Loan Object
Photo by Johan Vipper
Photo credit: Johan Vipper


19th century

Wood with pigment

36 × 30 × 7 cm (14 3/16 × 11 13/16 × 2 3/4 in.) base: 12.5 × 12.5 × 33 cm (4 15/16 × 4 15/16 × 13 in.)
Promised gift of Thomas Jaffe, B.A. 1971
Masks are used in many performances and ceremonies in Borneo, although they appear on different occasions in different regions. In western Borneo, they are used during circumcision and wedding rituals. Among the Kayan and Kenyah of eastern Borneo, masks are linked with the rice-planting festival, when elaborate performances are staged to ensure a good harvest. In southern Borneo, they traditionally appear as part of funeral ceremonies. Some represent refined human beings, and some depict fantastic animals based on real or imaginary prototypes, such as boars, hornbills, or dragons.
probably Kayan
19th century
Made in Borneo, Malaysia
On view*

Ex-collection: S. Alpert, Dallas; A. Plowright, Paris; J. Sadovnic, Bali.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.