H: 21 cm (approx. 8”) wood
Estimated age: end of the 19th century or early 20th century
Provenance: Formerly belonged to Adam Prout; UK. From a historic English collection; Belgian private collection
For the traditional Kalimantan (Borneo) inland peoples, the natural environment consists of tangible objects and spiritual entities, both categories being equally “natural” and equally “real.” The spirits can be more powerful than humans and may be harmful. The people avoid them or try to neutralize them with appropriate rituals. Designs in wood (carvings, statues, but also household arts), plait work, beadwork, and textiles are powerful devices against these dangerous spirits. Ancient Bahau-Dayak lid, probably for a ceramic jar, depicting the face of a mythical creature (aso)
Upper Mahakkam in East Kalimantan. Nicely carved lid in the form of a face. Probably from a shaman’s box.