Brass birth cannon, Borneo, 1801-1900
Abstract patterns surround the muzzle of this brass birth canon. It comes from Borneo in South East Asia. It was reputedly used in the 1800s during difficult labours, possibly to scare off evil spirits. The canon has sights located along the top. A touch hole for ignition is near the back.
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Glossary: ethnography; customs and beliefs
Glossary: fertility rites
Rituals and ceremonies, usually with magical or religious overtones, which attempt to tame the unpredictable forces of nature to ensure a plentiful supply of food or the birth of healthy children or, very often, both. They may take the form of prayers, chants, dances and the performing of sacred dramas.
Glossary: birth cannon