VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Udo' Urung Tinggang Mask
sarawak03
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The palm leaves adorning this particular udo’ mask gives a striking imagery to onlookers. To the Orang Ulu, it is known as udo’ urung tinggang as the nose is shaped similar to a hornbill’s beak. The eyes are inserted with circular mirrors to make the gaze of the mask more intense. Sometimes, the eyes are carved as vertical crescents to relate to the phases of the moon. A ritual is performed at midnight with this mask to frighten malevolent spirits, attract benevolent spirits, and reunite rice spirits. It catches wandering rice spirits to prevent the physical plant itself from ‘dying’ when the spirit strays too far.

History of the Object
Masks have significant cultural value to the people of Borneo. The Orang Ulu believes that the udo’ masks bring sacred rice seeds from Apau Lagaan, the land in which the Kayan deities reside.

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Type
Architecture 
Materials
Softwood 
Measurements
Length =78cm Width =71cm Weight = 0.815 kg 
Creator name
Kayan People 
Creator date
 
Where it was made
Borneo 
Geography
Borneo 
Time period
- BCE 
Creation date
 
Function
Frighten malevolent spirits, attract benevolent spirits, and reunite rice spirits 
Acquisition
Acquired by the Sarawak Museum in 1978. 
Copyright
Creative Commons, CC. 
Acknowledgements
Michael Heppell, "Communing with the Dark Side: Borneo's Masks & Masquerades". 
Owner
Sarawak State Government 
Museum
Sarawak Museum 
Credit line
Photo Credit: James Lo 

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