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An image of 'Penji' memorial grave marker by An image of 'Penji' memorial grave marker by

East Sumba, Indonesia

'Penji' memorial grave marker
Place of origin
East SumbaIndonesia
late 19th century
Media categories
Ceremonial object, Sculpture
Materials used

220.0 x 65.0 x 20.0 cm

Gift of Nomadic Rug Traders 2006
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

East Sumbanese tombs consist of a horizontal dolmen structure ('reti') and vertical grave markers ('penji'). The sculptural motifs on a 'penji' commemorate the life and achievements of the deceased. On the side of this sculpture is a weaver at her loom and a hunting scene. A snake and the potent mamuli design appear on the front. Mamuli are ritual objects invested with the capacity to mediate between the human world and realm of ancestral spirits. Invoking the form of the female generative organ, the motif is a powerful fertility symbol. A powerful crocodile crowns the penji stone.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2006.

Bibliography (1)

Nomadic Rug Traders (Editor), Newsletter, Sydney, 2006, 1(colour illus.). The colour illus. on page 1 is a detail showing the weaver at her loom.