Dayak "Gasing" Ear Weights

October 27, 2015

Material: Brass
Culture: Dayak
Location: Borneo, Indonesia
Period: Early 1900's
Size: 70mm x28mm (length x width)
Weight: 132g

A pair of traditional "gasing" or pear weights from the Dayak of Borneo (Kalimantan), Indonesia. This style is also sometimes referred to as "spinning tops." I adore these pieces, and I do wear them periodically. These weights are very heavy, and the Dayak culture is well known for extremely elongated ear lobes (it is not uncommon to see 3" to 6" lobes) in which they regularly wear heavy weight styles and groupings of metal coils. It took me nearly six months to work up to being able to wear them for an entire day without discomfort. This pair is thread wrapped for modern wear to avoid skin irritation, and this also helps with the heavy weight.

The Dayak peoples (Dayak being a term used to describe a large number of smaller ethnic groups) reside on the island of Borneo (Kalimantan), Indonesia. Formerly a fierce headhunter culture, the Dayak are widely known for drastic elongation of the ear lobe, through which weight designs or coils are generally worn. Most items are brass or mixed white metal and quite heavy. These pieces are worn for long periods of time and continue to stretch the earlobe. The Dayak culture also made use of solid plugs, primarily from wood and animal materials.



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