Central Kalimantan is the biggest province
of the island. It occupies a surface of 15 3, 800 square kilometers,
most of it is jungle (80%), swamps, rivers and agriculture land.
The northern area is mountainous and difficult to reach.
Transportation facilities are limited much to the rough terrain.
The central area is dense and fertile tropical forests, producing
valuable commodities such as rattan, resin and the best woods. The
southern area is swampy and has many rivers. Central Kalimantan
has a humid and hot climate.
The three big Dayak sub-tribes who inhabit this province
are the Ngaju, Ot Danum, and Ma'anyan Ot Siang. The Ngaju, like
some other sub-tribes, moves from one region to another. They adhere
to the old Kaharingan religion, which is a form of ancestor worship,
mixed with elements of animism. They have seen progress. Many of
them live in the towns, have enjoyed an education and are intelligent.
The Ot Danum live in longhouses which sometimes have as many as
50 rooms. The unique longhouse is called betang. With approximately
6,000 people, the Ot Danum is the largest among the three sub-tribes.
They are known for their skill in plaiting rattan, palm leaves,
and bamboo.Made by the women, such products are sold in cities and
towns such as Banjamasin, Kualakapuas, and Sampit. Like other Dayaks,
the men are good hunters, using simple tools.
The art of Central Kalimantan clearly bears the marks
of the Kaharingan religion, which is the traditional belief of the
Dayaks in the hinterland of Central Kalimantan. Building styles,
statues, carvings, and other products are related to the cultural
elements of the Hindus, Chinese, and Hindu-Javanese. Aside from
their aesthetic properties, such products are appreciated for their