Kalimantan

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Apai


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Weaving a rattan apai in a traditional longhouse, East Kalimantan.

Weaving a rattan apai in a traditional longhouse, East Kalimantan.

Durable, plain-woven mats called lampit cover the floors in most Dayak longhouses. But to receive guests and perform ceremonies, the Dayak Bantian lay out special patterned mats called apai. Most apai bear intricately woven plant motifs, or illustrate stories of the clan gods and ancestors. Very few weavers have the skill to produce these beautiful mats.
Over-harvesting has already eradicated wild rattan from the forests of western and central Kalimantan. The Rattan Project, an Indonesian non-profit organization based in East Kalimantan, helps local farmers to develop sustainable, cultivated supplies of rattan. The group also helps Dayak cooperatives to create new products based on traditional designs, and to reach markets outside their home areas. Each Rattan Project mat or basket expresses the Dayak people`s will to sustain their traditions and preserve their forests for future generations. Threads of Life buys rattan products only from groups that develop renewable supplies.

  • Ceremonial Floor Mat
  • 2006
  • Woven by Oneng
  • Randa Empas village, East Kalimantan
  • Rattan cane
  • 102 x 195 cm. (40 x 77 in)
  • Code # C.BS.PR.024

 

Ragak Sedang


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Magdalena making a basket, West Kalimantan.

Magdalena making a basket, West Kalimantan.

Each type of Dayak Desa basket is made to serve one, specific purpose. This style, called ragak sedang, is used only for washing vegetables. Other specialized baskets made by the Dayak Desa include cupai for collecting plants, tabung storage baskets, bubufish traps, and round tanggui sun hats. The Dayak Desa are one of many subgroups of the Dayak people, who have inhabited the forests of Kalimantan for millennia. More than six hundred Dayak Desa women in sixteen villages belong to a local cooperative called Jasa Menenun Mandiri. The cooperative helps local craftspeople sell traditional textiles and basketry, and gives them a place to save their money and take out loans. Dayak Desa baskets and textiles feature intricately stylized plant and animal motifs inspired by life and a refined traditional aesthetic.

  • Vegetable Basket
  • 2004
  • Woven by Renai
  • Ransi Panjang village, West Kalimantan
  • Bamboo
  • Height 30 cm. (12 in)
  • Code: C.BS.JM.001

 

Cupai


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Anastasia making a basket, West Kalimantan.

Anastasia making a basket, West Kalimantan.

Baskets like this one have different names, functions, and decorations in different Dayak Desa communities. In Ransi Panjang, the villagers call this basket a cupai, and use it to collect fruits, vegetables, and other plants from the surrounding forest. The vine motif on this cupai has been abstracted into a pure geometric form. The Dayak Desa are one of many subgroups of the Dayak people, who have inhabited the forests of Kalimantan for millennia. More than six hundred Dayak Desa women in sixteen villages belong to a local cooperative called Jasa Menenun Mandiri. The cooperative helps local craftspeople sell traditional textiles and basketry, and gives them a place to save their money and take out loans. Dayak Desa baskets and textiles feature intricately stylized plant and animal motifs inspired by life and a refined traditional aesthetic.

  • Gathering Basket
  • 2006
  • Woven by Pandan
  • Ransi Panjang village, West Kalimantan
  • Bamboo
  • Height 22 cm. (8.5 in)
  • Code # C.BS.JM.083

Kiang


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Awaiting an armful of firewood, East Kalimantan.

Awaiting an armful of firewood, East Kalimantan.

The Dayak people load up kiang with wild vegetables, firewood, or game from the hunt. Lacing on the back allows the basket to expand to the size of the load. Men usually carry kiangbaskets, but some Dayak women show off their strength by shouldering kiang-sized loads. Commercial over-harvesting has already eradicated wild rattan from the forests of western and central Kalimantan. The Rattan Project, an Indonesian non-profit organization based in East Kalimantan, helps local farmers to develop sustainable, cultivated supplies of rattan. The group also helps Dayak cooperatives to create new products based on traditional designs, and to reach markets outside their home areas. Each Rattan Project mat or basket expresses the Dayak people`s will to sustain their traditions and preserve their forests for future generations. Threads of Life buys rattan products only from groups that develop renewable supplies.

  • Carrier Basket
  • 2006
  • Made by Yohanes Ding
  • Engkuni Pasek village, East Kalimantan
  • Rattan cane
  • Height 55 cm. (21.5 in)
  • Code # C.BS.PR.002

Berangka


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The forests of East Kalimantan hold Indonesia`s last wild rattan palms.

The forests of East Kalimantan hold Indonesia`s last wild rattan palms.

The Dayak strap heavy loads of sugarcane or wild breadfruit on their backs in berangka baskets like this one. Daily life in Dayak villages depends on wild plants. Every day, the Dayak extract fruits and vegetables, rattan cane for baskets, fuel for the kitchen fire, medicines, dyes, and countless other items from local forests. Commercial over-harvesting has already eradicated wild rattan from the forests of western and central Kalimantan. The Rattan Project, an Indonesian non-profit organization based in East Kalimantan, helps local farmers to develop sustainable, cultivated supplies of rattan. The group also helps Dayak cooperatives to create new products based on traditional designs, and to reach markets outside their home areas. Each Rattan Project mat or basket expresses the Dayak people`s will to sustain their traditions and preserve their forests for future generations. Threads of Life buys rattan products only from groups that develop renewable supplies.

  • Collection Basket
  • 2006
  • Woven by Lot
  • Jengan Danum village, East Kalimantan
  • Rattan cane
  • Height 48 cm. (19 in)
  • Code # C.BS.PR.006

Anjat


C.BS.PR.017 Anjat-Large

Sanding rattan canes, East Kalimantan.

Sanding rattan canes, East Kalimantan.

In a Dayak village, the name and function of a basket sometimes depend on the gender of its user. Women useanjat to store clothing, or to carry goods to market. Men use almost identical baskets for hunting or collecting fruit, but call them gawakng lengkakng. The men`s baskets are undecorated, whileanjat feature intricate designs. Commercial over-harvesting has already eradicated wild rattan from the forests of western and central Kalimantan. The Rattan Project, an Indonesian non-profit organization based in East Kalimantan, helps local farmers to develop sustainable, cultivated supplies of rattan. The group also helps Dayak cooperatives to create new products based on traditional designs, and to reach markets outside their home areas. Each Rattan Project mat or basket expresses the Dayak people`s will to sustain their traditions and preserve their forests for future generations. Threads of Life buys rattan products only from groups that develop renewable supplies.

  • Collecting Basket
  • 2006
  • Woven by Angin
  • Eheng village, East Kalimantan
  • Rattan cane
  • Height 66 cm. (26 in)
  • Code # C.BS.PR.017