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Sumatran shaman’s charm



This intriguing, early C20th, figure is almost certainly carved by a shaman (datu) of the Batak people of Sumatra to assist in religious rituals, such as  contacting spirits of the dead, predicting auspicious days and curing sickness.

This figure would be often filled with a magical potion (pupuk) to increase its efficiency, and then attached to the top of a “magic stick|”, also carved by the shaman..

The ritual staff (tungkot malehat) is the most important possession of the datu.


Ebony wood with etched metal decoration at the base of the figure.

Contemporary-made display stand

20cm tall, including stand