19th Century Tribal Dayak Charm Figure Borneo Indonesia



This carving exhibits a very fine, deep, blackened patina from decades of use.

The Dayak’s are the native people of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily identifiable. Dayak languages are categorised as part of the Austronesian languages in Asia. The Dayak’s were animist in belief; however many converted to Islam and since the 19th century, mass conversion to Christianity

Charm figures are found in every Dayak Longhouse. They are used by Dayak Shamans in healing rituals and they are believed to be able to save a Dayak’s soul. Dayak’s believe illness is caused by supernatural forces that inhabit the sick person. To cure the illness the Shaman must exorcise the evil spirits by frightening them away. The figures are carved in anthropomorphic and zoomorphic styles, representing deities both from the upper and lower worlds.

PERIOD:19th Century
WEAR:Wear consistent with age and use
HEIGHT:7 in. (18 cm)
WIDTH:2 in. (5 cm)
DEPTH:1.75 in. (4 cm)

Out of stock