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X87.9a,b Knife (piso) and sheath


Object Name: Knife (piso) and sheath
Cultural Group: Batak peoples
Place of Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia
Date: 19th-early 20th century
Materials Used: Wood, metal, seeds
Dimensions: H: 26.7 cm, W: 3.0 cm, D: 3.3 cm (H: 10.5 in, W: 1.2 in, D: 1.3 in)
Credit line and Accession Number: The Jerome L. Joss Collection. X87.9a,b

In Batak marriages, the groom’s family exchanges knives and other metal goods for handwoven textiles provided by the bride’s kin. This knife provides a beautiful (and sexually suggestive) metaphor for the marriage, as the male figure is carved on the handle of the knife and the female figure on the sheath. Only when the knife is inserted into the sheath do the two figures come together as a couple.

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

SKU: X87.9a-b Category:

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