Dayak Mask



The Dayak people of Borneo, living in dense equatorial forests, constantly use abstract designs from their environment in their decorative arts. Rice is the staple food of the Dayaks, and crop failure can mean starvation. In their belief, rice has a female spirit or "soul" that can be attacked by malevolent spirits, resulting in a poor harvest.

To protect the "rice soul," men don masks depicting fearsome creatures to frighten dangerous spirits from the rice fields. These brightly painted masks represent both human and animal forms. The masks are worn with shaggy costumes of banana leaves and are danced before planting and again at various times as the rice plants mature. This mask is an interpretation of the artist, it represents the mask used by Dayak, with the adaptation of Borneo trademark carvings. It is sold as a tourist mask.


Height : 20″ (50.8cm)