Vintage Rhinoceros Hornbill sculpture from Sarawak
A SYMBOL OF GUIDANCE AND GOOD LUCK
This beautiful sculpture was hand carved by local artisans in Sarawak, a Malaysian state on Borneo and home of the Iban people, dating back to the 1980's. It’s in a beautiful condition, made in wood, paint, glass beads and metal and depicts a rhinoceros hornbill called kenyalang, a large forest bird whose beak is often made with a spiral shape.
In Iban cosmology, hornbills are associated with the spiritual world, warfare and headhunting. They serve as intermediaries between the deity Singalang Burong and the human world. Hornbill sculptures were at the centre of the gawai kenyalang, a ceremony that could only be led by an important war leader or his descendants. They also are used in other, similar rites. At the height of the ceremony, the hornbill figure is raised at the top of a tall pole. Afterwards the sacred hornbill is kept in the communal longhouse and brought out to receive offerings during future ceremonies and rites.
The sculpture comes complete with a black metal stand and its story printed out for you inside a beautiful envelope. The tail is moving very slightly and needs to be handled with care.