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Title

Barkcloth mallet (la'uma solowo)

mid 20th century-late 20th century


Artists

Unknown Artist


About

Unlike many ancestral and animist cultures throughout the Indonesian archipelago, Nias society lacks a strong tradition of textile weaving. While simple woven cloth was produced using back-strap looms on the island, the use of plaindyed barkcloth and imported cotton, which was then embellished with embroidery and appliqué, was far more widespread.

The earliest known textiles of the Austronesian language groups in mainland and insular Southeast Asia were fabricated by beating the bark of trees to produce a felted cloth. Heavy instruments of stone and wood were used to produce various grades of barkcloth, from thick unfinished hides, which provided excellent physical protection, to softer cloth used for refined garments and accessories. This unusual mallet depicts a distinctive male adu image wearing a pronged headdress and clasping a small cup. The figure renders the object decorative rather than functional and was probably carved subsequent to its practical use.


Details


Place where the work was made

Nias Indonesia


Date

mid 20th century-late 20th century


Media category

Woodwork


Materials used

wood


Dimensions

30 x 8 x 13 cm


Credit

Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010


Location

Not on display


Accession number

523.2010



Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history


  • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019


Provenance


Christopher Wilson, pre Nov 1986-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in Indonesia. Appears in 'Southeast Asian tribal art', an unpublished text by Christopher Wilson, College of Fine Arts, Sydney, November 1986.

Mariann Ford, 1996-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, inherited from the estate of Christopher Wilson. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.


Referenced in 2 publications

Bibliography


Southeast Asian Tribal Art, Nov 1986, plate 18 (colour illus.) unpaginated.. unpublished

Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 39 (colour illus.).