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Gilded & Polychrome Carved Wooden Element

Bali, Indonesia
19th century

height: 46cm, width: 19cm



collected in the 1950s by Professor Bengt Hager (1916-2011) and Lilavati Devi (c. 1925-2002) of Sweden; thence by descent.

This finely carved wooden element has been decorated with red and black polychrome and ample gilding. The lowest register is carved with small kerang batu (rock) motifs. The central register is carved with a large, single karang bhoma (demon’s head). The top register is decorated with two karang goak or curing (bird head motifs) on either side and a karang bintulu (single eye) motif between them. The manner and order of the carving appears to follow the correct form according to Balinese precepts of the cosmic order.

The back of the element has two long rectangular recesses so that the item can be slotted onto another element.

The item is very sculptural and decorative. It is also free-standing – it stands without support in a stable manner. It is in a fine, stable condition with only minor losses and age-related cracks and is without repairs or modification.


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.

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