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Asian Art
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Kayan people Three beams from a chief's longhouse 19th century Place made: Kalimantan, Borneo, Indonesia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, ironwood, shell
Dimensions: 45.7 h x 495.3 w cm 45.7 h x 386.5 w cm 45.7 h x 467.3 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1999
Accession No: NGA 99.117.1-3
  • The communal long-houses of the Dayak peoples of Borneo are renowned for their dynamic sculptural decoration. Narrow and roofed with a bilateral pitch, the Kayan long-house comprises a public gallery and verandah on one side and living quarters for the extended families on the other. The entrance to the chief’s residence is distinguished by complex carving or painting on its door, beams and posts. Motifs incorporated into these beams include human figures, demonic faces, serpents, dragons and birds.

    Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
    From: Asian gallery extended display label