West Borneo
Ibanic Dayak complex
Wood, dyes
23.5 × 78 × 9 cm
Price: CHF 500.-
Inv. BO.10.041

Sculpture representing a rhinoceros hornbill, an emblem of supreme divinity among the Iban people, identified as the God of Warfare.

Kenyalangs have been widely described and documented, for example in Iban Art and in Hornbill and Dragon Small sized examples, like this one, are found in Iban Art (p. 146). The bird’s bill was considered the most important and powerful part of the figure ’s body, as it served to blind spiritual enemies. During ceremonies the kenyalang was carried through the house to spread prosperity around, but it was also placed at the top of poles where it was less visible, as invisibility was desirable quality, useful for catching enemies unawares.

This kenyalang, which is particularly simple in its formal aspect, is of a small kind, and possibly it was also placed inside the clan house on ceremonial mats or on short poles.

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