Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1801 Batak datu
Subjectdatu / guru shaman
Culture: Batak
Setting: northern Sumatra 18-20thc
Objecttunggal panaluan staff

* Tropenmuseum > Zuidoost Azië 
Deze staf in de vorm van een bliksem-schicht is een orakel-instrument.  
Een slang lijkt een van de voorouders op te eten." ...

* Dallas Museum of Art > Pacific Islands
"Priest's staff (tunggal panaluan)  
Indonesia: North Sumatra, Batak people  
19th century or earlier  
Wood, lead, buffalo horn, brass wire, chicken feathers, and cotton yarn  ...
'On this staff, the topmost shaman's face has a rare, almost portrait-like quality.  It is as if you are looking at someone and he is intently returning your gaze.  This look of contained but compressed power tells me that there are boundaries to be respected and that the staff's owner is not the kind of person I would want as a foe.
    'The staff's stacked human figures represent an ancient lineage of shamanic priests integrated with various totemic animals: chickens, pigs, a snake, a lizard, and mythical beasts.  Each priest had a name, and each was appeased and cared for by specific offerings and ceremonies.
    'Intertwined and complex, this staff is emblematic of both the duality and unity of the human spirit and the animal spirit, of the earth and of the supernatural.  It represents every potential of both lightness and darkness in a world where nothing is completely light or completely dark.  Artistically and philosophically, the overall composition sinuously flows together, reflecting these values with an unbroken ease.  This staff was clearly the work of a Batak master carver at one with both his subject and his world.'  -- Steven G. Alpert"

* Metropolitan Museum of Art > Oceania
"Ritual Staff (Tunggal Panaluan)  Toba Batak people, Sumatra, Indonesia, late 19th-early 20th century  Wood, cotton hair" ...
"Ritual Staff (Tunggal Panaluan)  Toba Batak people, Sumatra, Indonesia, 19th-early 20th century  Wood, fiber, hair" ...
"When performing ceremonies, Batak datu (religious specialists) frequently employed ritual staffs known as tunggal panaluan.  During the ceremonies, the datu entered into a trance and danced and performed other actions while holding the staffs, whose supernatural powers assisted in curing ceremonies, divination, malevolent magic, and other tasks.
    "Tunggal panaluan depict a sequence of human and animal figures positioned on top of one another.  The two figures at the top represent a legendary twin brother and sister, whose incestuous relationship was responsible for the origin of the staffs.  After their relationship was discovered, the twins fled to the forest and encountered a tree hung with fruit.  As the brother climbed the tree to pick fruit for his sister, he merged with it, becoming a wood image.  His sister followed and met the same fate.  Attempting to rescue them, a succession of datu and animals climbed the tree, transforming into the figures that appear below the ill-fated twins.  The tree was later cut down, becoming the first tunggal panaluan."

​* pc