48.5 x 8.5 cm (irreg.)
Bead-work is used on Indonesian textiles to adorn items as varied as skirts, jackets, hangings, bags, bands and even baby carriers. The glass beads themselves would have found their way to Kalimantan through the extensive trade between island coastal ports and those of other parts of Asia.
The Kenyah and Kayan of Kalimantan are proficient in such beading, with designs incorporating many of the images relating to their cosmology which is associated with numerous mythical creatures, spirits and animals. Geometric patterns often symbolize protective powers as well. The wearing of such beaded pieces also indicated social status, with this piece having a type of patterning chiefly worn by a noble man.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, June 2008
Robyn Maxwell, Textiles of Southeast Asia : tradition, trade and transformation, Canberra, 1990.