Skull hook

CULTURE:
Murut people
DATE:
19th century or earlier
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General Description

Possessing potent magical charm, the skulls of slain enemies were hung from elegantly formed hooks like this one. The hooks were suspended from the rafters of the longhouse, where they were part of an altar where prayers and sacrificial offerings were made. Murut blacksmiths forged the iron into graceful spirals. This design is similar to those found on the ikat-patterned puas (cloths), which are also associated with taking heads.

Adapted from

Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, 2013.