Little sweet cakes (Higashi) are made individually for tea ceremonies, events and shrine offerings. They are shaped into objects of art and symbolism using these hand carved wooden culinary molds, or ‘Kashigata’. The rice flour and sugar confections have been a popular tradition in Japan for more than 300 years. Like many centuries-old Japanese specialty craft traditions, kashigata carving is a fading art. There is rare demand now for the handmade cakes, and so these artisanal culinary tools have joined the ranks of rapidly disappearing objects of times past. As they are becoming harder to find, they have become quite collectable. They are each one-of-a-kind hand carvings. The mold making process begins with preparing or seasoning the wood – most commonly Mountain Cherry, Ginko, and Camllia, which is cured for three years before carving to prevent cracking and warping. For generations, kashigata craftsmen have produced an extensive range of imagery and symbolism that imparts the spirit of the carver and the mystery of natural and supernatural symbolism, into a tradition of handmade, delicate Japanese sweets.
Auspicious symbols play a significant role in Japanese culture. Kashigata are carved into motifs that have specific meaning and purpose. A few shown in our collection are: Longevity – such as Cranes (mythically lives a thousand years), Pine Trees (evergreen) and Lobster (rounded back like the elderly); Bamboo symbolizes Perserverance – the perfect combination of strength and flexibility. The Lotus (images below) stands for Purity and Enlightenment, as such elegance blooms out of the depths of muck and mud. Other motifs have seasonal references while others reflect the changing zeitgeist of different times and eras in history. Molded sweet cakes are used for weddings, births, new years and other festivities as well as for funerals and more somber events.
The following are individual images with pricing.
Specialty molded cakes are a part of a confectionery culture found independantly in many countries around the world. Each culture’s style is unique and the Kashitgata molds are specific to Japan. A few examples from around the world are: Mexican ‘Sugar Skulls’, French ‘Madeleines’, Scottish ‘Shortbread’, Russian ‘Oreshki’, and Middle Eastern ‘Ma’amoul’. There are many more examples and a vast range of motifs, uses and meanings. Beyond their use as tools to make little molded cakes, Japanese Kashigata are wonderful little works of art and history. Please ask us for more information and to see the rest of our collection.
The Joglo House Frame – Beautiful Teak, Post and Beam Style BuildingFramework. And the DAC crew victorious after a full day spent assembling this beauty in the store front.
Our hand carved Joglo waiting for its forever home. Approximate dimensions: 170″ tall x 138″ x 206″ (~14′ x 11′ x 17′)
‘Joglo’ is the architectural vernacular for Javanese structures. Built to last, they are made of teak wood, which is known for its beauty as well as for being a sturdy, enduring outdoor material. They are constructed without nails or screws using a variety of joinery techniques including ‘Mortise and Tenon’, ‘Half-Lap’ and ‘Tongue and Groove’.
The iconic Joglo has a simple charm as well as being functionally appropriate in tropical climates. It’s seductive elegance has captured the attention of western architects. It lends itself to many functions – from ultimate stand-alone gazebo or poolside covered patio, to an exquisite open beam, high ceiling framework within a western style home. (See some examples at the end of this post)
The four tallest columns or ‘King Posts’ form the framework for the central part of the house or pavilion structure. Consecutively shorter columns extend outward to carry the sloping roof, creating a vaulted central area. The heavy open beam structure provides the main support for the roof rather than the bearing walls of western styles which would inhibit crucial, natural ventilation.
The following images are of a traditional Javanese village joglo – outside view and interior views. It is typically covered with ceramic roof tiles and the framework is left exposed on the inside. The open beam structure is often carved and/or painted for decoration.
The images below, in Bali, are of pages from Seen Unseen, a 2019 book by architect Alejandra Cisneros, on blending the traditional Joglo style with more modern and western designs.
Thank you. We hope you enjoy browsing our blog. Please contact us if you have any questions.
One of the Finest Japanese Traditions, the iconic, ancient kimono has charmed its way into the high fashion and street fashion worlds outside of Japan. We love kimonos and delight in promoting this creative fashion trend. Come see our fabulous Kimono and Obi (kimono belt/sash) collection. We have hundreds of hand made, one-of-a-kind beauties. David sources our extensive inventory of authentic vintage kimonos in Kyoto, a city once renowned for its kimono makers.
It is increasingly popular to wear them as coats, over jeans or skirts, or as robes, all highlighting the fabulous vintage fabrics. (see a previous post on our new line of Vintage Kimono Fabric Bags! and look for more to come.)
Kimonos are exquisite and iconic garments as well as enduring works of art. Like many highly developed and perfected ancient crafts, kimono making is sadly a quickly vanishing trade. The intricate and exceedingly accomplished and centuries old techniques of hand weaving, dying, painting, and embroidering silks are rarely practiced now making the vintage beauties highly sought after. Below – see two gorgeous silk shibori (micro tie die) haori (short kimono) jackets.
Now worn only for special occasions in Japan, one could lament the loss of an elegant tradition that embodied the culture for hundreds of years. But, departure from custom brings a freedom that begs creative movement and propels the past delightfully into the future.
David Alan sporting a Japanese traditional Fireman’s ‘Hanten’ Coat, or Utility Jacket. It is a heavy, durable and comfortable fabric which is hand woven and indigo dyed. A fireman’s coat will typically have a symbol on the back which would be the name of the district’s fire brigade. Additional writing on the front would tell more about that brigade. This jacket is about 70 years old, vintage but unused, and in excellent condition.
The kimono epitomizes ancient Japan at first glance. For centuries they were the only style of clothing worn. After WWII came western influences that brought shirts and jeans. They were easier to put on, cheaper, much less restrictive and caught on quickly.
The word kimono literally means garment, and although the word is simple, the garment itself is deeply complex both in form and in representation. There are many different styles, fabric types and patterns which have a language to themselves. One could glean everything from marital and social status, to seasons and the type of activity or event they are designed for.The styles range from extremely formal to casual. Traditionally they are always wrapped left over right except when dressing the dead. We Also have some children’s kimonos – which are a lot of fun to play in when not being worn in a traditional manner.
A peek into one of the remarkable achievements that embody the humanitarian and visionary nature of the David Alan Collection proprietors, David and Amita Bardwick. Creating a rare educational opportunity.
Amita with two of the students in a Cultural Dance program.
In 2003 Amita established Ignite –a non-profit foundation, and she founded the Alpha Montessori Schoolin Mandawali, an impoverished community in East Delhi, India. It is an inspiring story. For in-depth information, please visit www.Igniteafl.org or inquire at The David Alan Collection store.
Alpha Montessori elementary classroom
We have devoted a corner of the store to supporting the school. We sell a special selection jewelry and other handmade items, some made by the students. 100% of those sales go to IGNITE. (see images of these items further down in this post)
Street view of students in the front of the 3 story school (white and pale green, center building). Dry season in the rapidly growing neighborhood.
The monsoon season makes getting to and from school a daily challenge for three months of each year. They must come and go via rickshaw or be soaked in the dirty water.
Once inside the school, it is a world apart from the street environment. The students are undaunted by the difficulties coming and going. They are eager to arrive at the clean, bright, welcoming and stimulating environment each morning where they breathe in self esteem and knowledge.
The school provides high quality education to very low-income children. They are lovingly and creatively given the skills and confidence to move beyond the rigid limitations of their social class.
Without an extraordinary education like this, these children would be condemned to living and working in the same low wage, back-breaking jobs of their parents and grandparents. The students love their school, are thriving in the Arts as well as in Academics, and will have the chance to elevate their lives. (at the end of this post, see a collection of images to get an idea of the children’s neighborhood and home environment)
Dancers on the new roof-top garden patio.
Learning about earth science and the solar systems by becoming planets in drama class
Learning math with Number Rods
Studying weights and measures
The Alpha Montessori School is currently equipped to educate 60 children from 3 to 14 years old (pre-K through 8th grade) as well as providing annual medical check-ups for each of the students and their families.
Amita’s ongoing dedication in directing the school, and teaching, has generated wildly positive results. There is no other group conducting this kind of work in that community.
Medical check-ups being given at the school to students and their families.
Building an innovative, modern educational establishment, in an area where many children never make it to school, is a formidable challenge. Basking in the glow of the children’s creativity unleashed, and the beauty of a potential realized is more than worth the bumps and difficulties endured. Hardships have fostered close bonds and confidence between staff, volunteers, students, their families, and the community, that will last a lifetime.
David teaching a ceramics class on the roof-top garden patio.
Music lessons – Learning to play the Indian Harmonium
Theater performance on the rooftop garden patio
And, a daily yoga class.
Founding and successfully maintaining a Montessori school in this environment is a herculean achievement. It is drastically changing the lives of the students, the status of the educated girls, and benefits the community.
If you have visited the David Alan Collection in Solana Beach, CA, you will have noticed the fun, colorful jewelry on a gorgeous large table in the back room of the store’s main level. All purchases here go directly to the school.
Handmade necklaces, bracelets, rings, belts, and beaded purses from Bali and India. We now also have earrings and delightful greeting cards made by the students to help support their own school. All sales go to the Alpha Montessori school. $4. to $40.
Beautiful one-of-a-kind Quilled earrings handmade by 12 year old student, Nikhil. $18. pair
A few of the large one-of-a-kind greeting cards. 5 x 7 $6. each. All hand painted by the students. They also look great framed!
A few of the small one-of-a-kind greeting cards. 4 x 6 $4. each. All hand painted by the students
100% of IGNITE jewelry and card sales goes directly to the school. It is all handmade in Bali and India and is affordably priced from $4. to $40. They make fun and thoughtful gifts! Please come browse our display and feel good about contributing to a meaningful cause with your purchase. Each dollar makes a difference.
Please visit www.IgniteAFL.org for more on the school’s story, the latest news, videos, images and ways to help. To make a donation through the website: http://www.igniteafl.org/howtohelp.html You can also mail a contribution, in any amount, to: Ignite: A Foundation For Learning c/o The David Alan Collection 241 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075 ~ all contributions are tax deductible ~
We greatly appreciate your interest, David and Amita
David, and Amita Bardwick Ph.D. Founder, Director and CEO of Alpha Montessori
The following images of some local businesses and a typical home in the Mandawali neighborhood in Delhi, India are posted below are to help put the school in context.
A local business owner – banana salesman
A woman at work in her Ironing Shop
Another local business owner, a cobbler
Electronics shop owner
A Taylor taking a lunch break in front of his work area. Many businesses are conducted in home and devote precious space to a devotional shrine – shown on left.
A well stocked stationary store
The kitchen in a typical home in Mandawali neighborhood
The family bed. While this child is sick, he gets the bed to himself.
We’ve started a cool new project! Japanese kimonos are made of such spectacular textiles we decided to up-cycle some of our favorites for a new line of lively Computer cases, Travel Bags and Shoulder, Clutch and Coin Purses. The vintage textiles add a spirited flair to modern accessories. We are so happy with them, there are more on our design table. The handwoven silk and cotton fabrics are from some of the many authentic, vintage Japanese Kimonos we always have in our gallery store.
Vintage kimono and obi (kimono sash) fabric clutch purses – folded with two zippered compartments. And small and medium size coin purses. Small coin is ample size for credit card etc..
Vintage kimono fabric purses in two sizes, with shoulder straps and magnetic clasps. Many more fabrics available.
Vintage kimono fabric padded computer and ipad/tablet size cases.
More computer cases
Authentic, vintage Japanese kimonos. This is just the tip of the iceberg from our collection of women’s and men’s, elegant to everyday-wear robes and jackets. Most are silk or cotton. Many are hand embroidered, hand painted and of course some amazing shibori . All price ranges – from $10. to museum quality art pieces.
Authentic, vintage Japanese kimonos on our front patio
Tanuki have a complex and interesting folkloric history. Although largely unknown in the states, they have been among the most significant characters in Japan since the 16th century.
Contemporary Tanuki are creatures of wealth and whimsy; symbols of prosperity seen outside many temples, shops and restaurants. These vintage statues of modern day Tanuki were designed by Shigaraki potter, Tetsuzo Fujiwara, in the early 1950s (Showa Era). They embody these 8 virtues:
1 Big Hat = protection against trouble
2 Big Eyes = perception for decisions
3 Sake Bottle = virtue
4 Big Tail = steadiness until wealth is attained
5 Big Testicles = financial luck
6 Promissory Note = trust
7 Big Belly = bold decisions
8 Friendly Smile
Tamer than their sinister supernatural ancestors, Tanuki are still magical shape-shifting pranksters that love to play tricks on people.
Shape-shifted Tanuki illustrating a popular Edo period Folktale (abreviated) A farmer rescued a Tanuki from a trap and, in gratitude, it transformed into a teapot that he could sell to get money as a thanks for the favor. When the buyer used his new purchase, the tanuki couldn’t stand the heat, so the kettle sprouted a head and legs and tail and ran away.
In their normal state Tanuki have big bellies and humorously large testicles which they like to use as drums.
Most often portrayed wearing large straw hats and carrying a flask of sake in one hand and a ledger or purse of promissory notes in the other, they can also serve as cautionary figures against the hazards of getting drunk and not paying the tab.
Tanuki have adapted visually and symbolically to suit modern culture. The anthropomorphized creatures are a departure from their original liminal manifestation. They continue to thrive in modern folklore.
…Keep reading after the images for a more detailed history and origins of ancient Tanuki folklore – it’s pretty wild.
Some history and origins of the ancient Tanuki folkloric characters. (worth the read)
The character’s namesake is a specie of fox commonly referred to as a raccoon-dog. Mischievous fox characters appear around the world in local indigenous mythologies and Tanuki are no exception. They are said to have a long
list of preternatural abilities – most notably as masters of shape-shifting.
The original (16th to 18th century) characters were rather sinister, supernatural creatures to be generally avoided. They love to impersonate humans, especially Buddhist monks and political figures. But their shape-shifting abilities are multiform. Not only can they transform themselves into objects; such as stone lanterns, trees, rocks, trains and tea pots, or even the moon, they can also change one object into another.
For instance, they might turn some leaves into paper money, leaving you with a handful of useless forest duff as soon as they are out of sight. They have been known to offer a seemingly alluring meal only to have it turn into manure. …And, they can make people see and hear things that aren’t there – like a fireball or a tunnel in a solid mountainside. They will drum on their big bellies, or other large body parts, to imitate thunder or trains or to make people lose their way, which they really like to do.
Speaking of large body parts, they can expand their scrotum to humorously large proportions for use as a weapon or a tarp-like billowing, multitasking appendage. They are depicted using the versatile appendage for catching fish, as a shade tent on a hot day, as a travois for moving house, as a disguise or a myriad of surprisingly useful applications.
The oniric Tanuki of ancient times can be seen in marvelous old block prints, now mostly in museums and private collections.
More Tanuki Trivia:
Going back into the history of the actual wild Tanuki fox, one will discover the origin of the bizarre proportions of the character version’s scrotum – said to be able to stretch to the size of 8 tatami mats. The wild fox, by the way, has totally normal sized boy parts. The legendary over-sized sack comes from the ancient Japanese goldsmith’s method of using Tanuki pelts (leather) to hammer gold into gold leaf.
As a small gold nougat is pounded impossibly thin, it must be wrapped in something to protect it. That something had to be strong enough to stretch with the gold. While it isn’t clear how Tanuki fox leather was chosen in particular for this task, it became the standard of the trade. It began to be said, that as it could stretch gold, so it could stretch your wealth… and Tanuki scrotum skin wallets became popular.
We hope you enjoyed our Tanuki trivia !
Beautifully carved from a single block of marble. A smooth translucent finish gives surface depth and it displays some of its former gold gilt and red pigment. Excellent condition, the wear is consistent with its age. Buddha is sitting in the lotus position (legs crossed with soles of feet up) with hands in ‘Bhumisparsha mudra’ position – calling the earth to witness his enlightenment. Seated on a Lotus design base. His serene demeanor and monastic robes show superior craftsmanship and artistry. Dimensions: 32″ tall x 21.5 wide x 13.5 deep. $34,000. (see the following 7 images for detail on this piece)
Detail – side/front view – 17th c. Shan Style Marble Buddha
Detail – side view – Shan Style Marble Buddha, 17th century
Detail – head – Shan Style Marble Buddha, 17th century
Detail – lotus base – Shan Style Marble Buddha, 17th century
Marble Buddha, Mandalay style, early 19th century. Hand carved in the lotus position (legs crossed with soles of feet up) and hands in ‘Bhumisparsha mudra’ or calling the earth to witness his moment of enlightenment position. His serene meditative face and monastic robes show great finesse. In excellent condition, wear is consistent with age and use. Dimensions: 9 1/4″ tall x 8 1/4 wide x 5″ deep $2,500. (see the following 2 images for detail on this piece)
Detail – front/side – Mandalay Style Hand Carved Marble Buddha 19th c.
Detail – side – Mandalay Style Hand Carved Marble Buddha 19th c.
18th c. Shan Style Buddha
Burma/Myanmar 18th century, Shan (Tai Yai) Period This exquisite ancient Buddha is dressed in a jeweled monastic robe. Green, white and ruby colored jewels set in ribbons of delicate, raised design details line the edges of the robe. The edge of the turban is likewise set with a single row of thin white jewels. Originally painted with gold pigment to detail the robes and body, the coloring is largely worn with some areas remaining. Wear is consistent with age. Overall condition is excellent.
Shan style is characterized by the bell shaped turban (usnisa), smooth surface and serene, pure expression. The Buddha is seated, on a single, lotus style platform, in the ‘adamantine’ (unbreakable) position, or ‘vajrasana’ (legs crossed with the soles of both feet facing upwards). His hands are in the gesture of ‘bhumisparsha mudra’ that calls the earth to witness at the moment of his enlightenment (the right hand in the earth touching position with the left hand remaining in the meditation position).
Dimensions: 36″ tall (33 w/o base) x 25″ wide and 19″ deep, Base is round, wood construction painted black, $58,000. (SOLD)
Both statues in our collection are certified by the Burmese Department of Fine Arts Ministry of Culture in accordance with the export permit. Certificate no.120/2561 (see detail images of this statue below, then following are images for the other, smaller statue)
Burma/Myanmar 18th century, Shan (Tai Yai) Period
Portrayed in monastic robes that understate his status, this Buddha statue is skillyfully carved from a single block of stone, it was originally painted with multi-colored pigments to detail the robes and body. The pigment is mostly worn with some traces remaining. Wear is consistent with age. Overall condition is excellent.
Shan style (see previous statue text)
This antique statue is accompanied by its certificate, no.120/7561, issued by the Burmese Department of Fine Arts Ministry of Culture in accordance with the export permit.
Dimensions: 31″ tall (27 1/2 w/o base) x 16″ wide and 7 1/2″ deep, Base is 2 tier, wood construction painted black, $21,000. (SOLD)
WE HOPE YOU ENJOY BROWSING OUR INTRIGUING COLLECTION OF HANDMADE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
Carved, cast and intricately constructed, they are beautiful works of art as well. From across Southeast Asia, vintage to contemporary, tribal folk craft to fine art, every piece was masterfully engineered to produce a particular sound. Each has its own intangible significance – some sacred from temples, shrines or holy spaces, some employed by shaman as both costume and instrument and some for traditional, secular use. Music is a highly evocative, healing and transportive magic that transcends time and spoken language and exists in every culture. Please scroll through these enchanting sound makers. (organized by type of instrument – drums, gongs, bells, strings etc… vs by country)
Early 19th c, Keyaki (zelkova) wood, hide, red pigment, metal tacks, carved from one piece of wood, ink, 19″ x 18″, $1250.
19th c, (new head skin and tacks), Keyaki wood, hide, rope, iron rings and tacks, ink/paint, carved from one block of wood; 20″ x 24″, $1200.
19th c, Buddhist Drum, Keyaki (zelkova ) wood, metal panel on side, metal tacks on rawhide skin (missing center of drum head skin both sides) Metal ring with rope for carrying, carved from one block of wood; 29 1/2″ x 34″, $2800.
Wood, hide head painted with black and gold ‘Tomoe’ symbol (circular, turning motif referring to motion of the earth and play of forces), metal tacks, 18 1/4″ x 6 1/2″ ; frame – 52 1/2″ x 30 1/2″, $650.
Wood and metal frame, hide skin tacked down. 21 1/2″ x 6″, (30″ x 27″ x 13″ with stand), $750.
Wood, hide, metal tacks and rings, 22 1/2″ x 33″, (31″ x 33″ with frame), $950. (see top detail image below)
Early 20th c, Hide, Wood – carved and polychrome hand painted, iron, string, fabric and papier-mâché, decorated with Tibetan symbols. Played with a curved stick and used for religious ceremonies and meditation. 44 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ x 3 1/4″, $1100. SOLD (see detail image below)
Indonesia, Wood, paint, hide, left to right – 27 1/2″ x 16″ $295.; white/front- 20 1/2″ x 12″, $225.; 25 1/2″ x 13″, $280.
Java, Indonesia, hide skin heads with hide lacing and tuning straps. wood and paint with metal rings for carrying strap, contemporary, 21″ x 10″ (top) x 7 3/4″ (bottom); $440. (side detail see image below)
Sumba Island, Indonesia, Mid 20th c, hardwood, rawhide, strap and peg style head, The Hornbill is a religious symbol of great antiquity. 22″ x 7″ x 8″; $1100.
TEMPLE RIN GONG/MEDITATION BELL
Hand hammered bronze bowl with purple and gold cushion stand, hide wrapped wooden striker, decorative wooden striker stand; Bowl – 7″ x 10″ (10 1/2″ x 12 1/2″ with cushion) striker – 13 1/2″ x 2″ (5 1/2″ tall with striker stand) $1250. (set)
Hand carved wood frame and stand, bronze, rope, cloth, – 32 1/2″ x 36″ x 12″ (Frame – 17 1/2″ x 6″), $2400.
SLIT GONGS or DRUMS
Bali, Indonesia, wood, paint, This type of percussion instrument was developed and used by people in forested areas as its sound will carry far through the surrounding jungle and rice fields. Often hung or placed in a drum pavilion or tower and used to call villagers to meetings, or other events by tapping out a signal. Left – 39 1/2″ x 7 1/2″ x 7″, $950.; Right – 34 1/2″ x 7″ x 7″, $590.
Musical Instrument and long distance jungle communication system. Sumba Island, Indonesia, Teak wood, each one of these three large gongs has been carved from a single piece. This type of gong or drum was developed and used by people in forested areas. Its sound will carry far through the jungle and rice fields. Often hung or placed in a drum pavilion or tower, it was used to call villagers to meetings or other events by tapping out a signal. base is 33 1/2″ square, height is 108″ (tallest) $2800.
Java, Indonesia, Semar is an important God-like/clown, wood, paint, bicycle chain handle. (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 36″ x 10″ x 12″, $750. (see back detail in image below)
Indonesia, Early 20th c, hardwood, paint, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 28″ x 64″ x 15, $2400.
Indonesia, wood, paint, animal form with a beautiful age patina, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 12″ x 34″ x 9″, $750.
Early 20th c, wood, pigment on head, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 9″ x 31″ x 7″, $450. (see image below for detail of head)
Indonesia, Jackfruit wood, paint, brown paint over an older bright blue. with an age patina, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 13 1/2″ x 37″ x 9″, $475.
Indonesia, wood, horse/snake animal with a beautiful age patina, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 13 1/2″ x 43″ x 13″. $1250.
Indonesia, wood, paint, animal form, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 9 1/2′” x 30″ x 6″, $370.
Indonesia, wood, Early 20th c, hardwood, paint, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 8 1/4″ x 29″ x 96″, $390.
Zoomorphic Slit Gong or Drum, Java, Indonesia, Early to mid c, wood, paint, played with a wooden striker. This type of percussion instrument was developed and used by people in forested areas as its sound will carry far through the surrounding jungle and rice fields. Often hung or placed in a drum pavilion or tower and used to call villagers to meetings, or other events by tapping out a signal; 10 3/4″ x 26 1/2″ x 8″; $390. (see below image for detail of head)
Indonesia, Late 19th to early 20th c, Ironwood, red paint,
In Kodi, as in the rest of Sumba, the most powerful, sacred music is played on gongs. Played in interlocking rhythms with one or two gongs to a player, the music is closely tied to Marapu ritual and ceremony, especially funerals. 13″ x 58″ x 12″, $1050.
Indonesia, Jackfruit wood, (see 1st Slit Gong post for full description) 6″ x 20 1/2″ x 5″, $145.
Kodi village, Sumba Island, Indonesia, early 20th c, hardwood, pigment, anthropomorphic figure, The music is closely tied to ritual and ceremony, especially funerals. Unlikely as it seems from the looks of it, the dungga exists in the same musical world of slot drums/gongs, taking those rhythms and transferring them to its four strings. While gong ensembles can have seven or more instruments, the dungga’s four strings are enough to replicate most gong melodies: the high string, plucked by the left hand, replicates the metronomic sounds of the smallest gong, ngaha; the two inner strings play the sound of the “middle” gongs, dopoduyo, while the lowest string plays the part of the large gong or kaduka; 23 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 4″ (with stand – 25 1/2″ x 5″ x 4 1/2″), $460.
Indonesia, Early 20th c, wood, (see 1st Dungga post for full description) 28 1/2″ x 7 1/4″ x 3 1/4″, $360.
Indonesia, Mid 20th c, wood, (see 1st Dungga post for full description), 20 1/2″” x 3 3/4″ x 2 1/4″, (22 1/2″ x 4 3/4″ x 4 3/4″, $375.
Indonesia, Early to mid 20th c, wood, (see first Dungga post for full description) 19 1/2″” x 4″ x 2 3/4″, (21 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ , $380.
Indonesia, Mid 20th c, wood, (see 1st Dungga post for full description), 14 1/2″ x 6 1/2″ 2 3/4″ (with stand – 16 1/2″ x 5 3/4″ x 3″), $320.
Indonesia, hardwood, pigment, (see 1st Dungga post for full description); 23 1/2″ x 5 1/4″ 2 3/4″ (with stand – 26 1/4″ x 6″ x 4″), $450.
Insonesia, Early to mid 20th c, wood, (see 1st Dungga post for full description), 25″ x 5 1/4″ x 4″, $380.
Gambus – Lute-like instrument made by the Batak people of Sumatra. This was carved from a single piece of wood, had 7 strings and a skin covered resonator box. The peg box is carved with a zoomorphic head. It has no frets and would be played with a plektrum. Popular throughout Indonesia. Originating from the Arabian peninsula, the styles vary from 3 to 12 strings.
38″ x 8″ x 7″, $425.
CHINESE ERHU or VIOLIN
China, Wood, snakeskin, pigment, The Erhu is one of the most important Chinese instruments with a 4000 year history. It is played vertically and is incredibly expressive. It you have a sound associated with China, it is the Erhu. 29 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 6 1/2″, $400.
Nepal, antique, bronze, with clapper, 6 1/2″ x 3 1/4″, $875. (see detail images of back and clapper below)
Nepal, 150 years old, bronze, The Bell, representing the female aspect, stands for wisdom. It is held in the left hand. If the Dorje (crown motif on top) is separate, it is held in the right hand. The are always used in combination in religious ceremonies. Together they represent enlightenment. 7 1/4″ x 3 1/4″, $1300. (see detail of back and clapper in images below)
Late 19th to Early 20th c, Bronze, 8 1/4″ x 3 1/4″, $1100. (see image below for clapper detail)
Nepal, Late 19th to Early 20th c, bronze – The Bell, representing the female aspect, stands for wisdom. It is held in the left hand. If the Dorje (crown motif on top) is separate, it is held in the right hand. The are always used in combination in religious ceremonies. Together they represent enlightenment. 6 1/2″ x 3 1/4″, $900. (see image below for clapper detail)
Antique Japanese Bell is played with an unattached striker. Cloth handle strap and tassel, Bronze, 9 1/2″ x 6″, $1200.
Indonesia, Early 20th c, Teak wood, Rope, carved from single block of wood; 15″ x 42″ x 15″, $1200. (see next two images below for clapper detail)
Early 20th c, clapper missing, 22″ x 33″ x 12″, $425.
Early 20th c, Vintage reproductions of Bells that are thousands of years old.
Around 2000 BC, Chinese musicians worked with foundry technicians to cast matched sets of bronze bells of different sizes to produce a range of tones. They developed oval-shaped bells that, depending on where they were struck, produced two distinct pitches with an intentional interval between them.
Graduated sets of ‘Bo’ are hung from beam frames and played with a hammer striker.
Dimensions: (from large to small) 12 1/2″ x 9 1/2″ x 7″ – $650.; 12″ x 8″ x 6 1/2″ – $650.; 9″ x 5 1/2′ x 3″ – $190.; 8 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ – $140.; 6 1/2″ x 3 3/4″ x 3″ – $100.; 6 1/4″ x 3 3/4″ x 2 3/4″ – $90.
Cast Bronze Bell and Wreath Motif Mount, plastic base plate, Struck with an outside striker, 6 1/2″ x 4″ (10 3/4″ x 7″ w/stand), $80. SOLD
Sasak tribe, Lombok Island, Indonesia, Early to mid 20th c, bamboo, string, played by using the mouth as the resonating cavity and pulling the string to vibrate the bamboo. There are many traditional songs written for it. It has been referred to as a ‘mind cleaner’ – because it uses the mouth to resonate, it clears the brain of unclear thoughts. 7 1/2″ x 5/8″ x 1/8″, pull stick – 6 3/4″ x 3/8, $65.
Lombok, Indonesia, Bamboo, string, (for full description see 1st Mouth Harp post), 7 1/4″ x 1/2″ x 1/8″, $60.
Lombok, Indonesia, Bamboo, string, (for full description see 1st Mouth Harp post) 8 1/4″ x 5/8″ x 1/8″, $60,
Lombok, Indonesia, Bamboo, string, 7 3/4″ x 5/8″ x 1/8″, pull stick – 4 3/4″ x 1/4, $65., Sold
Xylophone or ‘Gambang’, Java, Indonesia, early to med 20th c, Wood, hand carved and painted with 14 metal keys resting on pads made from pieces of a rubber flip flop sandal (footwear), played with 2 padded mallets, and oriented with the larger keys to the left of the player. The xylophone is an essential instrument in a traditional orchestral ensemble called a ‘Gamelan’; 13 1/2″ x 40 1/2″ x 6″; $630.
Traditional wooden xylophone or Gambang Kayu, Java, Indonesia, Late 19th to early 20th c, wooden resonating box (grobog), 18 hardwood keys (wilah), played with 2 padded wooden mallets with the larger keys on the player’s left. The 2 risers on each end are similarly carved with a simple motif around a circular hole. The xylophone is an essential instrument in a traditional orchestral ensemble called a ‘Gamelan’; 23 1/4″ x 52 1/2″ x 18 3/4″; $750.
Traditional Xylophone or Pattala, Burma/Myanmar, Early 20th c, 24 bamboo keys or slats, strung and suspended by a string over the decorated wooden resonating box, played with 2 padded mallets. The longer keys oriented to the players left. It is an essential instrument in a traditional orchestral ensemble. Its first use dates back to around 150 C.E.; (There are 2 almost identical in our collection) 30″ x 54″ x 19 1/2″ and 29 1/2″ x 54″ x 19 1/2″, $ 2100. each
Java, Indonesia, Early 20th c, wooden resonating box (grobog), 20 hardwood keys (wilah), played with 2 padded wooden mallets, the larger keys oriented on the player’s left. The 2 risers on each end are similarly detailed with a star motif, 3 small circular holes and a monogram on the side panel; it is an essential part of an ensemble called a Gamelan; 16 1/4″ x 49 1/4″ x 19″; $750.
MORE INSTRUMENTS and NOISE MAKERS – FROM THE SHAMAN COLLECTION:
Shaman Ritual Instrument Drum, Nepal, Early 20th c, hide/skin, wood. Played by Jhakri (shaman) with a curved stick, to enter and maintain the shaman’s trance for the journey into the spirit world. A deity will often reside in the drum during the ritual. 26″ x 14″ x 6′, $900.
Damaru with Chopin (2 sided drum with sash), late 19th and early 20th c, wood, hide, fabric
This power drum, associated with Shiva, is used for tantric rituals. A cord is tied around the middle where knotted ends make the sound when it is played with a twisting motion so the two beaters hit the drum heads simultaneously. It produces a spiritual sound by which the universe was created and is regulated. The Chopin is typically embroidered with the colors of tantric elements and waves as the drum is played. (large) 32” x 11 ¼” x 4 ½”; $700.; (small) 2” x 5 ¼” x 3” [case 6” x 5” x 3”] $500.
Nepal, Mid to late 19th c., Skin stretched over wood, iron, shaman bells and amulets. To facilitate entering and maintaining a trance state necessary for the shaman to perform rituals 17 ½” x 8” x 8” (plus 7” bell chains), $1400.
Nepal, Early 20th c., (some bells up to 150 years old),
This large belt is an essential part of all Nepalese shaman costumes. The belt/apron is heavy and loud with all its many parts: leather, iron chain and hand crafted crotal, and cylindrical bells and bangles and the brass conical bells. The cowrie shells, goat horn and wild boar tusk all are symbolic and spiritual tools. Used in rituals to protect shaman, villagers and the area from witches and other evil beings. (it is a waist belt with hanging bells and over-the-shoulder cross straps). 58” x 32” x 3”, $3200.
Early 20th c., (some bells up to 150 years old), An essential part of Nepalese shaman costumes, this heavy apron belt is made of hide leather, iron chains, and hand crafted cylindrical bells and bangles, brass conical and crotal bells. The yak tail, and other amulets which are attached, are powerful spiritual tools. They are worn during rituals and ceremonies to protect shaman and villagers and the area from witches and other evil beings. (it is a waist belt with hanging bells and over the shoulder cross straps), 44” x 33” x 3”, $3200.
Tuyen Quang province, Vietnam, Yao people, Early 20th c, Iron blade, aluminum bands, wood handle, metal coins, darkened patina from use and age. An essential item for any Yao shaman ritual. Shaken/rattled to summon gods and goddesses and to punish disobedient spirits. Harmless to mortals but a formidable weapon when shaken against evil spirits. This is a male sword – top detail differs on female swords. $295. each, Dimensions left to right, $295. each, (left – 15 ¼” x 3 ¼” x 1”); (middle – 15 ¼” x 3 ¼” x 1”); (right -13 ¾” x 3” x 1”)
Patinated with use and age. Used in rituals to subdue evil forces – shaken or rattled to scare away harmful spirits. (small – 12” x 3 ¾” x 1 ¼”, $270.); (large – 13 ¾” x 4 ½” x 1 ¾”, $270.)
These commanding rattle daggers are the most common ritual weapon used by a shaman priest. Similar in function to swords, they fend off evil spirits when shaken. The red (sometimes blue) streamers attract cosmic energy to empower it. This coin-laden top is still wound with red streamers from the ceremony it was last used in. (left sold), Dimensions (right – 16 ½” x 5 ½” x 5”; $350.)
Since our epic Balancing The Universe: Shamanic Amulets, Instruments and Costumes exhibition last fall, we have additional objects to include – healing and power objects and ritual protector figures, that didn’t make it into the show. If you follow our Gallery Blog, no doubt you will see even more of these ancient southeast Asian shaman ritual objects in the future. The pieces below are from tribal Indonesia and are included together in this one post instead of divided by specific island or tribe as in the previous shaman show posts.
Kodi village, West Sumba, Indonesia, early to mid 20th c., stone, Shaman uses this for prayer and to gather healing power to treat people. 14 1/2″ x 7″ x 6 1/2″ without base (16 1/2″ with base), $850.
(near) Kodi village, West Sumba Island, Indonesia, mid 20th c., jack fruit wood, 11 1/2″ x 6″ x 5″, $400.
Borneo, Indonesia, Dayak tribe, early 20th c., Monkey skull, sea shells, bone, ceramic beads, Shaken to scare away evil or harmful spirits, ~ 13″ x 5″, $550.
Borneo, Indonesia, Dayak tribe, early 20th c., Monkey skull, sea shells, metal nail, ceramic beads, glass bead, Shaken to scare away evil or harmful spirits, 12″ x 7″, $550.
Timor Island, Indonesia, Early to mid 20th c., stone, cloth, pigment, used to protect the home and for healing, (male – 7 1/4″ x 5 1/4″) (female – 7 3/4″x 5″), $975. for the pair
Timor Island, Indonesia, Early to mid 20th c., stone, Used in rituals to make rain. ~ (left – 6 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″), (right – 7″ x 5″ x 4 1/2″, $340. each
Lamboya village, West Sumba Island, Indonesia, Early to mid 20th c., Sentiki root wood, Shaman empowers the effigy to bring a successful hunt. (male – 7 1/4″ x 5 1/4″), (female – 7 3/4″ x 5″), $380.
Besikama village, Timor, Indonesia, mid 20th c. wood, for healing herbs and substances, pestle – 12 1/2″ x 2 1/2″; mortar – 7 3/4″ x 4 1/2″ x 4″, $650. for the set
Kodi village, Sumba Island, Indonesia, late 19th to early 20th c., ceramic, 14″ x 9″, $1200.
Dhoki village, Flores Island, Indonesia, stone, late 19th to early 20th c., For healing and divination rituals. This effigy was passed down from father to son. Once a year, it is fed blood to empower it. 14″ x 9 1/2″ 6 1/2″ w/o base (17″ with base), $1600.
Sumba Island, Indonesia, early 20th c., bamboo, wood, twine, pigment, Container for healing herbs and substances, with carved seated figure holding a ceramic or wooden vessel. 23″ x 7″, $390.
Sumba Island, Indonesia, early 20th c. bamboo, wood, twine, for healing herbs and substances, 12″ x 4 1/2″, $280.
Anakalang village, West Sumba Island, Indonesia, Early 20th c., stone, pigment, used for healing and protection and to predict auspicious dates for rituals, and possibly to find lost items. 15 1/4″ x 8″, $1800.
Sumba Island, Indonesia, Early 20th c., wood, 9 1/2″ x 2 1/4″ x 2″, $160.
Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia, wood, 13 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ x 8″, $220.
Sumba Island, Indonesia, early 20th c., wood, 7 1/2″ x 11″ x 4 3/4″, $140.
This introduction and following series of related posts on shamanism serve as an online version of our 2017 fall exhibition, ‘Balancing The Universe: Shamanic Amulets, Instruments and Costumes’. We also have a full color photo catalog available of the all the pieces in the show and 12 color postcards of selected pieces. Scroll down to see catalog and cards at end of this post.
You have likely heard the term ‘Shaman’, but who were – or, are they? Shamanism is an intriguing phenomenon.
Since the beginning of humanity, there has been a need to cure the ailing, and to integrate the physical and spiritual worlds. This universal need gave rise to the art of healing or, ‘Shamanism’. A shaman is a highly trained and disciplined, man or woman, who can enter the spirit world at will to communicate with and influence spirits in service to their community. They have been the keepers of knowledge, the healers, the priests, and the philosophers in virtually all societies around the globe.
Animism, the belief that all things have souls, is another globally shared phenomenon and forms the spiritual origins of the rituals and traditions that most of us in the modern western world see as mysterious. But what is art, science or religion without mystery? Art and spirit converge in this show to take you on a journey into the inspiring and enlightening unknown.
All shaman have a unique repertoire of amulets, instruments, and costumes essential to their own culture. This exhibition includes a wide range of spiritual artifacts personally collected by David Bardwick over the last fifteen years from Nepal, Nagaland and Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and across the Indonesian Islands.
Shamanism is a matter of curiosity for those unfamiliar with its conventions, but it endures as a universal healing method and path to the spirit world which are integral parts of daily life for billions of people around the world