Dayak priests carve bamboo containers to store magical ingredients for rituals. The bamboo is often embellished with elaborate motifs. In rare cases, a stopper is also finely carved, such as this piece which depicts a mythical feline. The figure is carved with its rear raised as if ready to pounce. Its large eyes, gaping mouth and sharp teeth add to menacing appearance, intended to intimidate the spirits. The style of this Dayak feline incorporate Hindu and Chinese influences, reflecting the long history of these cultures in Borneo. The Chinese influence could have come from the “bixie“, a winged lion beast whose imagery dates to the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). Like the Dayak feline on this stopper, the bixie is believed to possess magical powers to ward off evil spirits (see next image).