Rice guardian. Agom

West Borneo
Iban Dayak
64 ×5 × 6.5 cm
Ex private collection
Price: CHF 1'600.-
Inv. BO.HE.AG.1

Wooden stick decorated with an anthropomorphic figure associated to a crocodile divinity, used to protect the growing rice plants. The divinity is represented in its conventional squatting position, with its mouth open showing its teeth, to signal its potency and aggressiveness. Such figures were positioned individually along the path to a rice plot, or in groups, usually next to a river or on the trail to the main rice fields. The pointed stick was inserted in the ground and was left outdoors for the whole season until harvest time.

These artworks are now very rare, one very similar example is documented in Iban Art (pp. 149-151), and another one may be seen in the permanent exhibition at the museum of quai Branly, Paris.

This agom is a very interesting example, in the treatment of the eyes carved in relief and of the markedly sunken mouth, which effectively highlight all its potency and aggressiveness.

Read more

Related Items