5 x 4.5 cm (16 9/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 in.) base: 7.5 x 7.5 x 5.5 cm (2 15/16 x 2 15/16 x 2 3/16 in.)
Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971
ILE2012.30.325

This container is covered with intricate narrative scenes that represent the lower world of water spirits, the earthly world of humans, and the upper world of birds and celestial beings. The center depicts a river with fish, crocodiles, dragon-like figures, and, most prominently, a fabled fish trap (mihin) that catches precious Chinese gongs and ceramics instead of fish. The two outer panels show women beating gongs and pounding rice, in preparation for a funeral ceremony (tiwah), while birds and spirits fly above. Following a death, the tiwah is essential to the restoration of cosmic order. A similar container, collected in the early twentieth century and now in the National Museum in Jakarta, Indonesia, was made by Dambung Singa, a Ngaju religious expert. He died long before the object was collected.

Culture: 
Ngaju
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Containers - Other
Geography: 
Made in Borneo, Indonesia
Status: 
On view*
Provenance: 

Seller: S. Alpert, Dallas. Ex-collection: S. Alpert, Dallas

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.