Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art

A Pottery Sculpture - Torso of a Majapajit Woman - 13th-14th Cty

A Pottery Sculpture - Torso of a Majapajit Woman - 13th-14th Cty

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Sculpture: Pre 1492: Item # 1292170

Please refer to our stock # 60DDD when inquiring.
This is a fine three dimensional sculptured earthenware torso of a Majapahit woman (possibly a Chieftain's wife) mounted on a wood stand. The torso 73/4" high by itself (9" when mounted on the wooden stand). It is 5 1/2" wide by 3 1/4" thick front to back. The wooden stand us 8" wide by 3 1/4" deep by 1 3/4" thick at the base. As you can see in the photographs, most of the woman's right arm has been broken off from the shoulder to below the elbow. The left arm is broken off above the elbow. And the head has clearly been broken off and re-glued to the torso. The final picture is of the bottom of the torso - the white material seen inside the body is an old crumpled Indonesian newspaper stabilizes the figure on the wooden stand.

The piece was acquired from a collection of an Indonesian collector of antiquities and was purported to date from circa 1350. We have no provenance to that effect but do believe that it could very well be that old. To be conservative, we will assign a late 19th to early 20th century dating as it could have been made as a tribute piece in honor of the Majapahit days.

The Majapahit Empire was an Indianized kingdom in eastern Java and ruled much of the southern Malay Peninsula, Borneo, Sumatra, Bali, and the Philippines from about 1293 to around 1500. The Majapahit was the last of the great Hindu empires of the Malay archipelago. After peaking the 1300s, Majapahit power began to decline with a war over succession that started in 1401 and went on for four years. Majapahit found itself unable to control the rising power of the Sultanate of Malacca.

Dates for the end of the Majapahit Empire range from 1478 to 1520. A large number of courtiers, artisans, priests, and members of the royalty moved east to the island of Bali at the end of Majapahit's existence, where they remained isolated until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the Dutch colonials mounted a military expedition to take control of the island; Indonesian nationalists of the 1920s and 1930s made use of the historical memory of the Majapahit Empire as evidence that the peoples of the archipelago had once been united under a single government, and so could be again, in modern Indonesia.