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Edited by H. Geertz

Balinese texts, temples, theatre performances and rituals, in seven essays, are placed into specific political contexts in an effort to gain a deeper understanding of the changing relations between state and society on the complex island of Bali.
How have local communities been linked to various claimants to state sovereignty through Bali's history? What have been the forms and functions of the institutions that have joined peasants with kings and bureaucrats? How have these institutions changed and in what ways have they remained the same over the centuries? How have these relationships been represented by Balinese to themselves? And, how should research on these issues be carried further forward?
The contributors to this volume—I Gusti Ngurah Bagus, Hildred Geertz, Henk Schulte Nordholt, Raechelle Rubinstein, David J. Stuart Fox, Adrian Vickers, and Carol Warren—represent the disciplines of anthropology, literature and history, but all of them cut creatively across disciplinary lines. In contrast to previous Bali research, these studies put more emphasis on historical background and pay close attention to local Balinese perspectives. Early and colonial history form the frame of several papers, while others deal with major changes in the recent past. While each paper taken alone has its own specialized concerns, if the set is read as a series an outline can be discerned, not only of Balinese history and culture, but also of some characteristic features of the new research on Bali being carried out in the 1980s. The interdisciplinary approach of this volume makes it challenging reading for a wider audience of Southeast Asianists.


C.D. Grijns and S.O. Robson

This collective volume contains several articles on Indonesia.


J. Miedema

In this article, the author attempts to demonstrate that the study of inland fisheries can provide additional insight into the culture of the Meybrat, a tribal community living around the Ayamaru lakes in the northern part of the Western Bird's Head of Irian Jaya. The author discusses the following: the significance of pusaka (sacred hereditary goods) in fishery; the role of ancestor worship and cosmology; the rise of a class of native immigrant 'big men' such as 'bankers' in ikat textiles ( kain timur); the role of imported kain pusaka as part of the so-called kain timur-complex; newly discovered aspects of myths from the western and eastern Bird's Head, that are often culturally imposed.


H. Nooy-Palm

Until about 1870 the Sa’dan-toraja of Sulawesi had little contact with the outside world. Several factors, of which the introduction of the coffee-growing and the coffee trade was chronologically one of the first, have changed their life as a megalithic people enmeshed in mythology and ritual drastically. The conversion of nearly half the population to Christianity after 1945 brought a particularly profound change in Sa’dan-Toraja society. Old customs, in particular as regards funerary rites, have a tenacious life, however.
In autochthonous Toraja culture rituals are the main focus of attention. They are divided into ceremonies of the East and those of the West. The former, associated with sunrise and life, comprise feasts of the living; yellow and white are the colours belonging to these joyous festivals. The West is associated with sunset, death and darkness; the main colour connected with it is black. So death rituals are referred to a “night ceremonies”. In time these death feasts grew more and more complicated, finally overshadowing the festivals of the East.

De Kebar, 1855-1980

Sociale structuur en religie in de Vogelkop van West-Nieuw-Guinea


J. Miedema

The author studied the culture, particularly social life, of a tribal society of the Kabar plain in the inland area of the Kepala Burung (Vogelkop) in Irian Jaya. The focus was on constants, variants, and changes in the field of kinship and religion. Ch. 1 gives a historical survey of the Kabar plain. Ch. 2 pays attention to environment and demographic data. To determine the influences of processes of state formation in the East Indonesian archipelago on the Kebar, chapters 3 and 4 look at the intra- and intertribal (kinship) relations, including changes occurring in them, and the Kebar man- and worldview. Ch. 5 discusses the connection between social historical and ecological influences on the culture of the Kebar, in particular in the fields of kinship and religion.

Unity in Diversity

Indonesia as a Field of Anthropological Study


Edited by P.E. de Josselin de Jong

This collective volume contains papers and comments on these papers from an international symposium on "Indonesia as a Field of Anthropological Study" held in Leiden, 22-26 November 1982. The following contributions are listed: P.E. de Josselin de Jong, “A field of anthropological study in transformation” (with comments by G.B. Milner) / Robert Blust, “Indonesia as a ‘Field of Linguistic Study’” / A. Teeuw, “Indonesia as a ‘Field of Literary Study’. A case study: genealogical narrative texts as an Indonesian literary genre” (with comments by Els Postel) / Sandra Niessen, “Textiles are female... but what is femaleness? Toba Batak textiles in the Indonesian field of ethnological study” (with comments by Wolfgang Marschall) / David S. Moyer, “South Sumatra in the Indonesian Field of Anthropological Study” (with comments by C.W. Watson) / J.J.J.M. Wuisman, “The Rejang and the Field of Anthropological study concept” (with comments by William D. Wilder) / Peter J.M. Nas, “Settlements as symbols: The Indonesian town as a Field of Anthropological Study” / Hans-Dieter Evers, “Cities as a ‘Field of Anthropological Studies’ in South-East Asia” / R. Hagesteijn, “Continental Southeast Asian political myths compared” / J.D.M. Platenkamp, “The Tobelo of Eastern Halmahera in the context of the Field of Anthropological study” (with comments by Cécile Barraud) / L.E. Visser, “Who are the Sahu and what do they belong to?” (with comments by E.K.M. Masinambow) / Rodney Needham, “The transformation of prescriptive systems in Eastern Indonesia” / P.E. de Josselin de Jong, “Summary and conclusions”

Jan Verschueren's Description of Yéi-Nan Culture

Extracted from the Posthumous Papers


Jan Verschueren

Edited by J. van Baal

Joannis Cornelis Verschueren (1905-1970) worked as a Roman Catholic missionary in southern Irian from 1931 until 1970. In the 1950s he wrote a number of papers on the Yéi. These papers, based on older field notes and a research trip through the area, are recapitulated in this volume. Verschueren provides genuine inside information and his data are new and authentic. The four papers in this volume create a picture of a typical lowland culture with a surprising emphasis on headhunting, an uncommon way of segregating the sexes, and a highly elaborated system of phallic symbolism. Topics discussed in this volume are territorial, clan and moiety organization; kinship, marriage and conjugal life; the founding myths of Yéi-nan ritual and other rituals; initiation; sickness and healing; death, burial and mortuary feasts; other ceremonies.