We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.

🛈 Find out what you need to know before visiting


Bamboo tube (solep) with stopper or charm (karuhai) in the form of seated figure

19th century-20th century


Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Titles
    Medicine container
    Medicine container with carved stopper in shape of a seated figure
    Place where the work was made
    Borneo Indonesia
    Cultural origin
    Ngaju or Iban
    19th century-20th century
    Media category
    Ceremonial object
    Materials used
    bamboo and wood
    36.0 x 3.2 x 3.2 cm :

    a - bamboo container, 26 x 3.2 cm

    b - wood stopper, 12.1 x 2.5 cm

    Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    Decorative bamboo tubes and containers for utilitarian and ceremonial use are widespread in the arts of Borneo. Often present in negotiation and exchange, they were used to hold household items, luxury goods and medicines. Designs vary from depictions of plant motifs and protective symbols to more elaborate narrative imagery relating to the myths and legends of Borneo.While the precise purpose and origin of this tube (‘solep’) and stopper or charm (‘karuhai’) are unknown, the overall design is characteristic of examples created and used by Ngaju shamans of central Kalimantan. Seated atop a lotus-like base, the charm figure would have been carved by a shaman and then attached to the bamboo tube and anointed with offerings of blood or egg.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 2 publications

  • Provenance

    Christopher Wilson, pre Nov 1986-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, probably purchased in Sarawak, Malaysia mid 1970s or1985. Appears in 'Southeast Asian tribal art', an unpublished text by Christopher Wilson, College of Fine Arts, Sydney, November 1986.

    Mariann Ford, 1996-Dec 2010, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, inherited from the estate of Christopher Wilson. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales as part of the Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010.