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A Gorgeous Pair of Dayak Hornbill Earrings

A Gorgeous Pair of Dayak Hornbill Earrings
A Gorgeous Pair of Dayak Hornbill Earrings

Hornbill ear ornaments are very rare, probably due to their fragility. This pair is the most beautiful I have ever seen. The golden patina is consistent with significant age and use. Such ear ornaments would have been worn in a man's extended earlobe either singly or in pairs. The present example is carved from two single pieces of hornbill casque or beak. Each ear ornament takes the shape of a coil decorated on both sides with tendril-like aso motifs. The aso is a mythical underworld hybrid dragon-dog female fertility figure. The dragon imagery in Dayak art may be derived in part from dragons or other mythical creatures portrayed in Chinese art since ancient times [see second photo). 

The hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) is a large forest bird known for its enormous orange-red beak and casque and dark blue feathers. It was regarded with enormous symbolic importance among the Dayaks who traditionally viewed the hornbill as a representation of the upper-world god. The wearing of hornbill feathers and carved casques during ceremonies conveyed the high status, power and prestige of the wearer (mostly men).

Information

a. Origin Iban Dayak, Borneo, Indonesia
b. Estimated Age Early 20th century
c. Craft (Embroidery etc) Hornbill casque.
d. Size (mention cm/inches) 4.3 cm
e. Condition Report Excellent condition with no loss.
f. Damage & Shortcomings Nil.
g. Item Location (Country) Singapore
Seller Name Wai Mun Fong
Seller's Email ID edfwm2013@gmail.com
A Gorgeous Pair of Dayak Hornbill Earrings
A Gorgeous Pair of Dayak Hornbill Earrings