Cast Brass Singa Ring Inlaid with Iron
Batak People, North Sumatra, Indonesia
diameter at widest point: 4cm, weight: 31g
This fine ring from the Batak people of north Sumatra is cast in brass using the lost wax process and then further engraved. The ring has been cast with a stylised head of a singa (lion), a motif often seen among traditional Batak artforms.
The eyes and head as well as two bands to the ‘tail’ of the lion are inlaid with iron.
The ring has a fine patina and plenty of wear. It is readily attributable to the nineteenth century. An old collection number is visible to the interior of the hoop.
Related examples are illustrated in Sibeth (2102) and van Cutsem (2000, p. 179).
The Batak are an ethnic group whose ancestral land is in northern Sumatra. In the past, they practiced ritual cannibalism. Today they number around four million and form one of Indonesia’s larger ethnic minorities. The spectacular volcanic Lake Toba (
Danau Toba) in north Sumatra is the ancestral home to the largest Batak group, the Toba Batak. The lake is the largest freshwater lake in Indonesia.
van Cutsem, A., A World of Rings: Africa, Asia, America, Skira, 2000.
Gold, Silver & Brass: Jewellery of the Batak in Sumatra, Indonesia, 2012.
Private Collection, Germany, acquired 1960-81
Inventory no.: 1864