Vintage Kayan forehead ornament from Borneo
A SYMBOL OF NOBILITY
This striking piece was handmade on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, crafted in brass with ancient techniques sometime during the 1980's. It's the oly piece of its kind in our collection today.
Among the most distinctive types of metalwork in Borneo were forehead ornaments of this type, made by the Kenyah/Kayan and neighbouring peoples and worn by warriors. The ornaments were attached to war helmets made from coiled basketry to offer protection from enemy weapons, as well as showing wealth and social status.
Kenyah/Kayan societies were divided into hereditary social ranks consisting of: high chiefs, minor nobility, commoners and slaves. Only members of the highest ranks were allowed to wear or use objects decorated with human-like faces or figures. Ornaments like this one, which depicts a stylized human face, were worn by men of noble birth.
Dimensions: 38 x 14 x 7cm with the stand