Small carvings in the form of human figures, demonic creatures and animals in contorted positions are found throughout the numerous Dayak communities of Borneo. Often made by a shamanic priest, these talismanic charms are kept within the family apartments of communal longhouses, attached to baby carriers and cribs, or worn by individuals on necklaces and belts. In an environment where great dangers are posed by both the natural and supernatural world, amulets provide the living with protection against harm, illness and other calamities. While some were intended to scare off evil forces, others alluded to concepts and legends associated with the Dayak universe. This charm depicting three entwined humanoid figures may have been worn by a shaman, strung onto a necklace or belt incorporating other valuable and powerful charms, beads, animal teeth, claws and bones.
19th century-20th century
6.5 x 8.0 x 1.8 cm
Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
Not on display
Shown in 1 exhibition
Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019
Caspian Gallery, circa 1997, Paddington/Sydney/New South Wales/Australia
Mariann Ford, circa 1997-2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, acquired from Caspian Gallery (art dealership). Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.
Referenced in 1 publication
Niki van den Heuvel, Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 49 (colour illus.).