A stylized human head with an elaborate coiffure, sitting atop a larger animal head with scarification marks below the eyes, tops a well-carved staff with angular handle and a zig-zag carved pattern below the handle. The eyes of both figures are set in shallow cavities and appear squinted or closed.
Finely carved staffs (called "kooko" or "nhkuumbu" in the local language) display their use as symbols of a chief's authority. Reference to leadership and the elders is also made in the variations in coiffure and headgear that represent the distinctive hairstyles of previous generations of chiefs. Among the Yaka, living elders and chiefs were regarded as repositories of supernatural powers, who can protect against evil as well as withdraw their protection in case of disobedience or disrespect.
A tanuki, or racoon dog, is seen peering over its shoulder on a snowy hill. Its footprints disappear in the snow behind it. Bamboo rise from out of view on the bottom right, and dominate the upper register of the image. This painting mounted on a hanging scroll also includes elaborate gold fabric with repeating designs.
A tanuki, or racoon dog, is seen peering over its shoulder on a snowy hill. Its footprints disappear in the snow behind it. Bamboo rise from out of view on the bottom right, and dominate the upper register of the image. The scene has a sense of temporality.
The obi is made of satin damask silk woven with “flower in tortoise-shell” patterns. “Cracked ice” pattern in red is dyed with wax-resist technique. Orchid flowers, leaves, ginger leaves, and ferns are hand painted in white, yellow, black, red, and green. Silver threads are embroidered in the rim of orchid flowers and other plants; more colored metallic and velvet threads are applied. The “cracked ice” patterns are broader adjacent to plants and red dye outlines them; that suggests that the artist designed flowers and foliage before the wax-resist application. The plant designs are located on two parts of the obi; when wearing, one will appear in front, and other will appear on the back bow.
Orchids are traditionally considered as symbols of virtuous person in East Asian cultures. But the white orchid flowers in this obi are cultivated kinds, more recent imports to Japan; their flamboyant appearance conveys exotic feeling.
Black pain-weave satin interwoven with silk threads in light purple, rust, coral, maize, chartreuse, red, white, and ultramarine, and metallic threads in three shades of gold. The hexagonal shapes are definied by a weft of gold-coated paper (kinran) in pale greenish gold; the gold threads used in the medallions are wrapped. Inside each medallion is a phoenix design among a floral scroll.
Multicolored silk with gold and silver threads, woven in T-paper (sayagata) pattern
Zôri are flat sandals, similar in form to flip-flops, commonly worn with traditional Japanese clothing. Zôri styles can range from casual to formal, and a pair covered in woven material like this would have been very elegant.
Standing gilt bronze Buddha with glass inlay in royal costume. Stands on a lotus pedestal with both hands raised in abhaya mudra.
Buddha in intricate costume standing on a lotus pedestal. Such elaborate decoration has come to characterize Thai Buddhist imagery of the 19th and 20th centuries. Hands form double abhaya mudra (the gesture of reassurance), called “calming the ocean” by Thais.