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Metal WorkMetal Work

 

Metal Work

Metal work has been known to this part of Borneo since hundreds of years ago until the recent years. Contacts with China, India and some Middle East countries have influenced the characteristic and motifs found in the metal craft in Sarawak.

Brass work is more preferred in Sarawak - the combination of copper and zinc making it easier to work on and also cheaper. Some interesting findings under this topic are kettles and cannons.

Other than that, the Bornean craftsmen also produce functional brass articles for everyday use include gongs, trays and lidded containers for the sireh leaves, betel nuts and lime, all of which are chewed together.

Popularly seen in longhouses and villages are gongs. The single large gongs called tawak are elaborately adorned with dragons and other relief motifs.

The engkerumong are sets of small gong arranged on a horizontal rack, generally plain and undecorated. The gongs are rhythmically beaten to provide background music for traditional dancing in the longhouse.

All these brass articles, like the ceramic objects, are highly treasured as heirloom and bride wealth and form part of the traditional symbols of wealth and status of the owner.