Kenyah-Kayan (Kenyalang). HORNBILL BIRD EFFIGY. Sarawak, Borneo, later 20th Century. Carved and painted wood sculpture. 26 x 52 x 6 inches. The Hornbill is the national bird of Sarawak. The Gawai Kenyalang, the festival of the Hornbill, is celebrated in honor of ther God of war, Iban. As part of the festival, an effigy such as this is erected at the top of a tall pole outside the longhouse of the celebrating village. The Kenya-Kayan people were formerly headhunters, and the festival was celebrated before undertaking an attack. Although headhunting has been long suppressed, the longhouse culture and its art traditions survive. Works like this, although of recent execution, are representative of a continuing tribal aesthetic, and not made for a tourist market. This piece was collected by an American who lived and worked in Borneo for several years. In excellent condition, with the colors very fresh and bright.
HORNBILL BIRD EFFIGY