The livelihoods of Toba Batak (Samosir Island, North Sumatra) wood-carvers depend on sales to Western tourists. Most carvers re-create historic forms, yet others make objects that combine aspects of ancestral and Western traditions. This article documents the story of the carver Partoho and his wife Ito as they attempted to understand tourists’ tastes and preferences, focusing in particular on one carving. Partoho’s lamp serves to focus an investigation of the theoretical use of hybrid in the context of transforming material culture. Conflation is suggested as an alternative to hybrid.

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