Southeast Asian and early Chinese ceramics by Abhaya Asian Art Abhaya Asian Antiques

Penan rattan mat

Penan rattan mat

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Textiles: Pre 1970: Item # 1316592

Please refer to our stock # 3153 when inquiring.
Abhaya Asian Antiques
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G/F, North Flat, Lot 965 Peak Road West
Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
Tel/Fax 852-29847509

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Rare and unique large Penan rattan mat with human headed snake spirit motif. This piece was sourced from an Iban longhouse in Kampong Yamok, Kapit District, Sarawak. The pattern is distinctly Penan suggesting that it was either a barter item or that the original owner, an Iban man had a Penan wife. I was told this piece had been in the family for 4 generations but this could simply a “sales talk”. It is old maybe 30 to 50 years- I bought this in 2001 in Sarawak. This kind of mat would not have been used for daily use or sat upon but would be hung up for oracle ceremonies. The human head snake spirit is considered very important among the nomadic Penan peoples of the forest. The viewer is invited to observe, in the enlargements, the sophisticated composition of the design especially the disproportionally large heads and torsos in comparison to the legs and feet giving it a three dimensional perspective. Excellent condition with a couple of frays on the corners. Of course my opinion is subjective but I consider this piece a masterwork of ethnic art. L: 2.1m/7.4ft and W: 1.3m/4.3ft.

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