Home >> Cyclopedia Of India, Volume 2 >> Number to Or New Guinea >> Ryan

Ryan

kyan, rivers, tribes, dyaks, kyans, country and person

RYAN, a tribe in Borneo of about 100,000 souls, who occupy the country from the south of the kingdom of Brunai, away into the interior. They strongly resemble the Dyak. Mr. Dalton states that the Kyan amongst whom he lived amounted to 270,000 souls, and that they were greatly addicted to head-hunting. This people, differing, however, in various customs, are found on the great rivers Banjar, Pasir, and Coti, and probably on all the rivers of the eastern coast. On the north and northern parts of the island, they are found in the interior on the Bintulu, Barram, Rejang, and other great rivers, as far west as the country of the Sarebas Dyak, but they only occupy the inland parts at a great distance from the coast, always having between it and them other tribes, and frequently Malayan states. The Kyan of the rivers Banjar, Coti, and Pasir appear to have been always subject to the European or Malayan power, which held the months of their respective streams. But the Kyan of the north-west have been feared by the inhabitants of the Malayan towns of the coast ; and the chiefs of Hoya, Mocha, Egan, and Serekei eagerly sought alliances with their barbarous neighbours. Their country is divided into little states, each of which contains many villages. In some parts of it, gold and diamonds are found. On the Banjar river the people wash for these commodities, as do the Dyak of Suntang, in the interior of the western branch of the Batang Lupar river.

The houses of the Kyans are built, like those of the Sea Dyaks, in one long terrace, with the verandah fronting its whole length, the posts being always of the very hardest wood, and the roof of planks of the same material. They are allowed by all their enemies, and others who have known them, to possess personal courage in a much higher degree than any of the other tribes inhabiting the island. Their bodies are tattooed of a blue colour in various patterns ; but images of the sun, moon, and stars are amongst the most frequent.

It is reported that some of the tribes on the Barmm and Bintulu rivers do not tattoo the persons of the males, and that the practice is there confined to the women, who thus discolour their arms and legs only. The Kenawit Dyaks, whose country borders that of the Kyans, also practise tattooing, as do the Orang Tatow, who live near the Bintulu river, and more towards the coast than the Kyans. In dress and person the

Kyans much resemble the Dyaks, the women wearing the small bedang, and the men the ehawat. The dress of the Kyan women of the Bintulu river is reported to consist of two cloths, a little longer than the bedang, which are tied on opposite sides of the person, the one covering lapping over the other ; but their dresses from the Rejang are made like tho bedang. Tho jacket of the Kyan women is not loose, like that of the Dyaks, but fits closely to the person, and is longer than the cotton ones of the hill tribes ; it is also frequently made of the pine-apple fibre. In war, the dress of the men differs much from the Dyaks of other denominations. The jackets they wear on these occasions are made of the skins of beasts ; those of the panther and the bear are the most esteemed, but those of goats and dogs are sometimes sub stituted in a scarcity of the others. The broad part of the skin forms the back part of the jacket, the edges of which are bound with wide strips of red cloth. Bunches of feathers of the rhinoceros hornbill, which seems to be the war bird of all their tribes, depend from little strings of beads fastened to the skin, and dangle in the breeze as they move about. Their head-dresses in war arc also peculiar to these people, and unknown to the other inhabitants of the island. They are of various descriptions, but the favourite ones are caps made in the fashion of a man's face cari catured iu those which represent the faces of animals. The weapons of the men aro the sum pitan or blow-pipe. Mr. Dalton informs us that head-hunting vas practised to a frightful extent, and that desolating wars were constantly carried on for the purpose of obtaining these ghastly trophies. On the death of a person, it is said that a head had to be procured previous to his burial. The manners of the young females resemble those of the Sea Dyak ; but adultery after marriage is punished by death to the man, who, under whatever eircumstances the criminal action takes place, is always considered the guilty and respon sible party concerned.—Journ. Indian Archip.