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Monday, May 19, 2014

Dayak Kayan Migration into Sarawak..

Young girls show typical dress of Kayan girls.
Location: Sarawak, Borneo.
Dayak Kayan oral history places their homeland in the upper reaches of Apo Kayan River, far to the east of Brunei,across the mountains.From there , different streams of settlers moved east toward the coast, south into the watershed of the Mahakam and west into Sarawak.

The reason given for the emigration is overcrowding (Hang Nyipa 1956), and ecological degradation was advanced.In the late 1890s, the Dutch explorer Anton Nieuwenhuis found that even far up the tributaries there was no primary forest, and only clumps of secondary growth amid rank grasses (Nieuwenhuis 1901:1061).

This situation is relatively rare in central Borneo because overall population densities are so low, and it demonstrates how numerous the Kayan were when the out-migrations began,sometime in the 18th century.

They crossed the mountain chain onto the Sarawak side in Two Parties (Kayan Baram & Kayan Belaga)

Kayan Belaga( Moved into the far headwaters of the Rejang)
Kayan Baram( moved into South of the Baram Watershed)

and by 1800s, their hegemony over the indigenous peoples of the region was apparently well established.From there some moved on again into Baram about 1830.

Meanwhile,other Kayan arrived directly from the Apo Kayan (Rousseau 1990:331-2),within ashort time , a series of large Kayan Communities were established ,effectively occupying the entire middle reaches of the Baram.....SOURCE:the life of the longhouse..

A Kayan man and woman show traditional dress found in Sarawak.
Decorating the coffin of an aristocratic woman(Maran)-LONG AMPUNG ,Apo Kayan in 1963

The interior of a traditional Kayan house.
Location: Sarawak, Borneo.
Photographer: HARRISON W. SMITH/National Geographic Stock
Kayan-Dayak women 1898
Two Kayan-Dayak women busy with stringing beads.
Beads have been brought into and traded throughout insular southeast Asia for millennia and were once a significant means of exchange used as barter for spices, gold and other valuable trade goods. Since then, people from the entire region have utilized trade beads for decoration, adornment, ceremonial textiles and artifacts. The East Indies Museum has examples of tribal beadwork art from numerous island cultures of Indonesia as well as a large collection of Straits Chinese pieces from Sumatra, Singapore and Malaysia. The collection also includes some ancient glass trade beads shown as individual specimens

Kayan Ladies with Sun-Hats

young Kayan girls stretch their earlobes as a sign of beauty.
Location: Sarawak, Borneo
There used to exist a sport of wrestling among the Kayan( PAYU). In this the loincloth, as in sumo, was important, as a place to get a hold on. [ photograph by Charles Hose, ca. 1900.] 


Kayan people escort the Kayan chief to the banks of a river.

Kayan men perform traditional sword dance and play a reed instrument
One hero behind the moved of his own race, this portrait, is a paramount chief in Borneo. [Photo James Ritchie's book] Senator Dato' Sri Temenggong Oyong Lawai Jau QMC, MBE, PNBS, DYAM [Born 1894] was a statesman and leader who lived an exemplary life.
He did not have the opportunity to go to school, but through his exposure to the developed world he was able to take on the responsibility of stewardship.

related post:Learning-kayan-langauage-from-sarawak


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