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Object Name: Decorative panel for chief’s doorway
Culture: Bahau peoples
Place of Origin: Mahakam River, East Kalimantan [Borneo], Indonesia
Date/Era: 19th century
Dimensions: H: 95cm
Credit Line: Fowler Museum at UCLA. The Jerome L. Joss Collection.
Accession Number: X87.8
This sculpture once flanked a doorway belonging to a chief-either at the front of his apartment within the longhouse or perhaps at a storage area for rice or other valuables. The figure at the top is an aso’, which literally means ”dog” but is actually a euphemism for a female dragon, a symbol of the watery underworld. This is one of the most commonly depicted forms in the arts of Borneo, which, when paired with symbols of the upperworld, expresses the dual nature of the cosmos.
Source: Marla C. Berns, World Arts, Local Lives: The Collections of the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Fowler Museum, Los Angeles, 2014.