Balinese Raksasa Pratima 24 cm (9.5 inches)
A rare 19th Century Balinese wood carving of a Raksasa (demon) Pratima. Superbly carved with tremendous detail. He stands on an ornate plinth, with one arm raised and ready to strike with the weapon he holds behind his back (a kris or club). In his other hand he holds a small sacred lontar palm-leaf book.
Raksasa are protective guardian demons that frighten away evil spirits. They are usually found in pairs guarding the entrance to Balinese temples, palaces, bridges, etc. Pratima are sacred representations of god or ancestral spirits which the Balinese place in shrines and temples as vessels for visiting deities to occupy during festivals and ceremonies.
This is a very fine carving in perfect condition save for two very shallow old and stable cracks at the base of the plinth. The carving was originally primed in white and brightly coloured but this has all but vanished over the years, and it now has a brownish old wood colour with the considerable patina of age and use. It was purchased in Bali in the early 1990s from a private collection of Balinese antiquities.