Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Little House on the Prairie
Thank you. Ron, is indeed absolutely correct in his comment about ukil and okir work and the necessary abstractness of Islamic art in representing living objects. And Ron, I am sorry to have not acknowledged that earlier.
My comments about accuracy in depiction come from 50+ years as an avid birdwatcher, and there were several things about Ron's description of this bird that were not necessarily abstractions but just seemed wrong. It was as though the body and wings were represented backwards. Then it occurred to me that perhaps he has the head and tail at the wrong ends. So I took Ron's pics and reworked then as below. Flipping the hilt upright, and changing the head and tail orientation yields a "stylized bird" that I could recognize as a fancy chicken (manok), with the body proportions approximately correct.
I have a great respect for the quality of carving found on many Maranao pieces, especially the high end work such as appears on Ron's junggayang hilt. Therefore, I was surprised by the apparent inaccuracies, even allowing for the abstraction that was necessarily introduced.
Ron's original interpretation may well be correct. The answer probably lies with those who create these works, although the original intent may be lost in time.