Traditional Borneo Beads: Heidi Munan to talk in Miri

Published October 3, 2013 by sarawak

Posted on July 26, 2013, Friday

KEEPING BEAD LEGACY ALIVE: (File Photo) Orang Ulu woman doing beadwork at the Borneo International Beads Conference 2010.

COLOURFUL, exotic, old and a treasure, beads are a part of tradition of the indigenous people of Borneo from as early as some 1,000 years ago.

Beads from perforated teeth, bones, shells, stones, minerals, claws, tusks were favoured by the indigenous people while glass beads and pearls adorned by those of ‘upper’ standing in their society.

INTRICATE BEADWORK: A beaded basket from South Sumatra, traditionally used to pack wedding gifts.

Featured as a tool in many rituals, some beads were exclusive to certain people such as shamans or aristocrats. Beads were also believed to endow certain powers or protection to their owners.

Borneo Beads now feature a combination of old and new as Borneo people love to borrow ideas and styles from different sources. So one can find old beads strung in a modern way or new beads strung in an old fashion way. Old traditions morph into new ones.

THE BEAD WOMAN: Heidi Munan talks about beaded hats on a previous occasion. She is an authority on traditional Borneo Beads.

On July 27, Heidi Munan, the honorary curator of beads at the Sarawak museum, will give a talk on beads at the Hornbill House, Piasau Camp, Miri (next to the international school) at 9:30am.

Those wanting to know more about the traditional Borneo beads and the more modern development on this aspect of Borneo culture may find this talk informative.

Heidi will also brief the audience on the upcoming three-day Borneo International Beads Conference to be held in Kuching from October 11.

Well-known international and local experts in the field of Bead Studies will be giving papers at this conference. Hands-on workshops in bead-making, bead-stringing and bead-painting are also part of the programme, culminating in a gala dinner with a unique Bead Fashion Show.

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