The famous sidearm of the headhunters of Borneo.
Anything similar for sale?
A fine ceremonial paddle of the Ngaju Dayak of southern Borneo. Such paddles are associated with wedding ceremonies where the to-be-weds would at some point paddle off in a canoe.
This piece is beautifully and skillfully carved from a single piece of heavy, dark ironwood. The decorative motifs include floral scrolling patterns that bear influence from mainland Southeast Asia, with entangled fruit-bearing vines with stylized flowers.
The center of the blade is carved on each side with 6 shallow channels with a stylized flower in its center, the whole surrounded by floral borders. There are remains of a green pigment, suggesting it was one lacquered.
The handle is marked in white paint; "B/126", an inventory mark from previous owner Ben Medze.
In good condition, some chips off the wood here and there, see photos.
It comes with a nice custom iron stand to present the piece upright.
The Dayak paddle presented on its stand.
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With less common wooden hilt and elaborately inlaid blade in brass, copper and silver.
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