: Art & Craft
Powerful, expressive Dayak woodcarvings and other art froms
- cloth, beadwork - have universal appeal. Styles and motifs varied from
group to group, and not all Dayaks had a strong artistic tradition.
Longhouse, especially those of the Kenyah, Kayan and related
groups, are works of art on large scale. These ironwood structures, sheltering
a whole village under one roof, are perched on a forest of stilts, two
or more meters off the ground. Painted and carved decorations cover stairs,
doors, outside walls and roofs of longhouses.
Ritual dances, very pupular in the interior, mark the transitional stages
of life and important village events : coming of age, marriage,death,
banishing illness. fighting wars, planting and harvesting rice.Usually
held at night, Dayak dance are exciting spectacles of screaming, tomo-tomming
dancers in aminal skin and plumes of feathers. The Dayak also renowned
for their solo sword dances, shows the skill of a young manm using a sharp
Some dayak tribes still play a curious musical instrument, the kledi,
a mouth organ akin to a bagpipe wtih six or eight narrow strips of bamboo
cane protruding from a hollow oval gourd. Another unusual instrument found
among some tribes is the sampe, a large flat flute with rattan
strings which resonate over a painted wooden box. Also played are goblet-shaped
drums made from heavy, hollowed-out tree trunks. Natives of the northern
region play magnificent dragon gongs.
The Dayak's outstanding aesthetic sense is apparent in incridible tatto
designs combining snake, bird, and plant motifs. The most intricate tattoing
may require months of hard work. Tattos are not just decorative; they
denote tribe, family, and social standing. The Kenyah and Kayan Tribes
of the northeast have the most attractive and complicated tattoo patterns.
Boy get their first tattoos at the age of 12. As they grow to manhood,
all journey, skirmishes, and spiritual events are recorded.
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to Indonesia and our Cultural, Adventure and Wildlife trips, kindly
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