Object Name: Hornbill figure (kenyalang)
Culture: Iban peoples
Place of Origin: Sarawak, Borneo, Malaysia
Date/Era: 19th to early 20th century
Medium/Materials: Wood, paint, cotton thread, plant material, wool
Dimensions: H: 57.20 cm, D: 86.40 cm, W: 14.00 cm (H: 22.5 in, D: 34 in, W: 5.5 in)
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of the Wellcome Trust.
Accession Number: X65.5653
To the Iban peoples of Borneo, the hornbill is a bird of prophecy and a primary vehicle of communication between the human and spirit worlds. The greatest of all Iban festivals climaxes with the raising of carved and painted hornbill figures perched atop tall poles. As a part of the complex of Iban practices once focused on warfare, the hornbills were metaphorically launched to vanquish the enemy.
Source: Gallery text, Intersections: World Arts, Local Lives, 2006.
See also: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.