| Baby carrier [hawat or ba']

Bahau-Busang people
Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia

Baby carrier [hawat or ba'] 19th century
hardwood, conus shells, fibre, bamboo
33.0 (h) x 41.0 (w) x 17.5 (d) cm
Musée du quai Branly, Paris
© 2010 Musée du quai Branly Photograph: Patrick Gries/ Scala, Florence


Across Borneo, babies are transported on their mothers’ backs in decorated carriers. With the addition of shells, bells, talismanic beads and even the teeth of wild animals, the carriers are designed to safeguard the infant’s wellbeing and ward off evil spirits. The finest are also deeply carved with dangerous demonic features. Large, round eyes of inlaid shell stare out of narrow, heart-shaped faces above small mouths with bared teeth. 

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