This primitive carved wood mask is from the Batak people who live around mystical Lake Toba in the northern reaches of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. The small collection of Batak protector masks pictured in this catalogue (see them all under our category "Tribal") shows the fascinating range of facial expressions artisans were able to achieve in these relatively simple carvings. This particular mask has a bird theme, with rather predatory owl-like eyes and a red and green bird head that hangs down from the chin. Made with no eye openings because they were meant to be hung on household walls rather than worn, these masks are related in Shamanistic significance to the large wood Singha heads that are used to protect Batak dwellings from evil spirits. Although the Batak were converted to Christianity by the Dutch colonists in Indonesia, they retained strong Shamanistic beliefs and practices. In form and character, these masks resemble those from tribal peoples on two other islands--the Papua, New Guinea, ancestral masks, and the Kalimantan Dyak Hudoq masks used to dispel demons during rice festivals. The masks generally are a long teardrop shape with large hypnotic eyes. Sometimes they have the same strange bird appendage that this mask has. They are painted in a kaleidoscopic variety of designs and colors. Although this mask most likely dates from the latter half of the 20th century, it is difficult to date these masks with accuracy. Dimensions: height 20 1/4" (51 cm), width 7" (18 cm), depth 2 1/2" (6 cm).