The Freud Museum

Carving with kneeling figure intertwined with spiders and scorpion

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3084, Carving with kneeling figure intertwined with spiders and scorpion, 1930s

Artist: Photographer: Ardon Bar Hama
Culture: Balinese
Material: Wood, likely Panggal Buaya Wood
Dimensions: 26.7 x 6.5 x 10 cm

Carving depicting a woman meditating, with snakes scorpions and spiders.

Produced by one of the Balinese Master carvers of the 1930s, mostly likely Ida bagus Njana. There are only two other carvers of the 1930s that could match Njana's skills: I Ketut Rodja and I Geremboeang. These were the master carvers of the Village of Mas, Bali, in the 1930s. It depicts a woman meditating, possibly in a forest or a cemetery, and being tempted or haunted by myriads of poisonous creatures (snakes, scorpions and spiders) and evil spirits (shown as the "hand" and "limb" of the dwellers of the underworld). These beings could have been real or a mere illusion of human minds enduring a frightening experience during the meditation process. These experiences were studied by Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson during their research into the Balinese psyche. These American anthropologists were known to ask Balinese painters to draw their dreams and experiences of the unconscious mind.

With thanks to Soemantri Widagdo, Curator of the Museum Puri Lukisan, for providing additional information.

See this object on our Collections site here

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