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X65.5664 Calendrical/divination devices


Object Name: Calendrical/divination devices

Culture: Batak peoples

Place of Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia

Date/Era: 19th-early 20th century

Medium/Materials: Bone, pigment

Credit Line: Gift of the Wellcome Trust

Accession Number: X65.5664

Batak priests (datu) inscribed sacred texts on sheets of bark, bamboo cylinders, and the rib bones of water buffalo. These writings-magic formulas, oracles, recipes for medicines, and instructions for rituals and cures-were passed from generation to generation within a priestly class. Inscriptions on rib bones often contain calendrical information used by priests to divine auspicious days for particular activities. The bones also brought good luck to their owners. The beauty of the script and the poetic language were both appreciated.

Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006

SKU: X65.5664 Category:

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