The Stranger-Kings of Sikka

With an Integrated Edition of Two Manuscripts on the Origin and History of the Rajadom of Sikka

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The Stranger-Kings of Sikka is the first monographic study of an origin myth and history of an indigenous eastern Indonesian state and the first contemporary ethnography of the Ata Sikka of Flores. The book will be of interest to anthropologists, ethnologists of Austronesia, historians and political scientists whose interests include Southeast Asia.
During the 1920s, in the regency of Sikka on the island of Flores, D.D. Pareira Kondi and A. Boer Pareira, two notable men among the first literate Sikkanese, began writing about the history and culture of their people. Among their many surviving manuscripts are two long works on the origin of the rajas who ruled Sikka until the end of the rajadom in the 1950s. The author of this book uncovered the manuscripts in 1994 and found among them versions of the myth of origin of the Sikkanese rajas, an epic tale of immigrant-kings that was lost to living memory and as oral tradition by the 1970s. Drawing on Boer’s and Kondi's texts and his own field research in the regency of Sikka, Lewis presents an abridged English translation of the origin myth and constructs a history of the Sikkanese rajas and the organization of the society they ruled.

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Born in Texas in 1947 and educated at Rice and Brown Universities, E. Douglas Lewis (PhD Australian National University) began his research on Sikka in 1977 and has been a university lecturer in Australia for many years. His publications on the peoples of the Regency of Sikka include People of the source: The social and ceremonial order of Tana Wai Brama on Flores (1988) and A celebration of origins (1994), a film about ritual in the Tana 'Ai region of Sikka that he co-produced with Timothy and Patsy Asch.