Southeast Asian and early Chinese ceramics by Abhaya Asian ArtAbhaya Asian Antiques
Shan shaman’s mortar

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Folk Art: Pre 1910: item # 885125

Please refer to our stock # 2032 when inquiring.

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Abhaya Asian Antiques
G/F, North Flat, Lot 965 Peak Road West
Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
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Shan shaman’s mortar

Very unusual mortar made from what appears to be a monkeys skull, probably a langur or gibbon as they are the monkeys of this size from the Shan State, Burma where this came. As is the case in much of Southeast Asia, indigenous animist “spirit doctors” play an important role in Shan society and were not at odds with the local Buddhist Yuan sect as they believed these individuals were “monks” of a sort, imbued with magical powers. Potions for healing as well as creams smeared on the body for protection in battle would have been mixed and ground in this. The center of the mortar has been ground to a rough surface after many years of grinding up herbs and other things I probably don’t want to know about. Judging by the wear and patina I would guess this piece to be around 100 years old. Excellent condition, with a fine naturally worn patina. W: 105cm/4.1in and L: 11.5cm/4.5in.

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