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Banyuwangi Grey Python from Mangrove Wood



This endearing piece of folk art is the work of an anonymous artist from Banyuwangi, the eastern most part of the island of Java. The people of Banyuwangi are called the Osing and they have a culture distinct to the culture of the mainstream East Java. Thierry Durieux collected this python in the early 1990's.

In Java's rice planting cultures the reticulated python is a sacred animal as it is believed to have been created by the batik sarong owned by the fertility and rice Goddess Dewi Sri. The python free to roam the rice fields and is actually called ular sawah meaning rice paddy snake as it helps to keep mice and rats away. In east Bali there is a sacred cave full of bats and reticulated pythons called gua lawa.

This particular python has been made out of two pieces of mangrove wood with one piece stuck with nails and tar which is often used by the fishermen to seal their boats. The tongue is cut out of a piece of tin and the whole snake is painted in grey and black and yellow enamel paint. It stands ready to strike at about 53cm and it sits on approximately 63cm of floor space.

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