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Madura Toy Frog Teak and Green Enamel


This toy frog is an excellent example of utilitarian folk art. It is carved out of a piece of teak in simple detail and painted in enamel. The bottom of the frog is hollow, and it appears that originally this frog had a set of wheels which were set in motion by a rubber band twist mechanism. It is made of teak, unlike the more common toys of this design made from papier-mache and sold by professional toy sellers who follow harvest and other celebrations from village to village. This suggests that this toy probably was made by the parent or the elder sibling of the first child owner.

It could also have been made a school project. The founder of modern Indonesian education, Ki Hadjar Dewantara, was very influenced by educationalists like Montessori and Rudolph Steiner and believed that art and crafts were essential in developing the student's and the new Indonesian nation's personality. His ideas dominated Indonesian education until the pro USA New Order regime took control through the massacre of the Communists in 1965-1966, and enforced a more pragmatic curriculum designed to produce a market and a work force for the investments made by the West early in the 1970's.

Whatever the background of this toy, it is an endearing object. It measures approximately 13cm long and 7 cm wide and it stands 5 cm high. Sadly, it has a crack right along its left side, however, it could be easily mended with some wood glue. Thierry Dureiux collected this frog on the island of Madura in the early 1980's.

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DISCLAIMER: The materials and the make dates of Asian antiques are rarely explicit on the piece. All our descriptions of use, materials, and the dates of our antiques are approximates based on our experience and knowledge. Please contact us if you have other suggestions concerning the nature and the dates of the antiques we sell. Any unsatisfactory item, if returned within 30 days, will be fully refunded excluding shipping costs.