Head Ornament – Sulawesi

The sanggori is a brass head ornament from Central Sulawesi, with roots extending back to the late Bronze Age in Indonesia. Its distinctive form, like that of a tightly curled blade, suggests a serpent, one of the oldest motifs in the Austronesian cultural sphere and one with powerful associations to the underworld. Later influences may have included the Naga snake and the dragon.

Balanced vertically on the top of the wearer’s head and attached to a head wrapping, the sanggori was traditionally worn by chieftains during ceremonies and in battle, believed to bestow magical protective powers on its wearer. Like all ornaments from Sulawesi, it signified prestige and social status, and was sometimes worn by aristocrats during ritual festivals.

Late 19th century
9 1/2" h 7 3/4" w
Provenance: Ex private California collection; Joel Cooner Gallery; Bruce Frank Primitive Art
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