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by Micha F. Lindemans
A mythical creature of the Indonesian Batak people who live in the mountains in Sumatra. Although the name means "lion", it resembles no living creature. Its representation, generally confined to the head, is the synthesis of several superior forms of creation and its appearance varies between the buffalo and a distorted human figures. However, some Singas show clearly identifiable legs beside the face and every form of intermediate between the Singa and the clearly anthropomorphic is to be found. Characteristics are invariable the bilateral symmetry, the lengthened face, and round impressive eyes, occasionally accompanied by highly developed eye-brows (which at time are depicted almost like antlers).

The Singa is the dominant theme of Batak decoration, particularly among the Toba Batak where it is to be found on houses, domestic utensils, wooden coffins, stone sarcophagi, copper jewelry, etc. Its omnipresence would seem to indicate above all a protective role.

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