Stoneware jars have been present in Borneo since the 16th century, the oldest examples being of Chinese origin, and the more recent examples being copies of the originals. Initially used within the country in exchange for forestry products by traders, they gradually become prestigious objects for the local populations. Former nomads, the Punan of the Tubu River had two different methods for the transmission of jars, each based on a different history and on a different role. The article first considers the manner in which the Punan evaluate and categorise the jars, before going on to show how the jars came to be held by families, and used in wedding negotiations. Starting from the point of view of the jars that were commercialised in the past as exchangeable goods, we will then show how the jars were circulated, used and eventually disappeared from Borneo. Beyond the objects themselves, we will explore their effects on the population and its social relations.
Césard, N., 2014, Heirlooms and Marriage Payments. Transmission and Circulation of Prestige Jars in Borneo, Indonesia and the Malay World, 42(122): 62-87.
Césard, N., 2011. Tant va la jarre à la fin qu’elle se brise. Usages et usure d’un bien de prestige à Bornéo, in Wateau, F., Perlès, C. et Soulier, P. (éds). Profils d’objets. Approches d’anthropologues et d’archéologues. Paris : De Boccard, Colloques de la Maison René-Ginouvès, 7 : 155-164. Presentation of the book on the MAE publication website.