Rewriting art history: Dayak tribal art

February 2, 2016

There were already modern humans in Indonesian Borneo while Europe was still populated by Neanderthals. Research shows that Borneo’s Dayak people may descend from the original inhabitants of the large island, who arrived on there 35,000 years ago. The established tribal art dealer and scholar Bernard de Grunne has published on the antiquity of styles of their anthropomorphic statuary, generally called 'hampatong'. Research shows that these ironwood statues, once believed to be a few hundred years old, should be dated back to 1000BC. In his publications, De Grunne divides the Dayak art styles into four phases and invites us to rethink the art history of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.