Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest is the first comprehensive work of its kind and size. It promotes a "contextual" approach, combining not just botanical and technical, but also economic, social, and ritual elements. In short, the book focuses on how the people of Borneo rely on the plaited arts in their daily lives. The twenty-one contributors are the world's leading experts on the subject, scholars and artisans who live in Borneo or have spent many years there and have become deeply involved, on a personal and emotional level, with the people of the island and their cultures.
They hail from ten different nations, including Malaysia and Indonesia, and from Borneo itself: Sarawak, Sabah, and Kalimantan. The work relies on firsthand experience in the field as it documents the variety and complexity of basketry. It is organized into twelve parts that discuss the ethnobotanical and technical aspects of basketry in Borneo, the "cultural region" in detail, mat styles and other specific basketry forms, changes in basketry, the current market, and the future of Borneo's basketry.
An essay on style and identity is followed by an abundantly illustrated appendix that surveys the relation between the tropical environment and material culture. Finally, a selection of revised texts published by pioneer authors describe Borneo basketry during the decade before World War II.
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