Photo Gallery

Iban| Kayan


Rice Paddy Planting

An Iban woman plants rice in an irrigated paddy near her village in Sarawak, Malaysia. Among the Iban, the women take the lead in planting, harvesting, and processing the rice, while the men prepare the paddies, determine planting and harvesting times, and guard the crops from pests.

Indigenous tribespeople from the Malaysian Borneo state of Sarawak sit down to a sizeable feast in their jungle longhouse. Such a meal might include sago palm, vegetables, fruits, fish, and roasted game such as wild boar, lizard meat, and deer.
Walking the Paddy

A Malay woman carries a yoke laden with rice seedlings to plant in a large irrigated paddy in Malaysian Borneo. Paddy, a term used throughout the world, actually derives from the Malay word padi, meaning rice.
Warrior Dance

An Iban dancer performs an ngajat, or warrior dance, as ceremonially dressed villagers look on. This dance was traditionally performed by a solo male dancer, accompanied by gongs and drums, to welcome warriors home from battle. Now, it is performed primarily as part of the Iban’s Gawai Kenyalang, or Hornbill Festival
Iban Woman in Traditional Attire

A young Iban woman wearing traditional ceremonial attire poses among Sarawak, Malaysia’s lush forest. Her costume includes numerous silver ornaments, including a necklace, a sash of coins on her sarong, multiple bracelets and anklets, and a tall, ornate silver headdress called a sugu tinggi.
Elder Shooting Blowgun

An Iban elder, with ornate tattoos and a towering headdress made from the feathers of hornbills and other local birds, shoots a blowgun during a village ceremony. On his hip, he wears a tube containing darts and the Iban warrior’s constant companion, a two-foot-long (61-centimeter-long) decorated sword called a parang ilang</em
Making Sago Flour

An indigenous man from Malaysian Borneo stomps on pulp made from sago palm pith while a woman pours water over the concoction. The process extracts carbohydrates, which are dried into flour and used to make bread, noodles, and edible pearls that resemble tapioca.
Plying the Waters of Rajang River

Crowded into a canoe with full gear, a family plies Sarawak’s Rajang River in Malaysian Borneo. The Iban are sometimes referred to as Sea Dayaks because of their affinity for the water, a useful trait on an island dominated by low-lying swampy plains intersected with numerous winding rivers.
Water Village

Sea and sky frame a “water village” off the coast of Borneo, Malaysia. These communities are made up of clusters of huts perched on stilts and connected with plank-wood walkways just above water level. Many water villages are full-fledged communities, comprising shops, religious temples, and communal spaces.

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Kayan Older

The old kayan who wearing tradisional cloth.
Hong Ilnu

a sunhat usually decorated with traditional Kayan motifs, and sometimes also including feathers, used as engagement token, as marriage gift, and for other important social transactions.

Most Kayan tattooing ceased over 40 years ago, and I could find no living traditional artists on the Rejang River in 2002. This photo shows one of the last Kayan tattooists working in 1951.
Tattoo On Leg

This Kayan woman (ca. 1930) was of high rank, as evidenced
by the number of rings around her calves. The motif running up the thighs is called silong lejau (tiger’s faces). At the terminus of these bands you can barely make out a different pattern just above the horizontal lines of the calf. This is called nang klimge (“important design”) and is a degraded anthropomorph. The curclicues below the horizontal lines around the calves are called tushun tuva “the tuba root motif”). Each one of these designs was believed to repel evil forces in the jungle. The unmarked portions of her thigh are also visible.
Tatto Tools

For larger tattooing patterns, Kayan tattooists used wooden stencils called kelinge. These intricately carved blocks were made the male craftmans of the tribe

Kayan Custom.

A guitar-liked instrument called “SAPE”.

Kayan Dance.
Kayan Lady

Kayan Lady with earing ornament.

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