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Nyi Blorong Snake Queen



Nyi Blorong is a mythical Javanese Queen of snakes. Some legends have her as being one of the daughters of the Queen of the South Seas. She has the face of a beautiful woman but has the body of a snake, glittering with golden scales. She is sometimes worshiped by people wishing to acquire worldly wealth. Often they go to the cliffs of the South Seas, where there are many caves, to sit and meditate as ascetics. People come for an audience with Nyi Blorong, who will grant riches to those who please her.

This wall decoration is carved out of two pieces of an old plank of teak wood that appears to have once been used as something else. The back of the panel is weathered, suggesting that it probably used to be the outer panelling of a house. It is unusual to see a figure of Nyi Blorong because people normally are afraid to be seen to have anything to do with her.

The headgear of this figure is that of a shadow puppet's queen, indicating that the maker was familiar with shadow puppets. The enamel paint and the brush work suggest that this was probably made by a child as part of a school project. This would date the piece as made between the 1950's - 1970's, because at that time crafts were an important part of the Indonesian curriculum.

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