I had never articulated the thought in my head until Kuching but had always known this even during my days of scrounging through Chor Bazaar in Bombay and flea markets in Singapore: that going through antique shops is like taking a lesson in culture.\nA lesson in which \u201cinterest\u201d leads you into deeper exploration, not the teacher and not a structure. It is the most delightful way of learning \u2013 one that Maria Montessori has instituted.\nSo in Kuching on a free afternoon I began strolling along the waterfront shops \u2013 expecting to see many souvenirs and buy nothing. Window shopping is always fun as there are so many stimuli that delight the visual senses. But this walk in Kuching was much more so because the culture was unknown and even simple articles created by locals were completely new and interesting for me \u2013 clothing made out of tree bark, bamboo articles, beads that each had some significance and so on.\nAfter minutes of casual strolling a curious object caught me eye \u2026. watch the video here where a clueless ignoramus (me) finds out about how crocodile\u2019s \u201cjewels\u201d can help to make a man \u2018strong\u2019\n\nAfter getting over my amusement, I walked on and entered some shop-houses \u2013 long and narrow with rooms deep within that only serious clients would be invited to visit \u2013 rooms that held their treasures in wood and textiles.\nAnd as I looked, my eye began getting trained on categories that I had never seen before. Through Q&A my mind was forming models of the features of old vs new, this tribe vs that \u2013 a structure with which to assess the articles my eyes were feasting on.\nMost shops were fancy, with soft lighting and soft music, sparsely populated with things. These were for the sophisticated clients \u2013 who would have enjoyed some wine to go along with the shopping experience. Obviously overpriced \u2013 and unaffordable to me.\nAnd then there were some others.\nChaotic, messy, no ordered arrangement of articles, dusty, untidy and crowded with things. To reach most things, you\u2019d have to shift some other things, and probably get down on your knees and get your hands dusty. But here is where the little stories lay hidden in the little forgotten objects in uncleaned glass cabinets.\nHidden amongst the commonplace things were curious objects that conveyed the glimpse of a mysterious world \u2013 a world whose secrets\u00a0 would never be revealed to me in all their completeness. These interesting objects lay interspered with other commonly found ones \u2013 and it would have been a pity to miss them \u2013 who know how many I did miss!\nHere are some that I did notice:\nBeaded penile piercings made of bone.\n\n\nCarved penile covers\n\n\nRitual Fertility charms\n\nUmbilical cord holding ritual baskets (No picture)\nBone Calenders from another world\n\nAnd the beauty of the culture was that there was no Victorian attitude towards sexual articles. The male dealers and their female assistants were straightforward in explaining their uses. I cannot imagine that in other places where this entire category is hidden away into the closet!\nThe post Curious Dayak Tribal Objects appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.