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BORNEO

Borneo is the third largest island in the world - five times the area of England and Wales. The northern part of the island consists of the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah and the independent Sultanate of Brunei. Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo, lies in the southern section of the island and is divided into four provinces- K. Timur (East), K. Selatan (South), K. Barat (West) and K. Tengah (Central).


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CENTRAL KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA

Of the four provinces of Kalimantan Indonesia, the province of Central Kalimantan (on the south coast of Borneo) is the biggest province on the island, covering 153,800 square kilometers, most of which is jungle. The province is also the least visited region on the island. The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach. The central area is dense tropical forest. The southern area is swampy and has many rivers, which flow south to the Java Sea. The coastal areas are thinly populated as swamp extends inland. The exceptions are the towns of Kumai, Pangkalan Bun, Sampit and Palangkaraya - the regional capital.

The weather is hot, humid and wet all year round, with more rain from October to March.

The tree Dayak sub-tribes who inhabit this province are the Ngaju, Ot Danum, and Ma'anyan Ot Siang. The Ngaju are nomadic, adhering to old Kaharingan religion, which is a form of ancestor worship mixed with elements of animism. With approximately 6,000 people, the Ot Danum is the largest among the tree subtribes. The Ot Danum live in longhouses which sometimes have as many as 50 rooms. The women are known for their skill in plaiting rattan, palm leaves, and bamboo. Like other Dayaks, the men are good hunters, using simple tools. The art of Central Kalimantan clearly bears the marks of Kaharingan religion, which is the traditional belief of the Dayaks in the hinterland of Central Kalimantan. Building styles, statues and carvings have been influenced by the Chinese, and Hindu-Javanese. Aside from their aesthetic properties, many objects are appreciated for their magic value.