Ear-Ornament “sabau”

This sabau is an ear ornament, which was worn by men as a unique decorative object. The loop could be hooked into the wide open ear hole of the wearer and informs people of their place in their world. The object is decorated on the front side with a ghost face and spiral patterns running all around.

This form of adornment speaks of the history of the wearer, it is imbued with supernatural power. The Hornbill is a constant reminder to the wearer of the transitory nature of life.

The hornbill or rhinoceros bird (Buceruos rhinoceros) is one of the largest species from the large family of hornbills. The Bornesian species forms a subspecies with the double hornbill (Buceros bicornis). The hornbill reaches a size of 80 to 100 cm and a weight of 2 to 5 kg. It becomes over 60, perhaps even over 100 years old. At the root of the tail feathers of mature males there is sometimes a gland, the liquid of which causes the beak to turn yellow-red and orange.

Object Ear-Ornament  „sabau“
Culture Kenyah/Kayan Dayak, Sarawak, Borneo
Time Around 1900
Dimensions Height 5cm, width 4,5 cm
Material Hornbill beak
Supplementing Literature Back to room view