Kettle decorated with armed warriors

DATE:
18th–early 19th century
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Bronze (copper alloy)
CLASSIFICATION:
Containers
DIMENSIONS:
Overall: 10 1/4 x 13 3/8 x 9 in. (26.03 x 33.97 x 22.86 cm.)
DEPARTMENT:
Arts of the Pacific Islands
LOCATION:
Arts of the Pacific Islands - Indonesia , Level 3
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, the Roberta Coke Camp Fund
OBJECT NUMBER:
1994.249

General Description

This cast bronze kettle from Brunei is decorated with symbols that reflected Dayak ideas about wealth, prestige, and even supernatural power. The two large seated figures holding swords at the base of the handle represent warriors. Among the Dayak, swords were not only weapons but also status objects that figured prominently in rituals. The smaller warrior-figure on the lid sits astride a horse, an animal unknown to people of the interior and thus ascribed mythic attributes. Such kettles were treasured heirlooms that were used to serve drinking water during weddings or other important festivals.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.