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A Fine Old Dayak Jar Stopper Dayak People Borneo Island Indonesia

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Collection No. TB-Dayak Heirloom Jar Lid
Size Diameter 15cm x 11cm Height
The Art of Compassion The Todd Barlin Collection
Asian Buddhist Art
New Guinea & Oceanic Art
New Guinea Oceanic Art
Abelam New Guinea Art

A Fine Old Dayak Jar Stopper Dayak People Borneo Island Indonesia

This beautifully carved old wood Heirloom Jar Stopper is from the Dayak People on the island of Borneo or Kalimantan Indonesia.

In many of the islands that make up the Indonesian archipelago, people kept ancient heirloom ceramic jars that were important cultural objects.  This is just the stopper for an Heirloom Jar but it is a well-carved artwork in the form of a mythological feline beast. Crouching in the centre of the lid the powerful feline figure is honoured by wearing glass trade beads.

To understand the importance of these Dayak Objects here is concise information:

In the article by Dr. Martie Geiger-Ho from the University of Brunei Darussalam  ” VESSELS OF LIFE AND DEATH: HEIRLOOM JARS OF BORNEO ” 2014
”  Endowed with deep cultural meaning and important socio-economic implications, martaban jars, also called peska, or heirloom jars, came to Borneo from Burma, Thailand, and China. As early as the 3rd and 4th century CE (common era) the island of Borneo was an important destination of ceramics, however, it wasn’t until after the Chinese Yuan dynasty that the volume of trade to South East Asia was accelerated.1
While it is true that many Asian countries imported heirloom jars to satisfy the commercial, utilitarian and aesthetic needs of their people, it seems that various indigenous cultures on the island of Borneo held them in the highest esteem as treasured status symbols and even magical artefacts. How these jars served their owners, from holding foods and oils, to providing a final resting place for the bodies and bones of family members will be discussed in this paper. Additionally, the mythology that stemmed from the prestigious porcelain jars themselves, such as their ability to affect the well-being of hunted heads (skulls) hanging in indigenous tribal longhouses, will be presented. A short over-view of how early stoneware Martaban jars, and later Chinese porcelain vessels were traded along the oceanic trade routes of Southeast Asia will set the background for discourse about the many ways in which the indigenous people of Borneo incorporated prized heirloom jars into their societies.

Over 35 years I made a small fine collection of  Dayak Charm Figures and Medicine Stoppers. If interested please ask me about them.

Provenance: The Todd Barlin Collection of New Guinea Oceanic  & Dayak Art


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