Manik: Dayak's Valuable Treasure
This is a collage of pictures photographed by Nancy Ariaini, a participant of DISTRAKSI II program. Nancy, a Dayak, shared a little history of beads and its importance among Dayak people:
“In addition to the tattoo and palm wine (tuak), people in Borneo also marked their culture with the use of beads (manik-manik). Long time ago, beads were used as currency to trade with the Chinese and Indians who visited the island. Beads were also brought as souvenirs by Dayak people who traveled to distant places. Although it was first handed down to men, women were actually the ones who were capable of transforming the tiny and colorful stuff into beautiful creations, from jewelries, accessories, and to clothing.
In the past, not all Dayaks had the access to beads. Only those who oftentimes migrated and had valued animals who could possess the beads as well as its creative products.
Nowadays, a set of clothes fully made of beads have the price equal to the price of a new motorbike. While it’s true that producing a set of clothes require a large number of beads, it’s the time and creativity that make the creation worth the price. It’s therefore apt to say that beads are among Dayak people’s most valuable treasures.”