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This long, well-carved wooden block from the Hindu island of Bali in Indonesia will have been intended to serve as a pillar base (sendi tugeh) at an entrance of an open-walled pavilion, most probably in a temple compound.
Of much sculptural beauty, it has a tapering form. All four sides have been elaborately carved in high relief and coloured in pink, red, black and white ochres, and gold highlights.
The sides are carved in relief with central karang tapel monster masks with bulging eyes and fanged teeth. Above and below these are one-eyed karang bintulu motifs. And each of the four corners is carved with a three, stacked karang asti heads (garuda-like heads with long beaks lined with teeth).
A square cavity on top allows the post to be secured.
See Ramseyer (1977, fig. 97 & 98) for related sendi tugeh with similar karang motifs.
The example here has a superb patina consistent with considerable age. There is an old, shallow, shrinkage-related crack to one side, but overall, the pillar base is elaborate, sculptural and highly decorative.
Above: A related sendi tugeh displayed in the Bali Museum, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
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Maxwell, R. et al, Bali: Island of the Gods, National Gallery of Australia, 2014.
Ramseyer, U., The Art and Culture of Bali, Oxford University Press, 1977.