Sunday, May 6, 2007

Museum Balanga

The rainy season is still with us, and while it is my favourite season as it makes the rivers high and the temperature pleasantly fresh, constant rain can make sightseeing a bit of a drag. But, on the other hand, it is a good day for the Museum!

The Palangka Raya Museum Balanga is laid out in such a way that the visitor moves one by one from the artifacts and customs of birth, childhood, and marriage to death. There are carved birthing stools and inclined benches, slings and hammocks for babies and the delicatedly sequined backdrops and clothing for weddings. An intriguing miniature collection of sandung or bonehouses flanked by their attendant carved guardians is next to the rows of gongs and musical instruments that always accompany traditional rituals. A stunning series of tall, weathered carvings stand together in a group around a Kaharingan altar, an integral part of the faith of the indigenous Dayaks. Collections of masks, mandau or swords and highly prized traded procelain pots and vessels make this small collection a fascinating insight to the unique local culture.

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