Über Lea Heckmann

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Knife Tempesing

Object: nyu, lunggai, tempesing Culture and time: West-Borneo, Sarawak or Kalimantan, Kenyah (possibly Iban), late 19th century / early 20th century Dimensions: Length 35 cm The handle of this extraordinary knife (tempesing or lunggai, literally "feather") can be considered a textbook example of Kenyah carving at the highest level. A carefully selected piece of forked Sambar stag antlers was used, which in this case has practically no porous core. The whole structure is grouped around the central pierced double spiral, which embodies the soul's or the afterlife's journey and the ability to rededicate life energy by the warrior and headhunter. Above the [...]

Soul ship

Object: Soul ship Culture and time: Borneo The soul ship (telun) is an old concept of the Dayak on Borneo, which originally probably goes back to the Egyptian sun barque of Ra. It was believed that the souls rise from the under-world in the east and "go down" in the west and enter the under-world, similar to the sun. The afterlife is therefore always in the west. It is assumed that the dead person travels on a river that starts wide at first and leads through a narrow gorge with a whirlpool of fire at the end, the entrance [...]

Ceremonial seat

Object: Ceremonial seat for a high-ranking warrior, possibly a symbolic ancestral seat for festivals Culture and time: Borneo, Kalimantan East, Dayak, Kayan, 19th/beginning of 20th century. Special seats were used at gawaiian festivals as a badge of rank and status for high-ranking warriors. Usually the Dayak sit at ground level on rattan mats. Chairs or stools might have only appeared in Indonesia in the course of the last centuries under Muslim influence, because they are not to be found on Hindu-Javanese temple friezes.  Gawai Dayak, annual festivals, which could last several weeks, were held on various occasions such as [...]


Object: Necklace (chief's necklace) Culture and time: Malaysia, Borneo, Northwest, Dayak, Iban or Kenyah, 19th century This necklace represents a relatively rare type of male jewellery, which is known by the Maloh and Iban, but is less common by the upstream Dayak (orang ulu). Very similar necklaces are also known among the Igorot groups on Luzon, the Lumad groups on Mindanao, the Batak on Sumatra, the Miao and Yu in China and in East Indonesia. This indicates that this is an old metal age Austronesian form of jewellery.  The necklace consists of 64 cast and chased brass or bronze [...]


The head is the key part of the body, responsible for our character, our person. In contrast to the approximately 300 other bones of the skeleton, which change in size and composition throughout our lives, the head remains relatively unchanged. It is the source of our individuality. We talk, see and hear with the head, our emotional life and our balance, our locating system and our perception of the here and now are located in the head. //Der Kopf ist das Körperteil schlechthin, dasjenige, welches unseren Charakter, unser Wesen ausmacht. Im Gegensatz zu den etwa 300 übrigen Knochen des [...]

The historical and spiritual meaning of headhunting in Asia

The exhibition is dedicated to the subject of “head-hunting. Head-hunting refers to the killing of a person with the intention of taking his head. Head-hunting is an ancient tradition which was earlier practised widely in almost all of Asia and Europe. For the pre-Christian and pre-Roman peoples of Europe (Celts, Teutons, Scythians, Italics/Ligurians, Iberians, etc.) headhunting has been widely testified and proven to have existed, both by classical authors and archaeology. In some parts of the world, such as some areas of Southeast Asia, Africa, New Guinea and Latin America, headhunting has persisted for a very long [...]

2020-07-23T08:35:38+00:00Research|0 Kommentare


Life and death, the eternal cycle of evanescence as a basis for something new, is a taboo in many societies. However, there are ethnic groups to which death has been and still is a constant and natural part of life and their everyday life for generations. In its current project, the IFICAH Foundation is dedicated to six of these ethnic groups in Asia, from East India to Indonesia to the Philippines and Taiwan. Common to all groups is the association with the ethnicity of the so-called headhunters and therefore their direct and social bond of taking and giving. [...]

2023-01-10T19:42:16+00:00Exhibitions|0 Kommentare

A set of ceremonial archery equipment for the enthronement ceremony of the Taisho Emperor

Taisho era (1912-1926), circa 1915, unsigned  Bow: 179cm (70,5in)  Arrows: each 67cm (26 3/8in) Quiver: 28cm x 20.5cm x 6.5cm (11in x 8 1/8in x 2,5in) The bow with its set of arrows was prepared for the enthronement ceremonies for the Taisho Emperor in 1915. It belonged to the sculptor Sano Akira, who served as a Taireishi Kotokan (High Ceremonial Officer) at the event. The bow is decorated with imperial paulownia crests and tendrils in gold lacquer. It also has silk wrappings and gilt metal fittings. The set of 15 arrows has lacquered shafts, gilt-metal tips and feather flights. The set is fittet [...]

Ainu – The indigenous people of northern Japan

Ainu is the generally established name for the indigenous people of northern Japan, especially Hokkaido, which was formerly known as Edo. The Ainu also populate parts of north-eastern Russia, such as Sakhalin and the Kuriles. The Ainu (literally "man") refer themselves as Ainu or Utari. In the recent past, the Ainu lived and worked mainly as hunters, fishermen and gatherers. Only the southern groups were engaged in subsistence agriculture and animal husbandry. Today between 50,000 and 150,000 people living in Japan, consider themselves Ainu. For centuries there has been a progressive mixing with Japanese, so that the classification is [...]

2020-07-15T08:47:41+00:00Research|0 Kommentare

IFICAH Funding Sale – Indonesian Swords and Daggers

Download the Catalogue Indonesian Swords and Daggers The Auction starts Friday, 13th of December 2019 at 2.00 pm (lots 1 – 498) Exhibition From Monday the 9th to Thursday the 12th From 9.00 am to 1.00 pm, from 3.00 pm to 6.00 pm Piazza Vittorio Veneto 17 Sarzana (La Spezia) Italy Fax: +39 0187 692703 email: info@czernys.com Click HERE to go to the official website of CZERNY'S Auction

2019-12-05T12:35:37+00:00International|0 Kommentare
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