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Asian art

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Ceremonial dance mask (hudoq)

19th century-20th century


Unknown Artist


Throughout Borneo carved wooden masks are used for rituals to ensure fertility and success, and to ward off malevolent spirits and forces of the supernatural world. The Apo Kayan Dayak groups of East Kalimantan, including the Kenyah, Kayan, Busang, Modang, Long Glat and Bahau, are renowned for their elaborate, theatrical representations of gods, spirits and ancestors to ensure bountiful yields at the time of rice planting and harvest. While some masks are worn to channel rice deities and spirits, others are used to entertain and frighten members of the community. This stylised depiction of a jester-like figure or spirit would have once had large wing-like ears affixed to its face, a distinctive feature of ‘hudoq’ masks. Apo Kayan Dayak use of art motifs is determined according to a rigid class structure with some imagery, such as human faces, confined to the aristocracy.


Cultural origin



19th century-20th century

Media category

Ceremonial object

Materials used

wood, pigment, paint


23.0 x 14.0 x 8.5 cm


Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010


Not on display

Accession number


Shown in 1 exhibition

Exhibition history

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


Christopher Wilson, pre 1989-1996, Sydney/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in Indonesia.

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.

Referenced in 1 publication


Niki van den Heuvel, Ancestral art of the Indonesian archipelago, Sydney, 2017, 33 (colour illus.).