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

Penan Mat


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Southeast Asian: Folk Art: Pre 1980: Item # 1380388

Please refer to our stock # 4228 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 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 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. I was told at the time of acquisition this had been in family for four generations, however I am bit skeptical of this claim but will guarantee this piece to be 40 to 60 years old. 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.