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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dayak of Borneo:Body Adornment

Glass beads from India, China, Asia and Europe were traded into the remote inland jungles of Malaysia from as early as 2,200 BP. It is documented that in the early 20th century a human slave could be bought in exchange for one multi-coloured bead. Prestigious trade beads, together with locally made coral, stone and bone beads, feature in many types of body adornment and accessories worn by the Dayak people of East Malaysia.

Venetian glass beads along with Chinese coins, animal teeth, metal bells and even plastic buttons are worn as amulets and charms. As rare and often foreign objects, they are deemed to contain protective qualities. When worn, they repel evil spirits ensuring the wearer’s well being.

20th century
Glass and bone beads, fabric,
plastic buttons, shells, metal
bells, gimp and gold sequin
Iban People, North Sarawak,

20th century
Glass beads, metal bells, animal
teeth, Indian carnelian bead
and string
Bidayuh People, Sarawak,

20th century
Glass beads, Chinese coin,
metal and twine
Rungus People, North West 

Hat Decoration20th century
Glass seed beads and cotton
Kayan People, Sarawak,

Baby Carrier
20th century
Glass seed beads, Venetian
glass beads, metal bells,
rattan, wood and palm leaf
Kayan People, Sarawak,

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