Besibung or Boat-Form Medicine Vessel

Besibung or Boat-Form Medicine Vessel


Besibung Or Boat Form Medicine Vessel




Suku Batak People

Early 20th C.

Cast Bronze

From Sumatra, this ''Besibung'' or medicine vessel was used in tribal rituals such as attaining puberty and marriage. The figurehead on the prow of the ship represents the sacred Hornbill bird, which is also depicted on hand-carved, boat-shaped wood coffins of the elite. Across Southeast Asia, birds are seen as symbols of transition and representations of the upper realm of deified ancestors. Many important supernatural figures assume the form of the majestic hornbill, often seen as the messenger of the gods.
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