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Lot n° 1511

A RARE CEREMONIAL STOOL Borneo, Kalimantan, East...

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A RARE CEREMONIAL STOOL Borneo, Kalimantan, East Kajan, Dayak, late 19th c, /early 20th c. 29,8 x 57 x 49 cm A tripod seat, made from the natural fork of a tree. Carved in relief with stylised abstract aso dragon motifs and human or demonic apotropaic figures with staring eyes and prominent teeth. A layer of brown pigment covers the wood. The shape is reminiscent of the mythical dragon aso ("dog"), which plays an important role as protector and ancestor of the nobility. The aso dragon motif originally comes from the Zhou period (mid-first millennium BCE) when the Austronesian ancestors of the Dayak migrated from the Austronesian homeland of south-west China (Yunnan) and the eastern foothills of the Himalayas to South-East Asia.Such seats were used by healers or shamans manang . They may also have been used by a high-ranking warrior when serving rice wine. Outside of festival times, such chairs were placed in front of the living flats of the nobility on the veranda in the longhouse and documented the rank of the occupant. Special seats were also used at gawai (festivals) as a sign of rank and status for high-ranking warriors (in everyday life, the Dayak sit at ground level on rattan mats). Chairs or stools probably only appeared in Indonesia in the course of the last few centuries under Muslim influence, as they are not found on Hindu-Javanese temple friezes. Gawai Dayak, annual festivals that could last several weeks, are held on different occasions. They differ slightly between the different Dayak ethnic groups, but the occasions such as harvest thanksgiving, sowing, commemoration of ancestors, spiritual purification rituals, confirmation of the social order and - in the past - victory in intertribal feuds are the same. A chair is often provided, and the high ancestors are called upon to take a seat and attend the festivities. It is likely that this seat was intended for the ritual placement of a high-ranking ancestor on the occasion of one of the great war festivals. From an old German private collection, assembled since the 1950s - Minor traces of age and slightly chipped Lit.: Ave, J. B. / King, V. (1986): People of the Weeping Forest. Tradition and Change in Borneo. Leiden. - Hein, A.R. (1895): Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Ornamentes bei den Dayaks. Wien. - Sellato, B. (1992): Hornbill and Dragon. Arts and Culture of Borneo. Sun Tree Publishing. - Taylor, P. M. / Aragon, L. V. (1990): Beyond The Java Sea. Arts of Indonesia`s Outer Islands. New York.