ON THE HEIRLOOM BAZAAR USE THE NUMBER IN THE TITLE TO "SEARCH" FOR THIS WORK OF ART
An Iban kelambi(vest) woven with geometric patterns on the front and anthropomorphic spirit (engkaramba) figures on the back. The predominantly bright red color indicates that it belongs to a warrior. Such vests were worn when a warrior went into battle. They were also heirlooms that were passed down the generations, often to the eldest male in the family. The front of the vest is sparsely decorated since it was deemed inappropriate for a warrior to appear in battle with loud and bold patterns to attract enemy attention. On the other hand, since a warrior’s back is the most vulnerable, the back of the vest must be supernaturally shielded with powerful images of protective figures as is the case in this example.
Vernon Kedit, “Headhunter’s jacket (baju kirai), in Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia, Dallas Museum of Art, ed., Reimar Schefold in collaboration with Steven Alpert. Yale University Press, 2013, pp. 164-65.
SUBSCRIBE NOW FOR INVITATIONS TO COMPLIMENTARY CONSULTATIONS, PREVIEWS & TALKS