, Priest's container for magic potions [naga morsarang or sahan] Enlarge 1 /1
Toba Batak people Priest's container for magic potions [naga morsarang or sahan] 19th century Place made: north Sumatra, Sumatra, Indonesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, buffalo horn, wood, iron, plant fibre
Dimensions: 33.0 h x 53.0 w x 12.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.149.A-B

Batak priests [datu] use magic instruments and potions to harness and influence powerful spirits. Special containers are created to store their mysterious medicines. The stopper of this water buffalo horn vessel is in the form of a singa—a mythical chimera of lion, reptile, human, horse and water buffalo. A fierce protective creature, the singa is often associated with the datu.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra