THE BORNEO- PORTFOLIOS 1920-25
FOLIO II ANCIENT FOREST IMAGES
Plate I & II The two beach images, one with a view out to sea, Plate I the other looking inland , Plate II, both taken at low-tide show two mature Sonneratia trees (Mangroves) which often grow here. The very hard roots of the tree have been noticeably hollowed out by the waves and have an appearance not unlike coral rocks. All around spine-like aerial roots grow (Plate I). In the second image, with the two trees in the middle-ground, there is towards the right front an old coral reef, while at the left front there is a surface coal seam. In the background there are washed up and fallen trees. The high grass-like shrubs between the two main trunks are Pandanus. In the first of the three river scenes one can easily follow the twisting course of the rivers. These were taken between low and high tide.
Plate III On the right side there are swamp palms, Nipa fructicans, on the left, Rhizophora. Anyone who allows themselves to be borne quietly along by the river’s current in a skiff will see crocodiles, sometimes as many as a dozen in a half hour, sunning themselves in the warm not too swampy spaces between the palms. At the slightest noise these animals with their acute sense of hearing disappear like lightening into the stream. In the foreground and background are Rhizophores while in the mid-ground there are Nipa-Palms. The third image shows a river bank with broom-like divided aerial roots , above and behind the thicket of mangrove. On the trunks of the trees we can see Epiphyten.
Plates IV- VII Of the four images that depict the vegetation growing near the river we can again see the tangled mass of the aerial roots of the Rhizophore. Here and there, there are Bakau-Bakau plants shooting and climbing amongst the densely packed forest. In another image (Plate VII) we see phallus-like shapes, like a small forest in and of itself, amongst which are 1-2 meter high Pneumatophora which are quite different from those we see on the Sonneratias of the beach images.
Plate VIII A third image shows a brook with a thick Pandanus growth as undergrowth.
Plate IX Another plate(IX) shows wide-spreading Nipa palm growing at the edge of Rhizophore mangroves.
Plates X, XI, XII The three tropical forest images perhaps give us some idea of the wall of green which one invariably comes up against as one tries to penetrate the forest interior. In the foreground of the landscape-format we can see the broad spreading roots of a Borneo oak (Malay-Bangkiri, bandjer-ish Bangkiray) whose wood while not as hard or as dense as teak or Djati, is still of value in the context of building and furniture construction. Here and there rattan and other palms break the uniformity of the usual plant growth.
Translated by Bernard Lilienthal with assistance of Mark Henshaw