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. The small collection of Batak protector masks pictured in this catalogue (see them all under our category "Tribal") shows the fascinating range of expressions artisans were able to achieve in these relatively simple carvings. The impression conveyed by this particular mask, one of wide-eyed innocence, is underscored by the soft pastel colors used by its creator. Made with no eye openings because they were meant to be hung on household walls rather than worn, these masks are related in Shamanistic symbolism to the large wood Singha heads used to protect Batak houses from evil spirits. Although the Batak were converted to Christianity by Dutch colonists in Indonesia, they retained strong Shamanist beliefs and practices. In form and character, the masks resemble those from tribal peoples on two other islands--Papua, New Guinea, ancestral masks, and the Kalimantan Dyak Hudoq rice festival masks used to dispel demons. The masks generally are a long teardrop shape with large hypnotic eyes. They are painted in a kaleidoscopic variety of designs and colors. Although this mask most likely is from the latter half of the 20th century, it is difficult to date these masks with accuracy. Dimensions: height 20" (51 cm), width 6 1/2" (17 cm), depth 3" (8 cm).