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Beads and Beadwork of the Rungus of Sabah

by Bucklee Bell

Part Two: The Pinakol

The pinakol consists of a pair of flat beaded bandoleer-type belts worn crossed over the chest and back.

Pinakol were recently featured in a set of Malaysian stamps.

This beadwork and its designs easily distinguish the Rungus from the other ethnic groups of Sabah. "The beadwork often tells a story and this one in particular tells of a man going spear-hunting for a riverine creature" (Benggon 1992:14).

Rose stated that the Rungus have used this design for the pinakol her whole life, but they sometimes changed the color combinations. They also make shorter pinakols for children.

According to Rose and Adrian the Rungus have four basic figures that they use in the design of a pinakol. They are from top to bottom:

At the top is a beautiful flower called a vinusak.

According to Adrian, the second design is a dangerous river animal "if it bites your hand you are paralyzed. Many years ago they became extinct because they [the people] put poison in the water and killed all of them."

Below that is a spear for catching fish called an inompuling.

At the bottom is a Rungus man named tiningulung.

The Pinakol
Making the Pinakol
Other Ornaments
Grandmother's Beads
References and links

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