Landak, west Kalimantan, Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia
Funerary figure of a nobleman
early-mid 19th century
wood, cotton, shell
74.0 (h) x 77.0 (w) x 12.0 (d) cm
KIT Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam
This stark anthropomorphic funerary figure, with outstretched arms and eyes of inlaid cowry shells, was created by the Bidayuh people of Borneo to honour and protect the soul of a deceased nobleman. The figure’s pose echoes the stance of Bidayuh shamans who, in a state of trance, perform ritual dances to appease spirit deities. Figures of this type may be clothed and adorned with jewellery and weapons befitting the status of the dead person.