From time to time, I will post examples of tribal art from different cultures which I think are artistically and cultural compelling. This is the 5th installment in the series.
The Dayaks of Borneo traditionally live in longhouses comprising up to 50 rooms. As the most important dwelling structure, long houses are often decorated with powerful images of spirits carved in relief or sometimes in the round, like this Aso (‘dragon’) finial. The work of a master carver, the creature has an imposing head and a sinuous body ending in a graceful tail. The overall form of this Aso – in particular, its head turn on its back – recalls the ancient bronze dragons of early China.