human skeletal remains;
- Museum number
Decorated skull made of skull (human), shells (cowrie), wood, gum, fibre (vegetable). The lower jaw is attached with rattan and leaf. There is a piece of wood in the nose socket and cowrie shells in the eyes. The eye area is covered in a gum (probably gutta-percha). There is a design with four lobes incised onto the top of the skull. Two holes have been drilled into the skull to enable it to be suspended.
- Production date
Height: 15 centimetres
Length: 23 centimetres
Width: 14 centimetres
- Curator's comments
From acquisition "Dyak".
Such carefully incised and decorated skulls would have been displayed in long houses.
Comment from Dr Markus Mally following visit in September 2014:
' Due to the prevailing decoration (partial overmodeling of the facial area, incised „Lotus flower“ motif, cowrie shells representing „closed eyes with lashes“) the trophy may originate from the Bidayuh in West-Kalimantan or adjacent regions of Sarawak.'
'General description and decoration of the facial skull
Facial skull: Overmodeled (probably with black colored guttapercha) on the circular wooden discs which seal the orbital cavities, the wooden „nose“, the alveolar processes of the maxillary bones and probably above the orbital cavities which may once have represented „eyebrows“. Single cowrie shells represent „closed eyes with lashes“ (the opening of the left cowrie is sealed with the overmodeling substance). The „nose“ with its anatomically inaccurate shape is carved from a piece of wood which is fixed in the nasal cavity. All teeth lost post-mortem.
Lower jaw: Strips of rattan or bamboo pierce through a hole drilled below the coronoid processes and attach the mandible to the zygomatic arches. The right mandibular ramus is broken into several pieces and fixed with complex rattan bindings which are partly inserted into the mandibular bone. All teeth lost post-mortem.
Cranial vault and trophy suspension: A few notches along the midline of the frontal bone indicate that it was originally intended to cut the trophy in equal halves before the floral decoration was incised. Multiple superficial scratch marks on the bone surface might be signs of artificial defleshing. Two holes drilled in the parietal bones next to each other behind the bregma, served for hanging up the trophy.
Skullbase: No obvious signs of decapitation. Foramen magnum not artificially expanded. Dark discoloration of the bones due to heat / smoke / soot; however, the piece of wood which is fixed in the nasal cavity is not discolored - an indication that after finalizing the decoration this skull was obviously not longer exposed to heat / smoke / soot.
Conservation status: Good. Parts of the overmodeling substance on the maxillary bones are broken off.'
Arrangement of motifs in Fields: No.
Main motifs: The contour of a „Lotus flower“ motif is superficially incised in the upper section of the frontal bone, a bit to the right of the midline. It is framed by four pairs of outward facing arches; one of each pair is S-shaped; if they represent further but incomplete floral decorations remains for discussion.
Further motifs: None finalized.
Symmetry along the middle axis of the skull: Yes, concerning the incised motif.
Miscellaneous: A tuft of dried palm leaves is wrapped around the left zygomatic arch.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
CDMS number: As1871C1.7574 (old CDMS no.)
Miscellaneous number: As1871C1032.26