Dayak Baby Carrier
A Dayak baby carrier highly decorated displaying protection, wealth and prestige of a family.
Approx Age: Mid 20th Century
Materials: Wood, rattan, bear claws and teeth and snake skin
Dimensions cm: 36 tall x 36 wide x 14 deep
Ref. Number: 0430
A Dayak baby carrier highly decorated for display of wealth and prestige of a family and to protect the baby when it left the safety of the communal longhouse and compound. They were only used when mother and baby were away from home. Materials include wood, rattan, bear claws and teeth and snake skin used in the design of most women’s art is defensive, designed to erect defensive barriers between their families and malignant spirits.
An estimated 18 million people live on the island, with the majority based in the coastal lowlands and cities. The forests of the Heart of Borneo area are of high value for people’s livelihoods and the environment. There is a strong interdependence between Indigenous Peoples and the resources as well as the services the forest provides. There are over 50 ethnic Dayak groups speaking different languages. This cultural and linguistic diversity parallels the high biodiversity and related traditional knowledge of the Heart of Borneo. Borneo culture and art are reflected and expressed through custom, dance and music, food and drink, and even tattoo. This particular Dayak baby carrier would have been designed for a male baby as the decoration of bear teeth and claws is indicative of a male baby, female babies universally show cowrie shells. This piece is mid 20th Century, made from wood, rattan, beads, bear teeth and claws, wooden guardians and snake skin.