Art & Artists / Highlights / Baby carrier

Baby carrier

Baby carrier
19th/20th century
Borneo : Kenyah
Wood, shell
h 35.6 cm
UEA 797

Made for a baby born to the Dayak peoples indigenous to central Borneo, this was an object of great value. It is made from hardwood, native in this deeply forested region, and carved with aggressive-protective crouching dog-dragon like creatures with shell discs for eyes. A plethora of high value applied decoration originally included all kinds of small objects in precious and symbolic materials, shells, tiger teeth, amulets and jewels. These were hung from the lugs around the carrier and were contributed by relatives, friends, neighbours who wished to protect the baby and through association, to form a wider kinship group.

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