Magic Rods and Stakes

Magic pig trap rods and rice guardian stakes started to enter the tribal art market in the Seventies. Out of four, two presented in this highlight are Iban tuntun, while one is Tunjung kelulong.

Iban tuntun
Iban tuntun
Tunjung kelulong

Both kinds of sticks were used as measuring rods, to determine the correct height of a trip wire and of the strike of the blade of a hunting trap, to kill pigs and deer. On their top, a divinity standing (Tunjung) or sitting in squatting position (Iban) had the function to call the spirit of the animal from the heavenly world to catch him in the trap. This function of the carved figures makes tuntun and kelulong Dayak hunting charms.

The forth artword is a powerful Iban rice guardian stake (agom) which was used to protect the rice from malevolent spirits. As the tuntun pig trap rods, they were animated during a special ceremony.

Iban agom
All of the sticks are collected in situ. Ex private collections.