Announcement: new book on Borneo arts

Long-awaited and finally out!

Sellato, Bernard. Editor. 2012. Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.

1,200 illus., 930 in color; 552pp. 
Size: 32 x 24 cm; Weight: 3500 gr. 
Binding: hard cover
Cloth - Price: $70.00
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3619-1

Book description: 

One of the richest basketry traditions in the world, the plaited objects produced in Borneo are created from plant materials gathered in the rainforest and worked by hand using techniques passed from generation to generation. Unrivaled in their combination of beauty, form, and function, they provide a unique window on the way of life of Borneo’s inhabitants.

Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest recognizes this plaiting tradition as the primary creative expression of the peoples of Borneo, producing the most ingenious and aesthetically appealing material goods found on the island. Using a contextual and interdisciplinary approach that connects botanical and technical features with economic, social, and ritual elements, the book explores how people in Borneo rely on plaited articles, whether for daily use or in the ritual sphere.

The sophisticated sense of design, rich iconography, and complex social and ceremonial efficacy of these objects are unsurpassed. Elaborately patterned mats from the Ngaju people of southern Borneo, for example, portray the cosmos and are the most prominent decorative features of the Ngaju ceremonial cycle. The sun hats of the Kenyah, using a unique resist-dye technique, display patterns that were once taboo to all but the nobility. The exquisite plaited designs of Iban seed baskets, stained red with the prized “dragon’s-blood” pigment, show the importance of the planting ritual for the vital and sacred rice crop.

The contributors to this volume are among the world’s leading authorities on the arts of Borneo. These twenty scholars and artisans are from ten different nations, including Indonesia and Malaysia, and from Borneo itself: Sarawak, Sabah, and Kalimantan. Their original work is supplemented by a selection of texts written by three pioneer authors that describe Borneo basketry before the Second World War.

Contributors: Marieanne Davy Ball, Jean-François Bléhaut, Hanne Christensen, Pascal Couderc, Susi Dunsmore, Roy W. Hamilton, Arne Martin Klausen, Arnoud H. Klokke, Martin Lenjau, Robin Fedilis Lojiwin, Valerie Mashman, Heidi Munan, Patricia Nayoi, Mering Ngo, Janet Rata Noel, Patricia Regis, Diana Rose, Bernard Sellato, Martua T. Sirait, Dianne M. Tillotson.

This a beautiful, richly illustrated book! I got my copy from The Book Depository. Or, you can try one of the following:

Europe, Middle East & Africa
Marston Book Services , P. O. Box 269,  Abingdon,  Oxon OX14 4SD,  United Kingdom
Email: or
ISBN: 978 87 7694 074 4

North and Latin America
University of Hawai’i Press, 2840 Kolowalu Street,  Honolulu, Hawai’i 96822-1888, USA
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3619-1

Asia (except Indonesia), Australia & New Zealand
NUS PRESS Pte Ltd, AS3-01-02, National University of Singapore, 3 Arts Link, Singapore 117569 Email:
ISBN: 978-9971-69-521-7

The Lontar Foundation,  Jl. Danau Laut, Tawar No 53 Pejompongan, Jakarta 10210,  Indonesia
ISBN : 978-602-9144-048