Enquiry about object: 5769
Dayak Carved Wooden Stopper
Dayak People, Borneo, Malaysia 19th century
height (without stand): 10.8cm
Private collection, UK
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This very charming carved wooden stopper shows two figures that appear to be wrestling, or the pair are a man and a women with the woman sitting on the knee of the man. Their hairstyles and facial features suggest they are Chinese.
The wood has a beautiful black-brown patina.
Such stoppers were used to close bamboo containers that held powdered lime that was an integral part of the betel quid.
A related stopper is in the British Museum, and a related stopper with overt Chinese influence is illustrated in Schoffel (1981, p. 150).
The example here comes with a high-quality custom-made metal stand.
Schoffel, A., Arts Primitifs de l’Asie du Sud-Est (Assam, Sumatra, Borneo, Philippines): Collection Alain Schoffel, Alain et Francoise Chaffin, 1981.