Types of tajau

  2. Uncle Gregory

    Please ignore earlier comment. I’ve read your valuable information. Thank you! Could you kindly also leave that info at my entry’s comment section so that my readers can be educated in tajau too? Thank you so much.


  3. Uncle Gregory

    Thank you for the info on the Singa Raja. As for the other jar, do you have any information on it?


    Perhaps I should photography all my tajau and seek your advice on their names and hierachy. My knowledge on tajau is very limited. Hope you can teach me about them.


  4. Here’s another entry I wrote on another jar, the Singa Raja.


    I have no clue of its significance and hierachy. Any info you might have would help.

    Thanks Uncle Gregory.


    • Vernon,
      If I’m not wrong, only OKP Nanang was presented with such jar “Singa Raja” by the Rajah Brooke for his loyal service to the Brooke Government. One of Rajah Brooke warboat is also named Singa Raja. Rgds.

  5. Uncle Gregory

    Can you tell me something about this tajau?


    Thank you.


    • Vernon,
      The Tajau in the picture on your blog is that of a Menaga jar looking at the red-brown color with its dragon design and bunga terong design with petals shaped like paddle. I’m not sure if it is covered with lotus flower motif or dragon scales. But I’ve not seen such tajau in Saribas area. It looks ancient because of its irregular shape.

    • Vernon,
      There are three main things that any ancient Iban man aspire to possess in life. These are bravery, abundant harvest and purchasing “Tajau”. The reason was that, if a brave Iban man (having obtained several enemy heads), consistently able to enjoy good harvest every farming year, with which he could purchase several “Tajau” every year, that man is called “Raja Berani” (meaning, he is brave as well as rich) – a status highly sought after by any Iban man within their community. Therefore, abundant harvest will naturally increase the capability of a person to purchase “Tajau” and other hierloom such as brass wares, various musical instruments, kitchen wares, armulets, etc. This could also mean launching their leadership career by building their reputation on personal success to become trusted migration and pioneer leader (Tindin “Pimpin Beragah Ngindang”, Mujah “Buah Raya”), warlord (eg. Aji “Berani”, Libau “Rentap”, Chulo “Tarang”, Bantin “Ijau Lelayang”, Penghulu Ngumbang “Berauh Langit”, Ijau “Berani”, Penghulu Janting, Penghulu Minggat, Munan “Penghulu Dalam”) and Supreme War leader (as in Betie “Berauh Ngumbang” of Batang Ai, OKP Dana “Bayang” of Padeh, Linggir “Mali Lebu” of Paku, Unal “Bulan” Ulu Layar, Unggang “Lebor Menoa” of Entanak, Uyut “Bedilang Besi” of Paku, Mawar Biak “Ragai Ngerang” of Entanak). All of them enjoyed a very successful political power house in their era and pushing the boundaries of Iban expansion further – Territorially and economically).

      If an iban warrior is only successful in war, but lack the success in harvesting and obtaining “Tajau”, his status is recognised only as “Bujang Berani”, a stepping stone for any aspiring warriors to build their reputation and to achieve future leadership role in their community. Bujang Berani groups are highly respected and played important roles during rituals and major festivals. Most trusted warriors are placed in this category and they were the pillars for any successful leaders. Leadership role is no easy task to achieve and all Iban leaders in the past achieved great success as leader due to divine help and they all came from the bloodline of The House Of Sengalang Burong – the source of Iban Cultural Heritage. They produce the proven leadership qualities that brought the Iban to what they are now. That is also clearly the reason why people chose to be led by capable person who can trace their geneology to this cultured group or even establish kinsmanship through marriages with them.

      The value of Tajau to the Iban:
      The Ibans do not have the knowledge on how to make “Tajau” or pottery work for that matter. Otherwise, if every body can make Tajau, it will not have any exchange value at all as in using money. Therefore, tajau is acquired through barter trade of which padi is the main mode of exchange.

      After purchased, tajau are brought to the owner home or “bilek” by any “Bujang Berani” invited to grace the simple ceremony. The local Bujang Berani are invited to grace the occasion as an inducement or encouragement for them to improve their status to Raja Berani as what the owner had done. The Bujang Berani invited for the occasion were mostly chosen among close relatives who has good potential to carve up their names in future.

      Tajau is the single most important property in Iban way of life. It was used as an insurance to protect the owner and family from various social or customary fines for breaching the community legal or customary regulation enforced as adat. In extreme cases, where it result in heavy fine or death penalty, tajau is used as compensation “pati nyawa” for wrongful killing. Without “Tajau”, the family will not be able to pay the heavy fined and that can cause personal loss of family member or damage to family reputation.

      The Iban believe that acquiring “Tajau” is not an easy task without divine help in the form of good dreams or good omen. Ofcourse, not everybody have that previledge or that lucky. As in other community, not all families is blessed with abundant wealth or property. In the past, aspiring warleaders must be wealthy with a lot of Tajau to attract followers in his ventures. So alot of offerings and prayers is needed.

      Types of Tajau valued by the Ibans:
      1. Guchi
      Guchi is the most prized and sought after type of “Tajau” by the Iban. It is very small in size – the size of chicken egg. There are three types of Guchi – guchi daun tuak (black), guchi bulan (memiang like full moon) and guchi chenanum.

      (There is one guchi at Stambak Ili, Betong inherited by the descendant of Agas Family and it was acquired from dream.)

      2. Sergiu
      Dark red (mansau chelum) in color, it’s ears is built horizontally. There are two types of sergiu – male and female. The male is bigger in size. The tajau features “bunga terong” design. A “tali marau” rope design is seen around the widest part of its body. The body also feature a design called “papan gasing” (spinning top) design.

      3. Ningka Pertanda
      Its ears is also built horizontally. The tajau features “bunga terong” design. A “tali marau” rope design is seen around the widest part of its body. Its body feature a “papan pertanda” design. Another type of Ningka Petanda is called Ningka Malak. The design are similar except that Ningka Malak do not have a neck like a “tepayan” jar.

      4. Tajau Menaga
      Its color is red-brown. It has eight ear built laterally on its shoulder. It feature the picture of dragon and “bunga terong” design with its petal shaped like paddle.

      5. Tajau Rusa
      Its color is yellowish. Its design is round shape or “babingka”. It has eight ear built laterally around its shoulder.

      6. Tajau Salang-Alang
      Similar to Tajau Rusa in color, size and design. It has seven ears laterally around its shoulder.

      7. Tajau Alas
      Also similar to Tajau Rusa in color and design. Its size is smaller than Tajau Rusa. It has seven ears laterally around its shoulder.

      Other jars are of less significant value used for storage of rice grain, making of tuak, drinking water storage and other domestic needs.

  6. Rindu amat aku maca adat enggau main asal kitai iban.Tusah ka ngiga utai baka nya “Aya”. sekeda utai diak lalu nyadi ka ‘reference’ aku lebuh enggau orang ngereja pengawa lama nitih ka orang tuai..

    “keep it up…..uncle…

  7. hai, saya linda . skang ni saya sedang membuat kajian mengenai kaum iban, terutama dalam adat kaum yang melibatkan penggunaan seramik ( tajau ) . saya berharap dapat berhubung dengan encik untuk mendapatkan maklumat dengan lebih mendalam. jasa baik encik amatlah dihargai.
    Disini saya sertakan email saya


    • Korn,
      You can check on my article Gawai Tajau for my write-up on Types of Tajau and its significance to the Iban people. I’m doing a writing projects on Iban traditional history for use in Teaching of Iban language … very busy right now.

  8. can get ur phone no, regarding my master research

18 thoughts on “Types of tajau

  1. uwa1971 Post author

    See here to see pictures of some the jars mentioned above:

  2. uwa1971 Post author

    Tajau {betajau), a jar. [The following m
    order of value are called tajau by the Dyaks. —
    I, Segiau or Galigiau, 2, Mngka, 3, Benaga
    or Menaga, 4, Petanda, 5, Rusa, 6, Pantar
    Rusa, 7, Alas, 8, Salang-alang. 9, Perni,
    10, Lambeng, 1 1, Mertima, 12, Briga, 13,
    Kamas, 14, Remaung, 15, Razvai, 16,
    Jumat, 17, Palawan, 18, Merkala, 19,
    Crunong, 20, Layang. 21, Mertiga, 22.
    Manukol, 23, Bunut, 24, Besi bttlan, 25,
    Besi, 26, Panding, 27, Pat, 28, Papau,
    29, Mer sambas, 30, Rangkang, 31, Menu^
    O’Ug, 32, Grunggang, 33, Lekat, Note, a
    guchi is not a tajau],

  3. uwa1971 Post author

    Type of jars = Value in $

    1. Salang-alang = 150.0

    2. Begeri = 200.00

    3. Rusa Randok = 250.00

    4. Betanda Bendar = 280.00

    5. Menaga = 300.00 – 350.00

    6. Ningka Bendar = 400.00

    7. Sergiu = 600.00 – 900.00

    8. Guchi = 700.00 – 1,000.00

  4. uwa1971 Post author

    Tusun tunggu Iban

    1. Sejampar – 5 sen

    2. seliar – 7 sen

    3. setali – 9 sen

    4. se uta – 10 sen

    5. sigi menukul – 30 sen

    6. sigi jabir – 50 sen (diatu seringgit)

    7. sigi mungkol – seringgit

    8. sigi panding – 2 ringgit

    9. tiga mungkol – 3 ringgit

    10. sigi alas – 4 ringgit

    11. alas ngerang – 5 ringgit

    12. rusa indu – 8 ringgit

    13. rusa lelaki – 10 ringgit

    14. sigi menaga – 16 ringgit

    15. sepikul – seratus ringgit



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s