Genuine Malayan Sun Bear Claw – A Traditional Talisman of the Dayak Tribes from Kalimantan


The Malayan sun bear (Lat. Helarctos Malayanus) is relatively small compared to bears living in other parts of the world. However, the Malayan sun bear has quite large, curved and pointed claws. The sun bear’s sharp claws serve to tear open trees in search of fresh honey produced by wild bees. Hence, the Malayan sun bear is also known as the ‘honey bear’.

Indonesian Bear's Nail

The indigenous Dayak tribes living in the dense forest of Kalimantan believe that the Malayan sun bear possesses mystical powers of protection. It is known as a dangerous animal that will seriously harm any person or animal which offends the bear by stepping foot on its territory. The bears claws are therefore a natural weapon of defense, highly effective to fend off attacks, and to strike in a counter-attack.

Indonesian amulet made from bear's nail

Indonesians generally ascribe great powers to the claws of this fear instilling animal. Bear claws are especially sought after by practitioners of traditional Indonesian martial arts (pencak silat), who wear the claw as an amulet for evasion of danger, and to practice invulnerability (‘kanuragan’) and invincibility (‘kadigdayaan’) against attacks of sharp objects.

close up of Indonesian bear's amulet

Also, the ferocious claws of the Malayan sun bear are a powerful talisman for the kind of person who demands respect and authority, i.e. a social or political leader, a military official, etc. Hence, this genuine Malayan sun bear claw is a rare and exclusive item of both mystical and practical value.

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