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This publication brings together current scholarship that focuses on the significance of performing arts heritage of royal courts in Southeast Asia. Royal courts have long been sites for the creation, exchange, maintenance, and development of myriad forms of performing arts and other distinctive cultural expressions. The first volume, Pusaka as Documented Heritage, consists of historical case studies, contexts and developments of royal court traditions, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Volume Editor:
This publication brings together current scholarship that focuses on the significance of performing arts heritage of royal courts in Southeast Asia. The contributors consist of both established and early-career researchers working on traditional performing arts in the region and abroad. The first volume, Pusaka as Documented Heritage, consists of historical case studies, contexts and developments of royal court traditions, particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The second volume, Pusaka as Performed Heritage, comprises chapters that problematise royal court traditions in the present century with case studies that examine the viability, adaptability and contemporary contexts for coexisting administrative structures.

Abstract

Music, dance and ceremonies associated with Kaili royalty depict the presence of ethnic-specific genres and the exchange of tangible and intangible heirlooms (pusaka) with neighbouring kingdoms. Located in Central Sulawesi, Kaili lands (ngata Kaili) experienced the formation of distinct kingdoms at the periphery of four historical centres, namely South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, the Sulu Zone and Maluku. With shared practices as an ethnicity (Kaili) and idiosyncrasies with distinct courts, dialects and lineages, Kaili kingdoms maintained a legacy of traditions serving as status signifiers in honour of nobility circles (maradika), and a heritage signifying local customs of each court and links to other kingdoms. The Kaili heritage experienced changes together with the transformations of the Indonesian political climate after independence in 1945, particularly during the national process of centralisation and standardisation of the performing arts during the New Order (Orde Baru) era (1967–1998), and once again during the process of decentralisation of government operations that gave a greater autonomy to the performing arts after 1998. In view of the dynamic, evolving and adapting role of Kaili performance traditions associated with the nobility, this chapter analyses the forms in three diachronic eras: the Kaili kingdoms before 1945; the centralised national Indonesian government after 1945; and the decentralised neo-royal provincial government in Central Sulawesi after 1998. The chapter considers the following as examples of performing arts development for each era: the Kaili vaino mourning song in remembrance of deceased royalty and the balia healing ritual forms performed for royalty; royal links of the kakula gong-row heritage; and the pajoge maradika royal dance form.

In: Performing Arts and the Royal Courts of Southeast Asia, Volume Two