Shamanism is a religious practice centered on a shaman who is a cultural mediator and peacekeeper useing healing, divination, trance, magic and their knowledge of their cultural beliefs and religious traditions to communicate on behalf of their community with the spirits, including the deceased. Shamans believe they can alleviate unrest, assuage unsettled issues, predict the future, solve social problems and immersing in a lifelong study of plants heal the sick. They are believed to achieve powers using trance or ecstatic religious experience. Regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of good and evil spirits, shamans are viewed as counselors and religious leaders among indigenous groups in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Americas. They typically enter a trance state or have an ecstatic religious experience during a ritual and practice divination and healing. They are generally believed to be able to communicate with the otherworld and escort souls of the dead to the netherworld.

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  • Antique Carved Teak Figure (Nat?), Myanmar (Burma), 19th Century


    This wonderful teak carving may be an indigenous Burmese Nat placed atop a large fleur-de-lis shield reflecting the British influence. Wearing a native sarong (longyi) having an attractive border drawn up between his legs, a decorative pointed collar covers his chest and shoulders, his headgear is pointed at each side, the eyes are mother of pearl and the red-painted lips are what remains of what was likely a fully painted carving.




  • Antique Ox-Cart Ornament, Burma/Myanmar


    Ox carts in Burma were often decorated with carved teak ornaments attached to the yoke crosspiece with a similar function as the figurehead prow on a ship: to guide and protect but with spiritual and magical powers to bestow good fortune and ward off malevolent spirits. This ornament  of a man moving up a hill is probably a Burmese nat, that was once brightly painted, is mounted on a wood and metal stand.

  • Antique Puppet Head of Queen Mother of the West, China


    Chinese puppet theatre has thrived in China for centuries to educate and entertain with puppets that often had detachable heads. A most popular figure was the Queen Mother of the West the highest ranking female Taoist deity who women venerated as a powerful, independent deity embodying yin (female energy) and prayed to for health and long life. In the Ming and Qing dynasties she became a cult figure with local temples dedicated to her and artisans modifying her features and iconography making her more folk than regal. Her elaborate complex headdress includes a large outstretched tortoise atop a phoenix surrounded by an arch bordered with a scale like finish. It is mounted on a contemporary frosted acrylic base.

  • Antique/Vintage Taoist Shaman with Taotie on Hat, China


    This vibrant carving of a Taoist priest or shaman is in religious attire with double-winged high hat centered with an image of a taotie. His left hand has two fingers pointing up in the Taoist karana mudra and holds a tael in his right hand. It was repainted many years ago  common for Chinese religious statues, as families traditionally requested re-paintings of images to honor the image. The image is very similar to one in Canterbury auction of the Keith Steven’s collection.



  • Vintage Ancestor Dyak Mask Museum Stand, Kalimantan


    This vintage Dyak hudoq mask from Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) had been influenced by Javanese masks. It is a single wood piece with small eyes, straight instead of a triangular or bulbous nose with open nostrils, the ears are a small and round and not a separate, large wing-like attached wood piece and the mouth is tiny and without scary teeth. Collected personally in Bali in the 1970s, it comes with a museum-quality metal stand, is in very good condition with a nice patina, surface scratches and pigment losses consistent with its age and use.


  • Vintage Ancestor/Shaman Mask, Nepal


    This Middle Hills hardwood mask from Eastern Nepal may be a local deity, ancestor or shaman mask. Its deep eye-sockets and pierced eyes stare at the viewer over a triangular nose above a lipless mouth with small gnashed teeth in a potent expression. Its forehead recedes to a crown with decorative Xs, vertical lines and triangular motifs. Shaped as a V with a flat chin, it is carved with geometric shapes and has a strong presence. Having a layered patina ranging from brown to the black seen in other antique masks, folk masks like this are being reproduced in Nepal but those with age are very difficult to find.

  • Vintage Dayak Ancestor Mask, Metal Stand, Indonesia, Kalimantan (Borneo)


    Hudoq masks made after the arrival of the Javanese show their influence, but even Dyak masks like this valid, vintage piece are hard to find. Authentic with similarities to traditional Hudoq pieces, it is painted in an unusual, detailed pattern. The projecting mouth and nose, pierced eyes and undulating snake-like elements on separately carved and attached wing-like ears are quotations from the past. Mask reproductions are referred to as “antique baru” (new antiques) but original and authentic vintage masks like this are scarce. Personally collected in the 1970s, it is in excellent condition on a museum-quality metal stand and without restoration or repairs except for the new ear bindings.


  • Vintage Dyak Ancestor Mask Featured in Spiderman Movie


    Like this vintage one, hudoq masks often have wing-like separately-carved ears attached with rattan that usually cracks, detaches and is replaced. Also common is the large nose, here a long extended triangle, pleasing arabesque-like ears and eye-holes, a prominent set of gnarled teeth and geometric and curvilinear painted decorations. This is in excellent condition with a nice patina demonstrating its age and use. It has minor paint losses and scrapes and is set on a museum-quality metal stand.

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