Early-20th Century Carved Wooden Ritual Calendar from Kalimantan (Borneo)
An early-20th Century wooden ritual calendar from Kalimantan (Borneo). A circular calendar with carved human and animal figures on both sides makes for an intriguing tribal sculptural piece. The work is carved from a medium weight, dark wood which is now faded into an elegantly aged patina. An anatomically-accurate male fertility figure with an animal tail tops the spherical form. The tail represents man's connection with the animal world.
Ritual calendars were used by the Dayak Ngaju ethnic group living in the centre of the island of Borneo (Kalimantan). The inner sphere carved on the rear of the calendar represents the sun which gives life to the earth's animals and plants and to its peoples, all of whom are depicted on the front of the sphere, one connected to the other. These calendars were often engraved with apotropaic symbols hosting sacred zoomorphic representations evoking air, earth and water. They indicated whether a particular day was suitable for hunting, or for undertaking an expedition, for example, or whether to avoid a particularly unfavourable day altogether. The piece is in fair vintage condition commensurate with age and use and sits atop a contemporary stand.
Dimensions: (without stand)
H 24.0 cm / 9.4"
L 12.0 cm / 4.7"