"Dayak" Art

Erath Tribal Art specializes in art from the indigenous tribes of Borneo, commonly grouped together under the term “Dayak.” These various tribes have different languages, customs, and art.

The Iban, sometimes referred to as “Sea Dayaks”, are the largest tribe of Borneo and well known throughout the world as having been fierce headhunters. They are known by art collectors for their amazing textiles dyed in the warp ikat style. These textiles include skirts (bidang), jackets (kalambi), loincloths (sirat), and the famous pua kumbu or spiritual blanket. The pua served many purposes, from partitioning off an area for a shaman to work his magic, to carrying back heads after a head-hunting raid. Spirit figures, animals, plants, and other objects were woven into the pua to create special significance.

The Iban, and other tribes of Borneo such as the Orang Ulu (up-river people), are also well known for their longhouses, which can extend more than 300 meters and house hundreds of people. In the common gallery of the longhouse women can often be found weaving textiles and making baskets and mats of rattan and bamboo. Around the longhouse and at the entrance, fantastic ironwood carvings were placed to keep evil spirits away and to help with the rice harvest, although this is uncommon today as the majority of the tribes have been converted to Christianity.

The Orang Ulu consist of several different tribes, such as the Kayan, Kenyah, and Penan (one of the last nomadic tribes in the world), who are among the most well known outside of Borneo. They typically live in Central Borneo along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, thus the name “up-river people”. The Kenyah and Kayan people are especially known for their Hudoq masks used in various ceremonies, and their work with glass beads incorporated into textiles, baby carriers, and statues.

Erath Tribal Art

If you would like more information please send us an email at info @ erathtribal.com.


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