In northern Sumatra: the Batak

Northern Sumatra: the Batak

This exhibition catalogue has been put together to enable the general public to discover the art of a people that was cut off from the West for a long time. The Batak are made up of several ethnic groups and they live to the north of the island of Sumatra, in a mountainous region riven with craggy valleys.

Profoundly steeped in their ancestral customs, the Batak produced a great many artefacts that are connected with their ritual practises and their everyday lives and which are woven into a complex system of exchange. Their artists pay attention to detail in the small-size objects and also demonstrate a refined sense of ornament in the monumental pieces. They are masters of woodwork in which they skilfully combine intricate carving with relief work and also produce splendid stone sculptures. Most of these artworks have come from the former collections of the Barbier-Mueller museum in Geneva, whose ‘Insulindia’ collection the musée du quai Branly acquired in 2001. A selection of artefacts from the 19th and 20th century from the musée de l’Homme rounds off this exhibition.


96 pages in 20 cm x 26 cm format

ca. 124 illustrations

price : 11 €

isbn 978-2-915133-47-9

A co-publication by the musée du quai Branly/Éditions 5 Continents

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exhibition curators

Pieter Ter Keurs, head curator for Insulindia at the Volkenkunde Museum of Leiden and Constance de Monbrison, curator for the Insulindia collections at the musée du quai Branly.

more information

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