An image of Amulet

Unknown Artist

Amulet

Other titles:
Charm
Location
Lower Asian gallery
Further information

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.

Place of origin
Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia
Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
Year
19th century-20th century
Media
Woodwork
Medium
wood
Dimensions
6.5 x 8.0 x 1.8 cm
Credit
Christopher Worrall Wilson Bequest 2010
Accession number
415.2010