The Batak

In North Sumatra


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 - Jacques Chirac 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 • 20 x 26 cm • 11 €
Coédition musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac / Éditions 5 Continents 2008
ISBN: 9782915133479