Object Name: Priest’s staff (tunggal panaluan)
Culture: Batak peoples
Place of Origin: Sumatra, Indonesia
Date/Era: 19th to early 20th century
Medium/Materials: Wood, feathers, cotton cloth, hair
Dimensions: H: 180 cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Miguel Covarrubias Collection.
Accession Number: X74.L360
Staffs are among the most important of a wide variety of paraphernalia used by Toba Batak priests (datu) to establish contact with the spirit world. The power of the staff is embodied in a substance called pukpuk (literally, ”fertilizer”), inserted in the wrappings on the head of the top figure.
Source: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.