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“ Potent Landscapes is a brilliant new work that breaks fresh ground in the anthro­
pological study o f place and culture in Southeast Asia. Bringing a phenomenological interest in ‘dwelling’ to her ethnographic portrayal o f everyday life in the southern Manggarai settlements o f West Flores, Indonesia, Catherine AJlerton takes readers on a revealing and richly rewarding journey into the ‘shape o f the land’ there. Her book offers a wealth o f ideas and comparative material for scholars working in other parts o f Asia and the Pacific, and an accessible account sure to fascinate and inspire students o f anthropology.” — Kenneth M. George, The Australian National University

Place and Mobility in Eastern Indonesia

M oving out from rooms and houses in a series o f concentric circles, the author outlines at each successive point the broader implications o f M ang­ garai place- and path-making. This gradual expansion o f scale allows the work to build a subtle, cumulative picture o f the potent landscapes within which Manggarai people raise families, forge alliances, plant crops, build houses, and engage with local state actors. Landscapes are significant, she argues, not only as sacred or mythic realms, or as contexts for the imposi­ tion o f colonial space; they are also significant as vernacular contexts shaped by daily practices. T h e book analyzes the power of a collective landscape shaped both by the Indonesian state’s development policies and by responses to religious change. Catherine Allerton is lecturer in
anthropology at the Lon d on School o f Economics.

Cover art: Photo by Catherine Allerton I Covei- design: Mardee Melton

ISBN 978-0-8248- -3800-3

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University o f Haw aii Press



Potent Landscapes

Southeast Asia
P O L IT IC S , M E A N IN G , A N D M E M O R Y

Potent Landscapes
Place and Mobility in Eastern Indonesia

David Chandler and Rita Smith Kipp


U N I V E R S I T Y O F H A W A l‘ l P R E S S

H onolulu

899' 2i — dc23 2012042515 University o f Hawai'i Press books are printed on acid-free paper and meet the guidelines for permanence and durability o f the C ou n cil on Library Resources. Series designed by Richard Hendel Printed by Sheridan Books. paper) 1. paper) — ISB N 978-0-8248-3800-3 ( p b k . author. Catherine. Title. Potent landscapes : place and m obility in eastern Indonesia / Catherine Allerton. Cultural landscapes— II. Manggarai (Indonesian people)— Social life and customs. and memory.— (Southeast Asia: politics. Indonesia— Manggarai (Kabupaten) ing. mean­ 305. 6 5 4 3 1 1 For Simon Library o f Congress C ataloging-in-Publication D ata Allerton.: alk.M 287A44 2013 I. 1 4 1. and memory) Includes bibliographical references and index. . meaning. pages cm. Series: Southeast A sia— politics. ISB N 978-0-8148-3632-0 (cloth : alk.© 2013 University o f Hawai'i Press A ll rights reserved Printed in the United States o f America 18 17 i i 1. D S632. 2. Inc.

Paths o f M arriage 73 44 17 4. T h e Permeable H ouse 3. Stone.CONTENTS A cknow ledgm ents ix i Introduction: T h e Shape o f the Land i. Earth. W ater: T h e A nim ate Landscape 5. D rum Houses and V illage Resettlem ent 6. R oots and M o b ility C on clu sion N otes References Index 2/5 187 iç ç 178 151 127 97 . Room s: A Place for Souls i .

Primus. However. Fita. invited to lunch. and Rober. particularly Guru Frans. Thanks to my family in the “mountain house. Frans. A good part o f my time in Wae Rebo was spent next door. Maksi. Thanks also to Guru Stanis and Guru Sius at the school in Denge. Rinus. as did Niko. as well as the laughter and tantrums o f Aben.ackn o w led g m en ts As an ethnographic investigation o f the power o f the landscape. there are a number o f villagers whose significance to my work demands individual acknowledgment. this book is shaped by my own experience o f becoming entangled in and involved with Manggarai places and pathways. W ith respect to houses and field-huts. Odi. M y heartfelt thanks to them and to my adoptive siblings and their spouses: Teres. or peanuts. and who gave me bags o f Manggarai coffee to bring home. and presented with gifts o f bananas. who complained when I didn’t eat enough. Ine Sisi. Tina. took me under their wing and told me many stories. who insisted that I eat even when I was full. Matil. Frid. Yus. when I think o f my fieldwork in southern Manggarai. as well as their neighbor Dete. and Densi. my “walking friend” and Meren. Regi. Ame Dorus. the ritual leader o f Wae Rebo.” There I enjoyed the company and stories o f Ame Huber. Selus. Guru Alec. Lome.” particularly Ame and Ine de Yos. avocadoes. Kris. I would therefore like to thank all o f the Manggarai villag­ ers who have fed and nurtured me. and have become family. I am particularly grateful to Anna for her continual kindness and friendship. Les. Indeed. and Fian. and their sons Sil. Anna. The two Tanta Tinas. Later they were joined by Kon and Edit. Gabriel Ngantur (Ame Gaba) and Anastasia Anus (Ine Anas) took me into their Wae Rebo house. Dete. for their hospital­ ity. a good part o f this process was focused on food. Sita. Marsel. and Kata provided stories and friendship. I remember constandy being given glasses o f sweet coffee. explained my purpose to others. and Talis always welcomed me to their house and involved me with their family lives. Frans. Thanks also to my “other house” in Kombo: Tote. in the house o f my “old father. and Ibu Guru Medi. her sister. Nina. Teus. I am sorry that I cannot mention them all by name. and Geni. was always forthcoming with information about ritual events and let me record many o f his songs and sto- . for their hospitality both in and out o f school. fed me. Thanks to the teachers at the school in Lenggos.

Gregory Forth. Mary Steedly. Thanks in particular to Maribeth for always answering my queries. Trips to Manggarai in 2005 and 2008 were partly funded by the London School o f Economics. Edinburgh University. Pater Mar­ sel Nahas SVD. I also thank Nick Allen. This book owes much to the critical support o f Maurice Bloch and Fenella Cannell. Any Darung and Tony Rumondor in Ruteng have. as Manggarai people would say. During fieldwork in 19971999. Thanks in particular to Any for her delicious cooking and work on tape transcription. Deborah James. Oxford. and Pater Gabriel Mite SV D for their help during my first months in Manggarai in 1997. and to Simon Jarvis. Kupang. told me the history o f Kombo and explained some o f the community’s future plans. and Lee Wilson. I must also thank Tin. James Leach. the political leader o f the community. the char­ ismatic ritual speaker during my first fieldwork. and have provided friendly hospitality in Singapore. and Matthew Engelke. Eliza. a Japanese photographer. I would also like to express my thanks to the book’s anonymous reviewer for frank and helpful editorial suggestions. Webb Keane and Susanne Kiichler provided me with a raft o f generously critical questions and comments. Stephan Feuchtwang. Nicolas Ellison. Several o f these have been women. I would like to thank Pam Kelley and Ann Ludeman for their enthusiasm and efficiency. with love. I thank Angela and Michael Allerton and Joan Nicholson. interrupted— like the lives o f the people I describe— by new work. Uni­ versity College London. over the years. A t the University o f Hawai'i Press. Chris Fuller. Nick Long. for whose intellectual inspiration I remain grateful. Ame Michael was gentle and friendly. including the lovely Edit. Eti. who drew the maps and diagrams. Financial support came from an ESRC Research Studentship (award no. Aberdeen University. Michael Lambek. and I therefore dedicate this book to him. A shy man o f few words. Maribeth Erb. I must mention Ame Huber. and much more. who has read all sorts o f things. born at the beginning o f the twentieth century. Luke Freeman.ries. Ame Paulinus. Queen’s University Belfast. Ame de Rikus. It is hard to imagine this book without the words o f Ame Bertolo. Field­ work in Manggarai between September 1997 and March 1999 was sponsored by the Indonesian Institute o f Sciences (LIPI) and Universitas Nusa Cendana. I must particularly thank Charles Stafford. The path I have travelled towards this book has been a long and wind­ ing one. houses. Albert Schrauwers. O f the older inhabitants who have died. and 2008. some o f the villagers with whom I have worked in Wae ReboKombo have since passed away. R00429634133). Ame Nabas welcomed me to his field-hut and fed my craving for markis fruit. and made me laugh by demanding to know the salaries o f my entire family. Janet Carsten. he nevertheless taught me much about what it means to be a good Manggarai person and introduced my eldest daughter to his land and ancestors. Thanks also to John Ryan for his photographs o f Wae Rebo and to Jeanine Pfeiffer for delivering and sending letters in 2008. as well as those who attended numerous conferences. I am grateful to Barbara Folsom for her careful copyediting. most heavy. My debt to Simon Nicholson is. my “old father. Finally. visited Wae Rebo during the drum house rebuilding. Maribeth Erb and Stanis Mucek have supported this research in many ways. I must mention five old men who contributed to my research. I thank the audiences in anthropology seminars at LSE. Michael Scott. who died in pregnancy or childbirth. with funding from the British Academy’s Fund for Southeast Asian Studies. Judith Bovensiepen. and Richard Chenhall for their friendship and support. from which I have drawn much inspiration over the years. and the late Olivia Harris have all been helpful and encouraging as heads o f the Anthropology Department at the London School o f Economics. Michael O ’Hanlon. who read the whole book. Among friends and colleagues who have helped steer this research towards publication. For providing many delightful detours and for making my life truly “lively” I must thank Olive. . Edward Simpson. Thanks in particular to Fenella. for visiting me during fieldwork and enthusiastically engaging with my Wae Rebo friends. and generously sent me some o f his photographs. my visits to Ruteng were made comfortable by the kind hospitality o f Moira Moeliono and Pam Minnigh. and children. and Roxana Nicholson. Eric Hirsch. and for providing the initial infor­ mation that led me to Wae Rebo. Peggy Froerer. Huge thanks are also due to Rita Astuti. and Oxford University.” who died in July 2008. pro­ vided friendship and support in many forms. For grandparental childcare services. between March and August 2001. Shuichi Matsuda. Sadly. 2005. A ll o f the photographs in this book are my own. Two subsequent trips to Manggarai. A number o f institutions have funded and supported my research. Kari Telle. Thanks also to Harold Herrewegh for his translation o f Dutch materials and to Mina Moshkeri o f the LSE’s Design Unit. were conducted while I was a Junior Research Fel­ low at Wolfson College. Brian Howell. For comments on earlier or partial versions o f the chapters. told me stories o f Japanese soldiers and Polish priests. Matthew Amster. as well as her support when hosting my visits in 2001.

significance. replete with . because Manggarai people stress the importance o f paths as well as houses. It describes the intimate connections between the land o f Manggarai and its rural inhabitants. houses. this is the shape o f our field here. and villages. “our field” may be perched on a stony mountainside. The state­ ment implies both “this is the way we do things here” and “what you see is what you get. busy highways. if you scramble down steep paths to visit someone in their garden-hut. but it is ours and we are part o f it. rivers as well as fields. this book draws a cumulative portrait o f Manggarai places. and shows how these connections are remembered. where hardworking people enjoy the products o f their land and labor. and movements as well as settlements. revealing their shape. “This is the shape o f our house here. they are likely to declare.” This is not a land o f modern houses. and value. and debated in both ritual actions and everyday life. looking around at dirt floors or bamboo walls. but it is our land and we eat its produce.” These statements seem to stress a connection between people and place: “our house here” may be a humble dwelling. If you visit a persons house for the first time. Auntie. This is a potent landscape. saying. or electricity. Taking its cue from the many everyday ways in which people in west Flores emphasize or humorously comment on their connection with fields. but o f steep slopes and stony fields. practiced.” Simi­ larly.Introduction The Shape of the Land W hen you visit a village in southern Manggarai.” They do so in a manner that combines humorous apology with modest pride. one o f the first things that people say to you after they have gently shaken your hand and offered a greeting is “This is the shape o f our land here. with a laugh. “Eh. they will often adopt the same tone. However. the book uses the notion o f landscape as a way o f drawing out the mobile entanglements o f people with their histori­ cal and contemporary environment.

W ith a new friend from Ruteng. In 1997. over the months that followed I gradu­ ally began to accompany my informants on their journeys to the lowlands or other villages reached by mountain paths. as they were always travelling up and down the mountain between their two villages. yet profoundly different places. I hitched a lift with a priest travelling to the church at Denge. and we returned to the lowlands that after­ noon. I struggled to understand the details o f this conflict. through dense rainforest. As he described Kombo to my friend. n ) . Although this book is unique in exploring the multiple aspects o f the power o f a Southeast Asian landscape. The next morning. I moved to Wae Rebo to begin fieldwork. the head. whether accumulated by a person or concentrated in an object or place. but they didn’t travel there from Wae Rebo every day. power was amoral. Three hours later. their machetes rattling in their holders as they briskly climbed. we stayed in the house o f the head o f the local administrative unit (kepala desa). had the government ordered the community to build a lowland site ? How often did people walk up and down between the sites. having met no one on the path when we climbed up earlier in the day. he told us. its residents seemed friendly enough. This was why the district head (Bupati) o f the Manggarai region was currently planning a visit to the village. Though initially based solely in the highlands. but was it an appropriate site for my research? Wasn’t Wae Rebo rather too remote? Did I really want to live somewhere unique. an abstract aspect o f a relationship. thatched. my curiosity had been aroused. Reaching the summit o f one section o f the path. steep descent through coffee gardens into the center o f Wae Rebo and my first entry into the dark interior space o f a round house (mbaru niang) are now something o f a blur. to see for himself its unique housing forms. but it is also a landscape formed by people. with a photocopied Manggarai-Indonesian dictionary weighing down my bag. an “existen­ tial reality” (1990. I wondered. As my fieldwork progressed. and Wae Rebo suddenly seemed a more possible fieldsite. the kepala desa said the site had been founded by order o f the local government and mentioned some kind o f related dispute. conical roofs sloping to the floor. Wae Rebo people were strong walkers. Thus. and what motivated their journeys ? W hat was it like for schoolchildren raised in the highlands to move to the lowlands to attend school? A week later. this book analyzes the power o f a collective. narratives that stressed the metaphysical connections between Wae Rebo-Kombo people and their land. As we wearily climbed back down the mountain paths. My companions emphasized to me (in Indonesian) that this was a unique village: nowhere else in Manggarai were original speci­ mens o f such traditional housing to be found. However. with the strangely shaped island o f Pulau Mules just off the coast. called Kombo. I also began to gain a more complex understanding o f the many similarities and differences between Wae Rebo and Kombo as sites and to hear different accounts o f their history. In his classic paper ([1971] 1990) on “The idea o f power in Javanese culture. Thus. and the local unit’s security guard accompanied us on the steep walk. in the lowlands. The village was beautiful.personal and collective memories. shared landscape shaped by state develop­ ment policies and responses to religious change. approaches to power in the region have o f course long stressed its distinctive materiality. on our way back down we bumped into several men carrying large sacks on their shoulders. spirits. as in the modern European conception. where many o f its villagers lived. shortly after arriving in the Manggarai region o f eastern Indonesia to begin my fieldwork. from the start my ethnographic attention was drawn to the historical significance and emotional power o f movements within a landscape o f named. Sure enough. I looked to the south and saw the houses and fields o f the lowlands beneath us. unitary. emerging from another dense section o f forest. driving for many hours along a bumpy stone road through numerous villages. including four round structures with tall. but the confusion pro­ voked within me is not. That night. Resting snugly inside a bowl o f mountain ridges was a grassy village yard encircled by a number o f houses. I glimpsed the village o f Wae Rebo for the first time. somewhere that was due to receive an official state visit? How should I know when I had found “my” fieldsite? Our visit was a short one. his daughters. I heard ever more complex stories o f the entanglement o f places and people. and goods on the move. He replied that they went to school in Lenggos.” Benedict Anderson argued that Javanese power was not. In the Javanese context. up to Wae Rebo. I was keen to get back to Ruteng and to investigate other possible fieldsites. potent places. This was because Wae Rebo also had a site in the lowlands. Why. its houses were clearly fas­ cinating. I visited the mountain village o f Wae Rebo for the first time. and human fate. my friend asked the kepala desa where Wae Rebo children went to school. potent. Frus­ trated by my poor language skills. My memory o f that first. while also taking seriously the intense personal connections between Manggarai individuals and certain places and pathways. Anderson describes how people on Java . but was something concrete. o f a constant quantity. but that also hinted at the dangerous consequences o f the intermingling o f spilt blood. and always embodied.

In his work on dwelling and the perception o f the environment..148). not as a system o f beliefs. or people’s temporal movements along marriage or other paths. Powerful persons could be recognized by the heirlooms they amassed about themselves but also by their “poise.” I consider such a stress on the everyday to be important for two reasons. nor an external world o f “nature” over which people gain a conceptual hold (2000. “forged through the activities o f living beings” and continually emerging “in the pro­ cess o f our lives” (ibid. This is surprising. was “manifested in every aspect o f the natural world. partly resettled village and who continue to deal with outsiders’ perceptions o f their highland and lowland sites. Ingold’s dwelling perspective also helps make sense o f the many connections between Manggarai houses and “the land” more generally. its role in creating places o f value. less attention has been paid to the pooling o f such potency in the landscape.). will be explored in detail in the chapters that follow. since Ander­ son’s original paper emphasized how Javanese power. This means that no meaningful distinction can be drawn between a “natural” landscape o f physical features and a “cultural” landscape o f representations and projected symbols (2000. for example. or the more poignant journeys along marriage paths or to “outside” realms.1). this dimension o f life has long been neglected in anthropological work on eastern Indonesia. and the particular challenges it presents. clouds. phe­ nomenological approaches not only to animism but also to landscape. as will become apparent. Such connections tend not to be emphasized in the literature on Indonesian houses. often unspoken aspects o f everyday life and to the interpretations offered by Manggarai “experts. More generally. I draw on recent phenomenological approaches to animism that have emphasized its significance. 20). focuses on architectural form and cosmological order. houses as places. but who continue to hold sacrificial rituals in fields and houses and to take note o f a range o f nonhuman persons. people in rural Manggarai con­ tinue to approach their environment in a distinctively “animistic” manner.173).” he draws attention to the fundamental historicity o f our environments. The significance o f this mobility. First. So too. at the heart o f Ingold’s approach to landscape. influ­ ence this book’s aim o f evoking the sensual specificity of. inspired in part by phenomenological accounts. His emphasis on the ongoing incompleteness o f a landscape under perpetual construction is. In his refusal to distinguish between the “built” and “unbuilt” environment (2000. which. For Ingold. In Chapter 4. Indeed. as we shall see. Mang­ garai understandings o f an animate landscape remain strong.” This Dutch school sought to identify cultural areas . will some o f the problems in adopting an exclusively phenomenological approach to place and landscape. those who inhabit landscapes do not confront them as a world “out there” (2000. despite Catholic conversion and state-sponsored village resettlement.42) as materialized in both persons and objects. but also in the daily movements between houses and to fields. 42). and fire” (1990. in part o f because o f the domination o f scholarship on this region by the struc­ turalist “Leiden School. restraint and equanimity in all situations” (Brenner 1998.1 It is also an explicit reaction against theoretical approaches that understand a “landscape” as a distinct way o f seeing: “a pictorial way o f rep­ resenting or symbolising surroundings” (Cosgrove and Daniels 1988. This broadly phenomenological perspective is in striking contrast to the Durkheimian tradition within social anthropology that saw relations among social groups as the natural basis for symbolic clas­ sifications mapped onto spatial arrangements (Durkheim and Mauss ([1903] 1963). though I acknowledge that it is by no means a simple or uncomplicated strategy. trees. Ingold’s approach to the social temporality o f the landscape influences this book’s argument in a number o f ways. Anderson stresses that this conception o f “the entire cosmos being suffused by a formless. helpful for understanding the experience o f Wae Rebo-Kombo villagers who inhabit a two-placed. but as a way o f being-in-the-world. Ingold has emphasized how human environments are not neutral backdrops to activ­ ity. not only in Wae ReboKombo villagers’ journeys up and down mountain paths. against what he calls “the logic o f construction. this book gives equal prominence both to the taken-for-granted.constantly read the signs o f power’s accumulation or diffusion in the person and environment o f a ruler. As mentioned. as well as his more recent attempt to connect lines and place making (2007). In adopting a nonrepresentational approach to place and landscape. These approaches not only help make sense o f why. is an acknowledgment o f the importance o f movement. but also help elucidate what is specific about animism in this context. As subsistence farmers who baptize their children as Catholics and marry in church. 22). 19). constantly creative energy” is what provides the “basic link” between the “animism” o f Javanese villages and “the high metaphysical pantheism o f the urban centers” (ibid.189). in stones. Perhaps most significantly. as an “intangible” and “mysterious” energy. Though there has been a fair amount o f comparative regional research on conceptions and conse­ quences o f such distinctively Southeast Asian “potency” (Errington 1990. at the expense o f overemphasizing bodily interaction or neglecting broader political and economic forces. however. the Manggarai landscape is one defined by mobility. Instead.

However.that were sufficiently homogeneous and distinctive to form a separate “field” o f investigation (Locher 1968. 480) can be linked to shifts in conceptions o f culture— no longer seen as coherent or unified. Ethnographies o f eastern Indonesia that follow in the footsteps o f the Leiden tradition have.2 By contrast. Research within the Leiden School has produced many detailed ethnographies. tended to approach the task o f map­ ping cosmological coherence by seeking out experts. but increasingly recognized as “negotiated. 148). I explicitly avoided concentrating only on those with ritual expertise.004.152) as well as the ritual speech that is the focus o f so much eastern Indonesian ethnography (see Fox 1988). from the beginning o f my fieldwork in Wae Rebo-Kombo. or “those persons appar­ ently responsible for speaking on behalf o f society” (2004. an ethnographic interest in “the apparently trivial and humdrum” (Gullestad 1991. in its search for cosmological order. and on the practical skills necessary to being and becoming a competent Manggarai person. I listened as much to the stories o f women as to those o f men. it has also taken it as given “that a certain kind o f coherence existed and could be discovered and given a name” (Keane 2. and its influence continues to be seen in some o f the neostructuralist work o f the “Comparative Austronesian Project” based at the Australian National University. contested and (sometimes) resisted” (ibid.” and systems o f dual sovereignty combining secular power and mystical authority.’ while women were my ‘companions’ ” (1993. Indeed. implicit notions in which all Manggarai people might be considered to be “expert.” I focused on somatic experiences o f living and sleeping in dif­ ferent kinds o f dwellings. However.9). the Leiden tradition has not only ignored or trivialized the messy and contradictory aspects o f what eastern Indonesian people say and do in every­ day life. many female ethnographers o f the region appear to have adopted the field­ work strategy outlined with admirable honesty by Hoskins. 480). H^). associated cosmological classifications based on “oppositions. I chose this strategy not only as a reaction against neostruc­ turalist traditions o f anthropological research and a feeling that there must be more to the character o f eastern Indonesian life than the rather solemn .. ix). van Wouden argued for the importance to eastern Indonesian societies o f “connubium” (forms o f cross-cousin marriage). By contrast. but aimed to uncover the taken-for-granted. who states that for most o f her fieldwork on Sumba “men served as my ‘teachers. In this work. and “eastern Indonesia” was most defin­ itively identified as such a “field o f study” by van Wouden’s Types o f social structure in eastern Indonesia ([1935] 1968). as Keane notes. and to “backtalk” (Tsing 1993.

but should never be forgotten by. age. this humble. More significantly. the “weeding season” or the “coffee season. speech. and fertility. or the connections between places and people ? How might they bring about mate­ rial and other changes to the landscape ? Steep ravines and deep river gorges. Certainly. In a series o f writings.” The Manggarai everyday life described in this book therefore emerges out o f a series o f contrasts with other realms o f existence. In par­ ticular. collecting firewood. or in neglecting the perspective and experiences o f women or children. positive conception o f something we might call everyday life. where the former is associated with a more rough-and-ready. at times it makes them the focus o f sustained attention. paying serious attention to the everyday qualities o f life inside household rooms. W hat intrigues me about such events is both what they make explicit. with its mountainous interior and potholed. Indeed. this work nevertheless involves a different kind o f collective focus and effort to that expended during. 480). explicitly turning one’s attention to the taken-for-granted. but also on “so-called domestic life and everyday activities” (Carsten 1997. not all societies can be said to nec­ essarily have an “everyday life” in the Western (in her case. winding roads the fragmented terrain o f Flores reflects a wider cultural and linguistic fragmentation. digging up cassava— are interrupted by both ritual activities and resulting taboos or prohibitions. and other differences within any society mean that what is considered “everyday” by one person may be experienced as “extraordinary” by another.” who handed down those practices which people see as “just our character/custom” {ruku m uing). gen­ der. Bloch (see especially 1991. in which a more ordinary or humble way o f life is contrasted with a more extraordinary. or the ancestral. socioeconomic position. or rituals.” By contrast. are considered part o f the essential work that contributes to health. and even though present practices may only im perfectly correspond to the templates passed “from above in the past.” Instead.1998) has argued that most anthropologists ground their representations in a false theory o f cog­ nition. there is no sense that such a sphere could be mapped onto the “domes­ tic. that they do not convey what a culture “was really like.. in order to avoid exoticizing our subjects. clearing fields. Although works within the Leiden tradition may have gone too far in emphasizing unchanging cosmological coherence. despite its explicit interest in the everyday. Indeed. but also. The island .” This is why both informants and readers may often feel that anthropological accounts are missing something. As we shall see. which assumes that everyday thought is “language-like. In Manggarai. or to personal recollections is not simply a way to paint a more three-dimensional portrait o f eastern Indonesian life. a side that anthropolo­ gists. and what they make pos­ sible in respect to place. for one. Norwegian and home-based) sense o f the word (ibid.” Another axis o f difference relates to the widely held understanding that human life is mirrored by an immanent realm o f spir­ its and ancestors. W hy are ritual speeches often addressed to village sites. modes o f being. or on the verbal explanations given to us. One such axis o f difference is the contrast between village {kampung) and town (kota) life. rooms. A third axis contrasts today’s time and people with that o f ‘the old people in the past. wealth. o f those explicitly described as “people on the other side. unknown. has cautioned that. Though ritual sacrifice in fields. there is no one. less “developed” (m aju ). even though the purpose o f the “old people” may now be obscure. are uniquely placed to understand. so frequent are such events that— with the exception o f very large-scale endeavors involving the whole com­ munity— they even have something o f a habitual flavor. dominate the landscape o f west Flores. while appearing “trans­ parent and simple. their focus on ritual did reflect something o f both its ubiquity and its significance in eastern Indonesia. Indeed. Life in southern Manggarai is continually punctuated by life-cycle. or ancestrally focused one. or the land? How do rituals influence the power o f place. not only on formal events. 481). 20). yet highly valued existence. living humans. the waters o f which are swollen during the intense rainy season. or events to name babies or welcome brides. there could be said to be a number o f axes o f difference between different styles o f activity.” the actual meanings o f the idea o f everyday life are “both complex and variable” (1991. through their method o f participant observation. this book does not ignore the extraordinary. agricultural.” A fourth axis o f difference is that between periods when the tempo and activities o f productive life— weaving textiles.” whose concerns and habits are different from. practical knowledge and values o f Manggarai sociality. local. Nevertheless. Bloch himself emphasizes the importance o f paying close atten­ tion to the nonlinguistic side o f practical activities. the ritual. Marianne Gullestad. unspoken aspects o f daily life is by no means a straightforward or easy strat­ egy. anthropologists should focus. How­ ever. It is also a strategy for uncovering the implicit. to ways o f walking and arriving. or other rituals in which chickens are sacrificed and after which people eat together.practice o f ancestral ritual. because o f work critiquing the ways anthropologists conceptualize human thought and cul­ ture. say. This means that. village-based existence is the one alluded to in statements such as “This is the shape o f our land. in the second place. or collective tempos. and as Gullestad notes. Indeed.

Children are baptized as babies and receive first communion during their pri­ mary schooling. Today. Flores was an “unprofitable” island. However. suitable only for a policy o f “non-interference” (Dietrich 1983). the most powerful area (dalu ). Flores is located in the modern Indonesian province o f Nusa Tenggara Timur (N T T ). most villagers emphasized to me that “only believing in prayers” does not protect them from sickness or harm. Flores is well known throughout the country for its high percentage (over 90%) o f Catholics.330). and strongly felt identity. entered the region in the 1920s. to the newly created position o f raja or king o f Mang­ garai (Steenbrink 2007. People hold a variety o f attitudes towards Catholic worship and its relationship to older practices categorized as “custom/tradition” (adat ) or. until Indonesian independence. In 2003. one o f the poorest and least urbanized provinces o f eastern Indonesia. 89). this is by no means the case in all rural areas. more colloquially. for much o f the twentieth century.” and in 1929 elevating the leader o f Todo. as a result o f both popu­ lation increase and political tensions. as “chicken speech” (turn manuk). Map by Mina Moshkeri never had a common language or. Today. For the Dutch colonial authorities. it was not the local government that took the central role in development in Manggarai. For example. West and Central Manggarai. there is considerable diversity o f prac­ tice and discourse. because Portuguese influence did not extend to the west o f the island. who achieved nominal sovereignty in 1859. These pow­ ers fought for control over parts o f Manggarai until well into the nineteenth century. under the rule o f the Bupati or district head based in the central town o f Ruteng. throughout my fieldwork. beyond this fun­ damental. it is worth stating at the outset that the majority o f my informants did not see Catholicism as relevant to all areas o f their lives. but rather the workshops. Prior to Dutch sov­ ereignty. However. and that “leaves and grasses” or “village medicine” involving magic are essential to good health.3 W ith the establishment o f their “Ethical Policy” in 1907. Though town dwellers in Ruteng tend to attend church regularly. the majority o f Manggarai inhabitants strongly identify as Catholic. and many people are interested in discussing the life o f Jesus. creating a legacy o f names and sacred objects that continues to this day (Lewis 1988. schools.4 After Indonesian independence. any form o f sociopolitical unity. Though these different attitudes will emerge in the chapters that follow. as with other regions o f Flores. showing key fieldwork locations. most people try to observe Sunday as a day o f rest. clinics. couples marry in church in addition to village-based mar­ riage rituals. Manggarai (the area o f which covers roughly one-third o f Flores) had been the focus o f a struggle between the Makassarese empire o f South Sulawesi and the Sultanate o f Bima on the island o f Sumbawa. A Portuguese Dominican mission was established in the sixteenth century in Larantuka. itself the poorest national region (Barlow and Hardjono 1996. each with its own Bupati. in part to control the lucrative slave trade from the region. Manggarai became one o f the five districts (kabupaten ) o f Flores. However. West Flores. Whereas Protestantism dominates many other islands in eastern Indone­ sia. the Dutch took a more active interest in and control over Manggarai. or Divine Word Society. The new “capital” o f . the region was split into two districts. Catholicism was not introduced to Manggarai until missionaries o f the Societas Verbi Divini (SVD). and plantations o f the Catholic mission. 12). sending out military patrols in the name o f “pacification.Manggarai. east Flores.

West Manggarai was the port o f Labuanbajo, a town that sees a regular influx o f tourists come to view the famous dragons o f Komodo island. Though tourism, as we shall see, has reached Wae Rebo, it has had little significant economic impact beyond Labuanbajo and the Komodo National Park. The majority o f Manggarai people, like most o f the population o f Flores, continue to be economically dependent on agriculture. In addition to subsistence cul­ tivation o f wet and dry rice, maize, tubers, and vegetables, people increasingly invest their time and resources in cultivating cash crops. These include candlenut, vanilla, cloves, and cacao, though in many areas the most notable cash crop is coffee. A good coffee crop can generate a significant income for farm­ ers, yet most will also save a large quantity o f beans for their own personal use. This is because glasses o f sweet coffee (even when served in “mixed” form with roasted maize) are, in addition to betel quids, the basic requirement o f Manggarai hospitality. My first, coffee-fuelled fieldwork in southern Manggarai was for a period o f twenty months between September 1997 and April 1999. During this time, I lived with a married couple in Wae Rebo whose children were either mar­ ried and living in different villages or away for long periods at school else­ where in the region. I also undertook various journeys to other villages, stay­ ing in Kombo at Easter, Christmas, and times o f important events as well as on my way to and from administrative trips to Ruteng. I returned for a further period o f four months from April to August 2001. This time, I delib­ erately based myself in the lowlands, visiting the school at Lenggos and gain­ ing a better understanding o f the tempo o f life in Kombo. I also paid two week-long visits to Wae Rebo-Kombo in 2005 (with my family) and in 2008 (to attend a death ritual). The ethnography in this book is therefore based on a total period o f about two years’ fieldwork. It will not escape the attention o f readers interested in Indonesia that my first fieldwork dates almost exactly coincided with what is broadly known as the country’s krisis: a period o f environmental, economic, political, and social upheaval that saw extreme weather conditions, the devaluation o f the Indo­ nesian currency, the resignation o f President Suharto from office, and violent incidents in some areas o f the archipelago (see Vel 2001). Though subsequent research has tended, with good reason, to focus on the political repercussions and significance o f this period, it is worth emphasizing the multiple elements o f the crisis, as these were crucial to local responses in southern Manggarai. In 1997, my informants experienced rising prices o f consumer goods simultane­ ously with an unusually prolonged dry season, while in 1998 people connected radio accounts o f demonstrations in Jakarta with news o f church burnings.

This led some Wae Rebo-Kombo residents to recall the past prophecies o f a Dutch priest who had warned them o f the potential for cataclysmic events at the dawn o f the new millennium. W hen local news reached my informants o f a Manggarai man killing his sister over a land dispute, some people asked one another whether these cumulative signs were evidence o f the end o f the world prophesied for the year 2000. Responses to the political krisis in southern Manggarai were many and varied. Some older informants criticized the students demonstrating in Jakarta and linked them with y o u n g people in Manggarai who, on leaving their “big schools,” return to the village with overeducated and overcritical voices. Other, male informants spoke o f Indonesia’s endemic corruption and seemed genuinely excited by the possibility o f political change. A school­ teacher wrote a poem to be read on National Education Day extolling the vir­ tues o f teachers who “serve [d] every day,” even while reformation was “shaking the corners o f the fatherland.” Some spoke o f their fears that, with Suharto out o f office, Indonesia would become an Islamic state and argued (in some cases quite vociferously) for a separate, Christian state in eastern Indonesia. Yet many more informants (particularly women), when asked their opinions regarding the political crisis, would claim ignorance or indifference, or would self-parody their lack o f understanding (cf. Kuipers 2003,181). One woman said it didn’t matter to them, as “village people,” whether the president had changed or not; another self-deprecatingly described herself as a “person who ate leaves” and asked how she was supposed to know what was happening in Jakarta? In this vein, throughout 1998, the language o f “crisis” began to enter into local speech in various humorous ways. Female friends began to refer ironically to large piles o f washing as a “clothes crisis,” or to a lack o f participants at particular events as a “people crisis.” A boy losing a game with friends would be named “Suharto,” while a bossy woman might be called “Mega,” after the opposition politician Megawati Sukarnoputri. My friend Nina enjoyed remarking that, while people in Jakarta were rioting, the only thing she was planning to burn was her new field. The impact o f the crisis for some was thus a heightened sense that, as citizens o f Indonesia, they were first and foremost Christian Indonesians, and that this identity was potentially under threat. However, for many o f my informants, their identification as Indonesian was at best somewhat vague and patchy. None o f them had access to television and to the awareness o f national issues that watching television can bring (cf. Vel 2001,154). Even more important, though rural children begin to learn the national language, Bahasa Indonesia (BI), in primary school, very few o f my informants







spoke Indonesian with any kind o f fluency or regularity. This makes southern Manggarai very different to other areas o f western Flores, most notably the towns o f Ruteng and Labuanbajo, where many children now grow up speak­ ing Indonesian as their first language. In the villages I know well, competence varies widely from person to person, with schoolteachers and those educated beyond primary school the most fluent, but with many elderly people having no understanding o f or interest in the national language. W hen local school­ children are prepared for their first communion by visiting nuns from other regions o f Flores, the latter are often surprised to discover that what they say to the children is met with blank looks and must be translated into Mang­ garai by schoolteachers. The majority o f adults say that they can understand a little Indonesian but that they find it too “heavy” to speak. Indeed, if the Manggarai notion o f the “everyday” emerges through the series o f contrasts outlined above, then one further, significant axis o f difference is that between the Manggarai and Indonesian languages. The national language is not con­ sidered appropriate for use in many contexts, and I have often heard visiting state officials criticized for addressing villagers in Indonesian. During collec­ tive events and village meetings, young men’s overuse o f what is referred to locally as “high Malay” (Melaju tinggi) can also generate considerable con­ flict. My fieldwork has therefore been conducted entirely in the local lan­ guage, and all foreign words in the text (with the exception o f those explicitly labelled as BI or Bahasa Indonesia) are Manggarai.5 In what follows, I have made no attempt to disguise the identity o f the two-placed village o f Wae Rebo-Kombo. As I describe in Chapter 5, the vil­ lage was visited in 1997 by a number o f state officials, as a result o f which my research featured in a number o f articles in the provincial newspaper, Pos Kupang. This fact, together with the uniqueness o f Wae Rebo’s housing and the nature o f social connections and knowledge in Manggarai more generally, makes designating the village with a pseudonym practically impossible. How­ ever, with regard to individual informants, I do frequently use pseudonyms in the text. W hen describing public or positive events, or quoting from life histories where the person has given me explicit consent, I use the shortened names by which people are addressed in daily life. For older informants, this involves following polite forms o f address by attaching a prefix such as Iné (Mother), Amé (Father), or Tanta (Auntie). W hen reporting sensitive orvery personal information, or when I rely on what other informants have told me in the absence o f the person under discussion, I use pseudonyms and change identifying personal details. Certain individuals may therefore appear in the ethnography under two different names. This may make for possible confu­

sion, but ethics in fieldwork and in anthropology is characterized by such contextual decisions rather than by blanket rules. This introduction has outlined some o f the book’s main questions and over­ arching issues with a deliberately light touch. Manggarai people and places are too complex and multifaceted to speak to a single theoretical concern, and more substantive engagements with the literature on human-environment interactions, house societies, travel, agency, and custom (adat) revival in Indonesia will emerge from the ethnography in the chapters that follow. My portrait o f a distinctive and complex landscape, as the reader will see, moves out from the most intimate places o f daily life in a series o f concentric circles. It begins with the smallest places o f significance— household rooms and the everyday movements in and out o f houses— and then gradually extends its focus to longer journeys and larger scales o f place making. Each expansion or resizing reveals different aspects o f the connection between people and place. Chapter i examines sleeping rooms, showing how these are entangled with their occupants’ bodies and souls during key phases in the human life cycle. It shows how rooms emerge as different kinds o f entities at moments o f their own social lives, and how particular rituals create the presence o f the room as an agent. Chapter 2 considers ordinary houses and shows how every­ day activities produce a house as a place o f value through the creation o f “live­ liness.” The chapter argues that the significance o f Manggarai houses cannot be comprehended through an architectural or symbolic approach. Rather, a multisensory approach is needed, one that is sensitive to the permeability o f the house to sounds, smells, livestock, and the movements o f personnel. Chapter 3 considers the characterization o f marriage as a “path.” Based on women’s evocative memories o f their marriage journeys, it shows how such journeys form paths in the landscape, and how travel along physical paths is central to affinal relations. Together, these three chapters show how processes o f kinship and marriage in Manggarai are inseparable from the landscape o f places and pathways. To give analytical priority to either social relations or the material environment would be to fail to understand their mutual consti­ tution in this context. Chapters 4 through 6 investigate larger scales o f entanglement between people and the landscape, and examine the influence o f missionization, state development, resettlement, and migration. Chapter 4 considers the agricul­ tural and forest landscape. It shows how the agricultural cycle structures peo­ ple’s recollections o f the past, and how sacrificial rituals are inseparable from farming, as they are considered to be “what the land wants.” It explains why



Catholicism has had so little influence on ritual procedures and argues that Manggarai conversations with the environment are a specific form o f agricul­ tural animism. Chapter 5 examines the ways in which place is made, not only through everyday activities, but also through more self-conscious discourses and engagements with wider powers. It considers the question o f what makes a setdement a real village and shows both the ritual implications o f resettle­ ment programs and the cultural and political implications o f a state-sponsored house-building project. Chapter 6 describes everyday, extraordinary, and mythical movements within the landscape. It argues that the Manggarai orientation system is one that implies movement towards others and shows how the notion o f “rooting” in place is not opposed to mobility but is what makes safe travel possible. As readers progress through this book, they will see how valued places emerge both through the explicit creation o f presence in ritual performance and through everyday practices and movements that do not have the creation o f place as their explicit goal. In the conclusion, I draw out the book’s argu­ ments about the necessity o f taking “everyday life” seriously, even in this con­ text o f frequent sacrifice and powerful ritual speech. It is through the repeti­ tion o f numerous everyday practices that the landscape gains potency as a source o f memories and a record o f mobility. However, it is through ritual performance that people explicitly create the presence, or utilize the power, o f the landscapes agency. Anthropology may occasionally take for granted the links between place and culture, but for people in southern Manggarai, these are links that must be continually remade, rethought, and recontested.


A Place for Souls

Not only our memories, but the things we have forgotten are “housed.” Our soul is an abode. And by rem em bering “houses” an d “room s” we learn to “ abide” within ourselves.
— Gaston Bachelard, [i</(>4], T he Poetics

of Space,/), xxxvii

Let me invite you, reader, inside a Manggarai house. Hav­ ing entered through the front door, leaving your sandals by the house ladder, follow me through, past the main guest-mats, to a small door curtain. Lift up the curtain and step inside, ducking your head if necessary under the low ceiling. As your eyes adjust to the dim light inside, you will see either that the floor is covered in sleeping mats or that the room is almost completely filled by a wooden bed, over which is hung flowery fabric to keep out mosquitoes. In the room’s wooden chest, you will discover best-quality sarongs as well as smart clothes for church, and perhaps a few old and faded photographs. On the wall, a small shelf may hold a mirror, soap box, oil lamp, and prayer books. If you look more carefully at the bamboo or wooden walls, you will see that combs, hair grips, small knives, and packets o f half-used medicine have been pushed into its cracks and joins. Under the bed, or in a corner, the room offers a living archaeology o f family history: broken flip-flops, empty bottles o f talcum powder, rosaries, school textbooks, old batteries, odd bits o f crockery, old weaving tools, and various plastic bags can all be discovered in nooks and crannies. Clothes are hung from hooks on the walls, and the room may house a sack o f stored rice, candlenut, or coffee. In this chapter I uncover the stories and significance o f these small and modest rooms, the kinds o f places that anthropologists have rarely written about and from which, quite justifiably, they may often be excluded. These dark, musty places— often containing little more than a bed— are arenas for everyday dramas o f sleeping, sex, feeding, and childbirth. As small parts o f

Referred to mostly as lo’ang. and a harbor for souls. satellite villages. Identifying the starting point o f the “life cycle” o f a room is impossible.” so we shall see that at key moments in their “social life” (Appadurai 1986) rooms reach a crisis point after which new dwelling units may be established. Bamboo or wooden walls mark o ff a room. because there are no rooms. Moreover. Such mutual entanglements o f objects and human persons are common in the “exchange” societies o f Indonesia. In round niang houses. hearths are located in a separate building at the back o f the house and are referred to by the Indonesian word for kitchen. and the arrival o f a new bride. since even rooms in newly built houses may be defined as continuous with another. In many instances this is. 9). In older houses. or it may simply be screened o ff from communal areas by a flowery curtain. central hearth. is a very particular kind o f place— both material and immaterial. at other times they are linked with a married couple. As we shall see. Rooms. closeness and separation. pos­ sibly with sleeping platforms (Cunningham 1964. rather. Though connections between families are described and experienced . graves. Moreover. dapur. A bio­ graphical approach to a room as a place that is made and changed by different kinds o f activity helps to avoid an overly static analysis whereby particular parts o f a house are said to be female or male. as household places. such as hearths and posts (Sather 1993. rooms are often extremely small. and glasses for coffee. 40. Here. processes o f kinship and the expansion o f the domestic unit through marriage cannot be separated from these small sections o f a house. many accounts are unclear regarding the exis­ tence o f sleeping rooms or similar areas inside houses. o f course. certain things such as textiles.151). have not featured particularly prominently in the many writings on Southeast Asian houses. declare the two rooms to be. households now live in small houses within compounds (Waterson 1990. This continuity may be made explicit in the rehanging o f ancestral platforms and in ritual speeches that. intimate places. Free­ man described the Iban bilek as both the “living room” o f a long-house family apartment and the term used to refer to the family group that is “the basic unit o f Iban social and economic organisation” (ibid. previously inhabited room. 70-74) or altars (McKinnon 1991. betel bags. In larger rectangular houses. has argued that for the Kodi people o f Sumba. Hoskins (1998). are symbolically and emotionally connected to the hearth (hapo). and pathways. while biographical approaches to “things” have helped to break down the boundary between subjects and objects. the same place. W hile scholars have explored the ritual significance o f different house parts. and spindles should be considered “biographical objects” that tell the stories o f individual lives and are central to projects o f selfhood. particularly the set o f three hearthstones used by each household. My imposed point o f departure is therefore the event that most fundamentally shakes up the composition o f a room— marriage. Rooms do not simply symbolize or tell the story o f human lives. in essence. a symbolic womb. women still tend to use hearthstones in a way that maps the arrangement o f their rooms inside the main part o f the house. for exam­ ple. in front o f or inside which they store utensils. and the differentiation o f symbolically gendered “front” and “back” sections (Forth 1991a. Though at certain times rooms are intensely associated with women. so that rather than being grouped in different rooms. The equivalence o f “room” and “bed” in these small house sections is quite marked. relatively passive and active. 87-93). or with groups o f patrilineally related men. the centrality o f which I am stressing here. plates. in ways that will color many o f their significant contacts with others. a link with ancestral origins. Just as Freeman described the ruptures in membership o f an Iban “apartment-family. Investigating the use and significance o f rooms reveals a good deal about the mutual entangle­ ment o f persons and place in Manggarai. women cook on the hearthstones nearest to their room. simply one main “living” area. though also called kilo in the context o f household organization and molang'm the context o f ancestral origins. rooms are relatively private. as a shelter for intimate activities. Rooms. soci­ eties where a number o f people once lived together in “great houses” may have faced pressures from governments to build single-family houses. 59). and rooms can be created or taken apart rela­ tively easily. However. 8. they can directly influence those lives.l8 : CHAPTER I R OO MS : A PLACE FOR SOULS : 19 houses. I am less concerned with individual biographies than with how the “cultural biography” (Kopytoff 1986) o f a Manggarai sleeping room develops in tandem with the developmental cycle o f domestic groups. However. rooms are key places in a social landscape that includes various kinds o f dwellings. despite material changes. although these hearths are farther away from household rooms. fields. what must be kept in mind is that a room. Rooms are the focal points for individual households within houses shared between an average o f three or four (but sometimes up to eight) house­ holds.. with low ceilings and barely enough room to stretch out to sleep at night. Inside the room o f their birth along with its closely connected hearth. One exception to a lack o f information on rooms is Freemans (1970) work on the Iban o f Borneo. Manggarai rooms and their occupants are entangled in complex ways. The household intimacy o f rooms— in contrast with the more public areas o f the house— is enhanced by their size and shape. most Manggarai children will learn a good deal about brothers and sisters. 45). which have a large.

not o f the ancestors. more mysterious ways. the couple were in fact planning to live in the room in another house o f Stanis’ mother. Kata. One night. This is why the ritual must be held outside the actual room and is the first indication that. The ritual speaker then puts his thumb in the chicken blood and uses it to mark a big toe o f both bride . leaning against the wall o f the room.” This kind o f direct addressing o f place through the use o f a descriptive. and his speech announces the bride’s arrival. but o f the room itself. where life-cycle and agricultural events are marked by a seemingly endless stream o f rituals at which chickens and sometimes pigs or other livestock are sacrificed. floor on which we live. Rober. the wife o f Stanis’ paternal uncle. ancestors may respond by causing sickness in the living. but was told by him that this was not necessary. inside his household room with his family. Two aspects o f this ritual are worth stressing at the outset. as she later told me. is thought to introduce them as such to the household room. Because o f this.10 : CHAPTER I R O O M S : A PL AC E F OR SOULS : 21 in terms o f old or new paths. but also to the room itself.” After the speech. Stanis. he asked his two-year-old son Marcuse to scratch his back for him. means “You seek children. However. The final stage o f this journey is a relatively private evening ritual called “blood on feet” (dara wa’i ). not only to ancestral spirits and to human onlookers. Mark­ ing room membership by marking feet with blood is noteworthy since. Kata asked Rober if a second ‘blood on feet” ritual could be held in her room. so that blood flows into a plate.” People often say that they hold rituals in order to avoid the accusations (babang) and questions— W ho is this ? W hat do they want ? W hy have you forgotten me ?— o f ancestral spirits. and to ask such places to “listen well. or the identity o f new people. about the marriage o f her third son. The ritual speech often includes one particularly well-loved couplet that requests “diarrhea striking calves. After the various stages and rituals o f the mar­ riage process. the lived experience o f marriage involves the gradual entanglement o f a husband and wife (and any eventual children) with their small. she was “scared that the room would accuse. I was told that these place couplets refer both to the place itself and to all the human and nonhuman persons associated with it. Kata feared the accusation. Now this in itself is not so unusual in Manggarai. you by the name o f the room in which we sit.” seems to awaken and demand the attention o f both ancestral spirits and the places with which such spirits are fused. The first is the spilling o f blood. This upset Kata a great deal because. always have their diarrhea falling on your legs. However. blood is connected with rooms and their inhabitants in other. the “blood on feet” ritual was held in Rober’s house. you want to always have babies. However. Ine Kata. dark room. Stanis had what is referred to as a tungku or “joining” marriage (see Chapter 3). In the early hours o f the morning before dawn. the bride moves from her natal home to that o f her husband in an emotionally significant marriage journey called the padong. in certain contexts. with men sitting in formal lines around the edge o f the main guest space. the ritual speaker intoned. in particular. The second important aspect o f this ritual is the fact that it is addressed. “Listen well.” However. residence after marriage tends to be patrilocal. as his bride was following the marriage “path” o f her paternal aunt. rooms are approached and imagined as persons. In view o f this. this ritual is unique in that its name actually refers to blood. W hen not properly informed o f new events. I heard a different side to this rather formidable man as. This action o f putting “blood on feet” signifies that the couple is a new social unit and. where there is a patrilineal emphasis to kinship. W hile most house rituals are conducted in the front part o f the house. and “r oom frien ds ” Sharing a room and a hearth is a source o f much pleasure in Manggarai life. while other guests and family members crowd around. often provoking a crisis in the developmental cycle o f that room. and according to one woman. The personification o f the room as a place also emerges in comments people make about unsatisfactory ritual procedures. The ritual speaker sits near the couple holding a white chicken. praising the boy’s efforts by calling him “my little brother. as we shall see. the throat o f the chicken is cut very carefully with a machete. In Manggarai. I slept in the mountain house o f a renowned healer and coffee farmer. This is seen most explicitly when a man marries and introduces his bride to the room and hearth o f his parents. The relative privacy o f a room means it is a place for massages or confi­ dential conversations. During one “blood on feet” ritual that I attended. stressing the alliance relationship that has been established or renewed and making general requests for fertil­ ity and growth. I once talked with a widow. outside the groom’s family room.” This is a typi­ cal “riddle” o f such speech. “blood on feet” rituals are notable for taking place in a more intimate setting. To speak these couplets in a ritual. sharing a hearth and room can also be the source o f many everyday tensions. paired couplet is common in Manggarai ritual speeches. shit hitting feet. and groom. which introduces the bride to her new room. The bride and groom sit together. where people can relax and let down their guard.

Eti’s husband.” Ine Kata stressed to me that marking the feet with blood was not just an acknowledgment o f a renewed marriage “path” but a sign o f “the beam above.” and perhaps she should cook separately. as she put it. The hearthstone for cooking rice. More often than not. Stanis’ wife’s mother was also said to have been upset that. This situation was precipitated by a row that took place one morning as the older woman cooked cassava on the hearth.1 As already mentioned. and indeed encouraged. either or both o f the women will find cause for complaint. Her mother-in-law responded to this request by snapping that Eti obviously had a “big belly. However. the floor below. as she had chosen the occasion o f a relatively minor disagreement to plant the idea o f a household split. One frequent area o f conflict concerns the inadequate reception o f guests by young brides. they stressed that Eti’s mother-in-law had obviously wanted to eat separately from Eti from the beginning. and I was told that marriage rituals o f the pre-Christian past involved a much more explicit accompanying o f a new couple into the room in the hope that they would have sex. In some cases this does happen. W hat is significant is that any conflicts.1 A brid e a n d g r o o m p o s in g w ith th eir n e w b e d lin en often many practical issues that prevent a couple from sharing this room. so that the groom remains “one saucepan” with his parents. A polite way o f referring to one’s spouse is as one’s “room friend” (hae kilo). there are F i g u r e 1. you have a different hearthstone. Eti.” The ideal domestic arrangement following a marriage is for a new bride to cook together with her mother-in-law (inang). a childless brother o f . A couple who have had sex together before marriage are described as having already “entered the room” (masuk lo’ang). though. W hen you move. rooms and hearthstones are closely connected. One older couple shared many vexed discussions with me about their daughter. This upset Eti a great deal. and women will talk proudly o f hav­ ing “just one saucepan o f vegetables” with their mother-in-law. to have large appetites. Although a new couple should be introduced to the room o f the man’s parents. the new couple may take over the man’s actual natal room. perhaps also drawing on the equivalence o f room and bed. One woman told me that brides cry after they have married. However. the most common disagreements occur in the tense realm o f shared household resources. W hen Eti’s parents discussed this situation. The “blood on feet” ritual demonstrates the ways in which a new hus­ band and wife are connected with a room— a connection that becomes more profound as their marriage progresses and they have children together. the growth o f families can be mapped in terms o f crowded rooms out ofwhich new rooms and houses are established. In many respects.22 : CHAPTER I RO O MS : A PLACE F OR SOULS 2-3 the possible repercussions for her son’s and daughter-in-laws health. Ini­ tial incorporation is thus frequently and necessarily followed by separation. the ritual makes the new couple one with the room in which. and accusing someone o f greediness is extremely rude. who lived in a village to the west and had just started to “eat separately” from her husband’s mother. as Manggarai people are expected.” That is. Stefan. because “They remember this hearthstone. or i f a man’s parents are old and frail. tend to be expressed in terms o f cooking and eating separately. which generally center on the relationship between a woman and her new daughter-in-law ( woté). even in such a case a smooth transmission o f the room from one generation to the next is by no means automatic. eating food cooked over one set o f hearth­ stones. The new couple may set up a new room in the same house while continuing to share a hearthstone with the man’s parents. bounded by its beams and floor. As relations between the two women deteriorated. so Eti asked his mother to increase the amount o f cassava she was cooking so that he could take some with him to the fields. If no young siblings remain in the parental room. was planning to spend the whole day in his garden. they will live and reproduce. her daughter would not be introduced to “the room where she will cook. Another frequent pattern is for two newly married men to build a house together.

preparations were made for the cutting o f the umbilical cord and ritual dec­ laration o f the new arrival. buying rice in the lowlands. an old woman with thick curly hair. the lam bo is pushed up through the floor o f the room and attached to a stick buried in the ground below. which is closely associated with the baby’s health. he banged with the stick on the wall o f O di’s room. As he returned to the main room. their children. O di was already “in the room. the lampek. Hubertus took the meter-long lam bo and went out the door and round to the side o f the house. The storage o f this bamboo blade. Yulin. Young. In this.” as they move away from their home at marriage. turmeric. Odi was nearly in early labor and wished Sisi to come with her to her house. is described as “the sign o f a new birth. was sitting by the fire watching the simmering cassava. with the decline o f parentally arranged marriages and the increase in young couples eloping. Hubertus. However. a renowned healer. they are probably more common today. sharp piece o f bamboo for a blade. to “look at the signs” and gently massage her stomach “to make the labor quick. Girls are “outside people. Although the “blood on feet” ritual that welcomes a new bride seeks to create the pres­ ence o f a room united with its inhabitants. the fifth child o f O di and Talis. more women entered the darkened room and stayed to help. Heavily pregnant. As the newborn baby girl lay on a folded sarong on the floor o f the room. She headed straight to where Sisi. a young father from a house down the hill. After Gita’s birth. and in this case the new baby was emphatically declared to be an “outside person” {ata p ea n g). “D on’t go anywhere.4 O di’s own husband was away. The blade is not stored indefinitely in the room but only for as long as the child is considered a baby. arrived with a length o f thin bamboo. to suggest that.5is one o f the first connections made between a baby and its room. which O di shared with Sita and her family. O di arrived in my neighbors’ back kitchen. and their room. O di later told me that during her labor the blade from the birth o f her previous child. Indeed. it is the remaining part o f the bamboo stick. A number o f older women complained to me that today’s brides prefer to spend the money given to them before their wedding on gold jewelry and clothes rather than investing in new saucepans for use on shared hearthstones.” Fol­ lowing this ritual declaration o f gender. as though making way for her younger sibling. while boys are “inside people” (ata bone) because they remain in their natal home and “receive fields. since he supported Eti. settling back comfortably onto a cushion and roll­ ing himself a large cigarette.” In a wooden or concrete house that is built directly on the ground. Such conflicts also show the very gradual process involved in the development and growth o f a room as a household unit. accept betel quids from friends. However. This blade was used to cut the cord and was then wrapped in a scrap o f cloth and pushed into the bamboo wall o f O di’s room. B I R T H : R O O M S AS W O M B S If marriage often provokes a crisis in the biography o f a room.” or holding her arms in a tight grip from behind. he should eat his meals with her.1 As the old women arrived. other older women gradually arrived in the small house up on the hill. arrived in the house and. offering encouragement for her “lonely war. gave her medicinal ginger. which can be seen from outside the house. he cut two notches to remove a small.” said Anna. There.” from which quiet moans could be heard. Early one February morning in Wae Rebo.” and he assured her that he would be staying. nana. This stick. shouting. These kinds o f conflicts between new brides and mothers-in-law have no doubt always existed. “Maybe it’s better this way. that most obviously links a baby with its room. By the time the baby was born. known as the lambo. and chat in loud voices. To illustrate the links established between a baby and the room o f its birth. the lam bo is rather vaguely connected . Fabianus. Like the lampek blade. “Is it an outside person or an inside person?” This question is asked and answered three times. This led the older woman. the practical difficulties o f sharing intergenerational spaces mean that a new couple may soon seek a room o f their own. the small house was full o f people helping with cooking or waiting to hear the news. W hen I arrived with Sisi’s granddaughters. had fallen out o f the wall. “what could he do to help?” As O di’s labor drew on. unmarried women from nearby houses were helping Sita with vegetable preparation or going to fetch water from the stream. who had been cooking for this widower for many years. child­ birth— literally described as being “in the room” (on e loa n g )—consolidates the physical and metaphysical connections between a married couple. O di called out. after seeing O di in her room. the lam bo will simply be attached to the household’s bed. I will describe the events surrounding the birth in 1998 o f baby Gita. they went behind the bamboo partition into O d i’s room to assess her progress and give advice in hushed tones before coming back into the main area o f the house to drink coffee.” That morning. andjen gok roots’ to eat.24 : CHAPTER I ROOMS: A PLACE FOR SOULS 15 Stefans deceased father spoke harshly with Stefans mother about gossiping to other people regarding her daughter-in-law’s behavior. although people say that this serves the same purpose as a stick underneath a house raised up o ff the ground.

such as the roots given to Odi. As she was in labor. will usually have begun to cook on the main hearth some time before the child is allowed to leave the room. In the hours and days after the birth o f Gita. Indeed. and by making the room a protective place. Postpartum medicines. when the child’s father buries the placenta in the ground near to the room. if healthy.” Women crowded into the room to hold the baby and see Odi. and introducing to it a new couple.” We can therefore see the bamboo lambo. She told me then that she was pulling her lambo into the room every night because she had heard that this bamboo stick had become a recent target for sorcery. In contrast. a little blood from the sacrificed chicken may be used to mark a toe o f the child. not to the room. while men sat on guest-mats in the main part o f the house. a protective and nurturing container. “I don’t hear your new guest” i f the baby wasn’t crying. Talis’ second major task was to make a min­ iature hearth inside a metal bucket. she recalled. and had caused the death o f her baby. has been decided. Carsten 1997. This special hearth is more likely to be made in the chilly highlands than the lowlands. but is used only for warming the room or heating up medicinal liquids. However. and yet these events involve different aspects o f a room. I spent a night with her and her children in their room. come in the Manggarai fashion to greet the village’s “new guest. a baby’s naming ritual comes at the end o f a period o f time in which the household room has been the baby’s only world. The location o f these flat stones marking the placentas o f children acts as a kind o f spatial mnemonic when recounting family histories. fear o f spirits or sorcer­ ers who lurk beneath a house means that on occasion the lambo stick may be moved. Sisi.z6 : CHAPTER I R OO M S : A PLACE F OR SOULS 17 with the child’s health and identity. It is further evidence o f the close association between Mang­ garai rooms and hearths. the full significance o f the lambo is shown a little while after the birth. once described her extended family’s movements between houses by pointing to and listing the places where the placentas o f her grandchildren had been buried. had been down in the lowlands at the time o f Gitas birth. After death. Shortly after my friend Sita gave birth to her fourth baby. she looked down through the gaps in the floor and saw a pair o f strangely glowing eyes. W hen the breaking the stick” ritual occurs. such as the placing o f the lambo stick. and more important. flat rock. but to the com­ munity in general. unnamed babies who die while still confined to their room-womb are not thought to have created the same social relationships (with both living and ancestral kin) as those who are remembered with a kelas. cradled by its mother. to ward off dangerous spirits who come from the undersides o f houses to “sniff” the blood o f childbirth and prevent it from drying up naturally (cf. probably sent by another person. For her. The baby may then not be taken out o f the room until the occa­ sion o f its naming ritual. this was an unequivocally evil spirit. Ine Kris. talking loudly to O di through the wall o f her room and asking after the baby’s health by. his first task was to bury the placenta in a deep hole near to the room. as continuing the function o f the umbilical cord during the baby’s postnatal limbo. O di’s husband. Talis. the old woman who had massaged Odi. The need for such protection is explained by Manggarai views regarding the spiritual vulnerability o f a newborn baby and its mother. Thus. the baby is taken out o f the room into the public part o f the house and introduced.119). while birth procedures involve physical changes to a room. who is no longer considered a “new guest” but a full village member. ashes from the hearth were scattered on top and the site marked with a large. calling up that room as an ances­ tral entity. the same kind o f death ritual held after a miscarriage or stillbirth. described the stillbirth o f her first child. while gathered kin and affines search for its “real name” or “name o f the chicken.” Once this name. which is differ­ ent from the Christian name given to a baby at baptism.6 The lambo keeps the baby safe by anchoring it to its pla­ centa and the ground. O n his return.125. after which the lambo stick is pulled out o f the ground and detached from the room or bed. After burying the placenta. The rather transitory state o f a baby in its room-womb is also revealed in death rituals.7 Once this hole was refilled with earth. remarking. the house received a stream o f visitors. The baby’s mother. they are part o f a series o f . which links the baby to the placenta in the ground below the room. this “baby hearth” consists o f three hearthstones between which the embers o f a fire glow. called “breaking the stick. should a newborn baby die before its umbilical stick has been “broken. for example. The naming ritual itself begins with the cracking o f an egg beneath the supporting posts o f the house. an important event thought to signal the end o f a deceased person’s involvement in worldly affairs.” the ritual held is not a kilas but a sikop. Although they are considered fully human. all Manggarai people o f whatever age should have a ritual called a kelas held in their name. help a mother to regain her strength but also. One woman. Like a normal hearth. Laderman 1983. A “blood on feet” ritual involves huddling around a room. neither O di nor the baby left the room. The baby is then brought out o f its room-womb. How­ ever. This marking echoes that o f the bride and groom during a “blood on feet” ritual. and is used to warm the new baby’s room-womb until the child’s naming ritual. and I once heard a woman describe the marriages o f her adult daughters in terms o f “collecting up their lambo However.

singing songs and telling stories and riddles. emphatically and routinely. while a mother and her daugh­ ters remain in it. I ate dinner in a large house that was home to four households. A room such as that o f O di is directly linked with its children. AND SIBLINGS As more children are born in a room. Janowski and Kerlogue 2007). One o f the strongest criticisms leveled at one young man in the village was that he always slept in the houses o f his gambling friends and rarely returned to sleep in the house o f his parents. because— in a euphe­ mistic reference to sex— he “understands. W hen children are young. W hile much important ethnographic work on the significance o f houses in Southeast Asia concentrates on cooking and eating (Carsten 1997. the boys all dropped o ff to sleep. After a while. and emerge from it bleary-eyed in the mornings to demand rice. a father will join his sons on these outer mats. such as those o f a grandmother or o f unmarried aunts. This gradual development. boys as they grow older will gradually move to sleep on the house’s guest mats (lutur ). so they will also. Bahloul argues that. invite people to sleep in their house. the practice and place o f sleeping is also crucial. Older children (particularly. in the context o f a “strongly patriarchal family. boys) may be encouraged to sleep in other rooms in the house. Just as Manggarai people will always invite casual visitors to stay and eat with them. various young boys from the house’s various rooms lay down together on mats in the wide house corridor. provides a strong contrast to Bahloul’s evocative descrip­ tions o f the “peregrinations o f female bedding” in colonial Algeria. As children grow older. to a place occupied by unmarried young women and their mother. they always sleep in the household room with their mother and father. “Sleep here tonight. As the adults sat talking.” a stationary bed . This is the case even when they spend much o f their time with other children living in their shared house. hide things in its walls. a reflection o f transformations in the room’s developmental cycle. Significantly. once a family’s last child has been born. In everyday circumstances one should always return to one’s house and room to sleep.2 Naming a new baby ordinary practices linking rooms and their inhabitants and do not involve the personification o f the room. despite being valued as an expression o f intimacy.” In general. One woman told me that her six-year-old son had begun to sleep in the room o f his grandmother in their shared house rather than with her and her husband. Especially when visiting a house at twilight. they picked their children up from this small huddle o f bodies and carried them into their individual rooms. particularly after someone has been ill or when other house members are away. some covered with sarongs but others still in their school uniforms. or its awakening as a powerful ancestral place. though. the pattern is that while girls continue to sleep in the household room o f their parents. people do enjoy sleeping in the rooms o f friends or extended family mem­ bers.” to a place connected with young children. and eventually. EATING. sleep­ ing in rooms other than one’s own is a rarity. a per­ son rising to return home will often be told. One evening in Kombo. this intimate routine o f the whole family sleep­ ing together in one room begins to change. it gradually changes from a place associated with a married couple as “room friends. but not exclu­ sively. SLEEPING. who fall asleep on its woven mats or bed.28 : CHAPTER I R OO MS : A PL AC E FOR SOULS 29 F ig u r e 1. However.” Certainly. later that evening when the adults o f the house were retiring to bed. Eventually. whereby boys and men sleep away from their room.

but what I am particularly interested in here is the role played by rooms in the remembering and reac­ . moreover.” Since. relations among male “siblings” are extremely important. though. In Boon’s terms. Yet. fellow household members will “call their soul” (benta dewa) at mealtimes with a cry o f “Com e and eat!” One woman. people cook rice (the main foodstuff) for those they share a room with. “Ah. Sleeping is perhaps the predominant activity that takes place in rooms. SIBLINGSHIP AND ORIGINS These gradual processes whereby. a man and a woman can be considered siblings.30 : CHAPTER I RO O M S : A PL AC E F OR SOULS 31 “corresponds to power within the family. young women can continue to sleep with their mother in her room. ideas about propriety mean that whereas young men can sleep in the more public areas o f the house. The key aspect o f this term— as Forth has argued for the similar term kaeazi among the Nagé o f Flores— is that it denotes “a variety o f relationships that contrast with affinity” (1998.” while the temporary and movable nature o f young women’s beds demonstrates their “weakness and submis­ sion” (1996. young women should not. or the children or grandchildren o f a brother or sister. In contrast.” Poignant memories o f house­ hold commensality mean that when a person is working or studying away from home. Groups o f such men (for example.” for theirs is a relationship framed by potential affinity. or groups o f sisters— tend to eat together. described how after her mother died her maternal kin were keen for her to go and live with them. W ithin a multifam­ ily house.” The female grandchildren o f two brothers or the male grandchildren o f a group o f sisters are all “siblings.” she said. though not organized entirely by descent.” and his younger “brothers” and their wives as “younger sibling. For example. huddled near the hearth. This is not to say. There is much to be said about the day-to-day significance o f these relationships. as children grow. in general. the male grandchildren o f a male ancestor) should work together to conduct rituals for common ances­ tors and are expected to contribute jointly to funds and food supplies for one another’s alliance and other ritual events. various families in Wae ReboKombo who do not share (or have forgotten the nature of) a genealogical link also consider themselves “siblings” because they are “people who speak together” at alliance events. women— particularly mothers and daughters. I now turn to an examination o f siblingship. she declined their requests and chose instead to take her mother’s place as the provider o f cooked food for her natal room.” However. By contrast. spooning rice and vegetables from shared plates. she chose to express her desire to remain with her father and cook for him and her younger sib­ lings by informing her mother’s kin that she didn’t know “how to cook in a stranger’s room. However.” To explore these apparently para­ doxical issues o f closeness to and separation from the natal room. Hence. Lome. whereupon they both happily started to eat. I once saw a woman solve the problem o f her two small nephews not eating their lunch by unceremoniously plonking their food onto one. I translate it here as “siblings. who is married to Frans. I have explained how at birth male children are described as “inside people” and female children as “outside people. Tellingly for the concerns o f this chapter. although the terminology o f siblingship differentiates between brothers and sisters. though dishes o f vegetables may be shared between households. 219). so too do eating arrangements stress gendered aspects o f closeness to or separation from one’s room and siblings. land and other forms o f wealth such as buffalo are inher­ ited by sons from their fathers. 34).” In addition.” though people sometimes translate it using the Indonesian word keluarga (family). refers to Frans’s older “brothers” and their wives as “older sibling. they also move away from their mother s plate and begin to eat sitting with their father. a brother and sister. Small children are encouraged to eat together in order to learn to share with their siblings. can never be “siblings. just as sleeping arrangements reveal a gradual process whereby boys and men must move away from their family room. that feeding and eating are not also important in strengthening ties to the room and its associated hearth. Moreover. Although household members should eat together at the same time. shared plate. Berta. However. involves a marked emphasis on patrilineality and ties between male siblings.311). in Manggarai. while at a certain age this becomes inappropriate for boys. a room and hearth become more associated with a mother and her daughters are intriguing. it does not dif­ ferentiate between a group o f same-sex siblings and their spouses. Under these conditions. we can say that the “parallel” tie between brothers and brothers (which includes their in-married spouses) indicates the “absence” o f gender (1990. men are served their individual plates o f rice and vegetables by women and tend to eat them either sitting on woven mats in the kitchen or on the guest mats in the main room o f the house. though still a child. as Manggarai kinship. Great importance is also attached to the whole household eating together at the same time. As boys grow. “they don’t want to eat alone. The Manggarai term ahé-kae when literally translated means “younger same-sex sibling— older same-sex sibling.

there is some sense in which their ideal sibling unity can only be re-created in ritual form. along the ‘ path” o f his fathers brothers wife (Meri’s paternal aunt). clan branch. and instead (despite the extra expense that this involved) preferred to have his marriage with Meri classified as a new connection (sangkang). W ith “blood on feet” rituals. Tomas. the platform may be decorated with small candles and described as an “altar” before being hung outside the room o f the ancestor being praised. Ben.3Z : CHAPTER I RO O MS : A PLACE F OR SOULS 33 tivation o f connections between male ‘ siblings. Although varying slightly according to whether they concern an individual family. but unlike the ritual events connected with birth. this older woman’s son. not in the main part o f the house.131. 42. in reality such connections are often a source o f tension and difficulty. These platforms. these rituals are a way o f continuing to ensure the beneficent presence and interest o f ancestral spirits in a room o f origin.” many men. the results are often traumatic. these rituals create the presence o f a room as an ancestral entity. This is particularly evident in a group o f rituals known as morn that are held to praise specific ancestors. After the ritual speech. despite this for­ mal attempt to reestablish the unity o f the origin room. W hat is significant in Manggarai is that this remembrance occurs through reestab­ lishing the unity o f male “siblings” in their origin room. as a group o f brothers grow up and have children and grandchildren. Fox 1996). the ritual is followed by a meal in which the family eats in the company o f both living members and ancestors. Failure to refresh the plates in this manner is thought to invoke the wrath o f the ancestors. it is part o f an ongoing pro­ cess through which “siblings” become detached from. the crucial fact about “praising” rituals is that. a chicken and a white goat will be sacrificed. Tomas chose not to recognize this connection. a room as the central place o f family intimacy. told me that his marriage with his wife. However. W hen in daily life sibling relationships become strained. he simply imposed the fine o f a chicken on each man. and health. and are then reinte­ grated with. Eventually. and placed on a platform made from woven sugar-palm fronds. Keen to prevent a confrontation between male siblings. This con­ cern with remembering origins has been stressed in studies o f many Austronesian societies (Parmentier 1987. Like “blood on feet” rituals. However. given the choice. Fox 1996. could have been classified as a socially preferable tungku or “joining” marriage. Moreover. or village. Significantly. and would thus withhold the blessings that are necessary for growth. as in many eastern Indonesian societies. offer thanks for such growth and stress its origins in a particular room. even in the context o f apparently “given” relation­ . in contrast. like “blood on feet” rituals. and married sisters {woe) who have been called to attend the ritual are asked to place money on it. are described as the “plates” o f the ancestors. In a syncretic adap­ tation. Despite the ideology o f close ties between male “siblings. Moreover. mixed with cooked rice. this is because a particular kind o f hierarchy is implicated in relationships among “siblings. Indeed.” In Mang­ garai. In part. However.5-6. although the ideal form o f male siblingship may be one o f mutual respect and cooperative closeness. opt to avoid the obligations o f siblingship. growth. most people subse­ quently regarded this relationship as “broken” {bike). since the unity o f a room is closely connected with the hearth. a new couple is introduced to their room and a request is made for children. W ing feathers o f chickens or ears o f sacrificed livestock are also attached to this platform. For example. but directly outside the relevant room. they are held. one man. through “rinsing” the plates o f the ancestors and leaving physical signs o f remembrance. all such “praising” rituals center on acknowledging and remembering origins through a return to an ancestral room. A t a relatively simple “praising” ritual held by a group o f brothers to praise their deceased father. an older male “sibling” (and his descendants) has certain rights— mostly o f a ceremonial and ritual nature— which reflect what ethnographers have called his “precedence” in time and space (Reuter 1992. who would feel forgotten. instructing them to bring these chickens to a joint occasion where they would be cooked and eaten by the two fami­ lies. Moreover. despite their connection as “siblings” (the male children o f brothers). and thereby to ensure the ongoing health and wealth o f current and future descendants.). which remain hanging outside a room long after the “praising” ritual has taken place. this fine attempted to reconcile differences by symbolically re-creating the original hearth-room out o f which the “siblings” came and through which their descendants were connected. some o f the meat from these animals is taken. Throughout Manggarai. W hat this example shows is that. Sakai 1997. the political leader o f the community (tua golo) intervened in the dispute. In order to avoid involving himself with Ben any more than was necessary. who are presented with a meat and rice offering known as helang. clan origin stories frequently concern violent struggles between an older and a younger brother. the sons o f two original brothers. which are “rinsed” by the ritual. Meri. One notorious case in Kombo concerned two young men whose argument over the control o f water flowing into a wet-rice field escalated to involve their respective fathers. was a somewhat arrogant and argumentative man whom Tomas tried to avoid. Although this re-created unity is only temporary. Prais­ ing” rituals. “Praising” rituals are the third example I have considered o f rituals con­ nected with a household room.

a relationship with rather “matey” connotations. and comparing weaving designs. Boon 1990. which is structurally significant but marked by hierarchy and tension. as when fathers praise their young sons by calling them keha (brother-inlaw). Carsten 199s). and he’ll be in on things when you look for a wife. there are also some obligations that matrilineally related kin are expected to fulfill for one another.8 By contrast with male siblingship. Moreover. For example. W hen the teacher visited this man.” she said. a “blood on feet” ritual usually welcomes a new bride to the room o f her groom’s father. I saw a woman telling her son to be gentle with the son o f her younger sister. although Malays on the island o f Langkawi consider blood and bodily substance to be partly derived from procre­ ation and birth. In the case o f unmar­ ried female “siblings. Although infant boys may be declared “inside people. everyday activities o f sleeping and eat­ ing obscure this view o f an ancestral. From an early position o f shared childhood intimacy. “Play well with him. she gave him a gift o f a sarong and some money in order to declare herself his child. female children o f sis­ ters are also encouraged to be close when they meet. relationships structured by female siblingship are by no means structurally insignificant. For exam­ ple.Such everyday connections tend not to have been analyzed in work on eastern Indonesian societies where. because she “knew her father. this is often expressed in rather demonstrative joking. Thus. W hen married female “sib­ lings” meet.” the .CHAPTER I R OO M S : A PLACE F O R SOULS 35 ships. I was told the story o f a high-status woman. young female “siblings” move between one another’s rooms with ease. Her mother eventually confided that the teacher’s “real” father was not her (the mother’s) husband but a poor villager.” However. However. largely being dictated by events in their natal family they are required to attend as “married daughters and sisters” (woe). place. “he’s your sibling.” since they “joked together. practicing hymns. there is little adoption or fostering.” calling one another “sister-in-law” seems to be an ironic reference to future affinal relationships that. by contrast with even some eastern Indonesian societies (McWilliam zooz. as “not knowing your father. A t first sight. although a womans unmarried sisters will often visit her for the birth o f her children or to help with harvesting. As I have shown. patrilineal room and suggest a more complex gendering o f connection to. at one event. After this. after the Indonesian politi­ cian Megawati Sukarnoputri.” in particular. they will often jokingly refer to one another as weta (the term by which a man refers to his sister) or ipar (meaning “sister-in-law”). However. relationships among female ahe-kae are characterized by a certain amount o f freedom and equality. Errington 1989. the origin point for a group o f male siblings. there are still areas o f choice regarding which aspects o f such relation­ ships to play up or emphasize. as Carsten has noted. the sons o f her other mar­ ried sisters are expected to make a contribution (“be in on things”) towards the bride-price. even by childless couples. my Manggarai informants told me many stories that emphasized the importance o f speaking the truth about a child’s biological parentage. may not always be so easygoing.” as they grow older they become nocturnal “outsiders. there has been a preoccupation with the ritually elaborated difference between older and younger brothers in terms o f “precedence. they will try to impress on their children the importance o f these maternal connections. Manggarai understandings o f relatedness could not appear to be more different. W ithin a house occupied by the extended family o f a group o f brothers. W hen a woman’s son marries. During 1998. as we have seen with regard to the practicalities o f marriage. as we have seen. As with sisterly relation­ ships in one house. brothers and sisters grow to have rather different connections to the room o f their birth.” and their household room becomes dominated by the possessions and activities o f their sisters. contact between them becomes more irregular. while a “praising” ritual presents a room as indisputably patrilineal. female “siblings” see one another less frequently. 177). they see them as equally affected by the processes o f sharing involved in house life. Their relationships are intense. For example. After marriage. Moreover. as well as contributing “dirty money” for the purchase o f cigarettes and palm wine from the bride’s family. and as they prepare vegetables or cook rice together. a teacher.” Although exempt from such monetary contributions. Carsten (1997) has stressed how. Such joking is common among certain close kin. who experienced continual ill-health. and separation from. borrowing combs and hair-clips. which involves a woman’s moving away from her natal home.49). paying attention to the significance o f everyday activities in houses tends to bring women and children to the forefront o f our analytic attention (2004. Once all the sisters are married. perhaps because they carry less organizational weight. This is a context where people are members o f groups ideally related through patrilineal descent and where. two younger sisters continually referred to their older sister as Mega. Nina said it was obvious that her and her mother’s sister’s daughters were “siblings.” The connections I am delineating here between siblingship and house­ hold places and activities resonate with work on houses and siblingship among the cognatic societies o f Southeast Asia (Headley 1987. could have physical and spiritual effects. rooms as ancestrally significant places are central to processes that stress patrilineal kinship. as men­ tioned.

as rooms .199). Therefore. place. are acknowledged as influences on ties o f relatedness. We have seen how both the ritual to welcome a new bride to a room and the naming ritual for a newborn infant involve marking feet with blood. to which I now turn. as “sticks which over­ lap together. and relationship. Although Manggarai people value the intimacy and closeness established by feeding at the same hearth or breast. Nevertheless. telling this kind o f story. N o specific reason for this practice was given to me other than a general fear o f other people getting hold o f such hair and using it against a woman in magical practices. it is the fate (and blood) attached to a room that threatens to render it “incompatible” (toé cocok) with later inhabitants. in Mang­ garai. when Lusi was due to give birth to her first child. known in southern Manggarai as Tinus’ “mother-father” (in é-am é ). although breast-feeding the babies o f other women is a common. and the practice o f keeping the bam­ boo blade used to cut the umbilical cord in the wall o f the room. blood from sacrificed chickens not only communicates with ancestral spirits but also marks a place identity on people. Although all sacrificial rituals involve the spilling o f blood.9This bears similarities to the treatment o f babies born at the same time. In particular.1 1 Hiding hair in the wall o f a room keeps it safe. such feeding threatens to destroy the separation that must occur in order for normal growth to take place. The first example concerns a woman. not by statements about how those who eat together become kin. in the context o f room rituals. Instead. W hen the separation and not the similarity or closeness o f siblings is required. because o f a lack o f difference between them. The deaths o f these women were rumored to be because o f the “bad magic” that Tinus had been practicing. their unborn babies would be sure to ask o f one another “Where is yours? Where is mine?” and. It is hard to imagine Carsten’s Langkawi villagers. eating together takes on con­ notations o f incest and is “forbidden. especially through the ways in which traumatic events are thought to infect the blood o f later generations. positively valued practice in Manggarai.” For example. The term “body-blood” (dara-weki) is sometimes used to refer to “luck. This. but by rules about who may not eat together. who in the late 1970s became the third wife o f a man I shall call Tinus. In the case o f “overlapping sticks. even in Manggarai. blood is connected to ideas about fate and destiny.” However. who are known. blood has not only physical but also important metaphysical aspects. is one o f a number o f practices that promote the entanglement o f rooms and human persons. However. in cases where persons are already extraordinarily linked by time. she was moved to another room in their shared house. I was often scolded by female friends for “throwing away” the hair from my comb and noticed that most women would wind up comb hair into a little ball and push this into a crack in the wall o f their room. Both o f Tinus’ previous wives had died after only a very short time in Wae Rebo. “bodyblood” also refers to “fate” or “destiny. the male healer who was overseeing Lusi’s care made sure that she did not labor and give birth in Tinus’ room.” as the blood that links the generations may sometimes carry a kind o f bad karma. the babies might not both sur­ vive. A N D S O U L S The description o f two babies born at the same time as “sticks that over­ lap together” reminds us o f the significance o f the stick that connects a room with an infant’s buried placenta. and in particular shared food. In particu­ lar. Thus. two sisters (including classificatory sisters) who are pregnant at the same time may not eat from the same plate. certain efforts were made to protect her from the “unripe blood” o f Tinus’ two deceased wives. can become so closely associated with a room that the room itself may threaten to “infect” later occupants. Kari Telle has persuasively examined how the concept o f “compatibility” or o f a good “fit” (rasi ) informs person-house relationships among the Sasak (1007. Since women who marry into a village are often (in a process called “find­ ing a mother-father”) encouraged to call their husband’s wife-giving affines B L O O D . reveal more profound understandings about the connections between rooms and bodies. residence and locality. or ancestors.” as when a person who walks through the forest without encountering rain is said to have had “good body-blood. In Manggarai. For example. However.36 : CHAPTER I R O O M S : A PL AC E FOR SOULS 37 teacher’s health problems disappeared. in reference to their respective lambo. This room belonged to the natal kin o f Tinus’ own mother. This is revealed.1 0 are protective places for bodies. This is particularly the case with the “green/unripe blood” (dara ta’a) caused by a “green/unripe death” [mata ta’a). ideas about blood. Two examples will show how “green blood” can be transmitted to others both through bodily inheritance and through association with a room.” there is a fear that breast-feeding by the other’s mother might insufficiently mark out the baby as an independent being. F AT E. Lusi. these are the only two that physically mark human bodies with that blood. W hat is crucial for my argument here is that the bad blood o f a room’s previous inhabitants. for whom adopting and feeding children gradually involves sharing substance with them.” Such babies may not be breast-fed by one another’s mothers. One informant told me that if they did so.

a number o f older men moved to the doorway o f the house. I was told that it is “body siblings” who make young babies laugh. an alternative. and household rooms. People generally refer to human souls using either the Manggarai term wakar or the Indonesian term dewa. she was finally unable. They are associated with the nape o f the neck and explain why people will sometimes say that you should not sleep with anything hanging near your head. Lusi. and fate are also dem­ onstrated in what people say about a category o f guardian spirits commonly referred to as “body siblings” (ahe-kae weki). but not into the room. and moreover looks exactly like your human spouse. sickness. It is as though cer­ tain kinds o f blood literally seep into the fabric o f a room. an event on which everyone familiar with the family history commented.” or “spirit o f the nape o f the neck. Carsten. sharing intimate places. These connections between individuals. people said. The examples I have considered both demonstrate how the “unripe blood” o f an early or sudden death can infect the fate o f humans. One woman. too much “soul wander­ ing” causes sickness in the living. W hen I asked about this later. Many people told me that your “body sibling” is the opposite sex from you.1 3and who can be called on to remove grit from your eye if no one else is around. And while ritual precautions can be taken to dissociate a person from the fate embodied in a room. Through this temporary move. the door was tightly shut.” As this ritual is the one at which a room ceases to act as a second womb to a child. However.11 Others said. Indeed. it is significant that this only becomes potent or dangerous when attached to a specific room. a revealing dimension o f these spirits is that they are often spoken o f as a kind o f spiritual spouse. a boy. As mentioned. but more precisely— since Lusi did not inherit blood from Tinus’ previous wives. three things are clear from what Manggarai people say: the first is that it is easy for souls to become detached from bodies. partly through descent. The second example occurred during my fieldwork in 1998 before the “blood on feet” ritual for Mus and his new bride. souls are thought to occasionally wander away from their bodies. if a person suffers a long or inexplicable illness. and in particular is changed by the consumption o f maternal milk and rice meals (1997.” since Mus was the only male child o f his generation. has demonstrated how “blood” as a substance has a fluid quality. intimate place was sought in order to protect the woman from the “unripe blood” and uncertain fate connected with her households actual room. people say that this is why we sometimes see other people— both the living and the dead— in dreams. told me that your soul is the same as your “guard­ ian angel. but by the room with which the malev­ olent potency o f bad blood is entangled. W hen I visited Wae Rebo briefly in 1008. nor Imel from Mus’ grandfather— through association with rooms as places. ideas about body siblings are also merged with notions o f a per­ son’s soul or spirit and reveal intriguing connections between souls. but the essential idea o f a com­ forting companion remains.” or else are closely connected to them. where they crouched somewhat secretively. that it was to prevent the continuation o f a “lack” o f male descendants and to ensure that Mus and Imel would be able to produce male children. Imel. However. Before the room ritual commenced. as this obstructs the “spirit o f the nape o f your neck.38 : CHAPTER I R O O M S : A PL ACE FOR SOULS 39 “mother” and “father. not by every­ day house activities such as eating. the second is that souls or spirits continue to exist after death. revealing an idealized image o f close kin who protect and comfort us. I was told that it related to Mus’ grandfather. a ritual will often be held to “collect up their soul” (bilir . these are risky and uncertain. Meren. W hile “unripe blood” might appear to have an agency o f its own. The “unripe blood” spilt in that murder was thought to have infected the fate o f his family afterwards. However. to escape her fate. Here. the ritual was held in the doorway o f the house: the murderous ancestor could be invited there. In Manggarai. malaikat). and in particu­ lar was deemed responsible for the family’s subsequent “lack. blood as a substance linked with fate can be shaped.117).” moving the woman to this room was rather like allow­ ing her back into the safety o f her natal room. more specifically. Crucially. Some people said that the ritual with the gray chicken was performed to stop or impede the “unripe blood” o f this ancestral event and prevent it from infecting Mus and Imel’s room. who many years before had killed another man and been deported to a prison on Sumba. though they are also known by other names. they sacrificed a gray chicken before firmly shutting the door and gathering near Mus’ room for the “blood on feet” ritual. in her work on Malay kinship. rooms.” and is connected with a person’s ancestral name— the very “name o f the chicken” that is given to a baby at the ritual to “break the stick. it would appear that body siblings or souls are further linked in complex ways with rooms as protective. Indeed. Imel had given birth to her second child. is produced by food. intimate places.” Many people now talk o f these spirits as beings like Christian angels (BI. though I have also heard “souls” talked about in terms o f “breath” inai) . and the third is that souls are either the same thing as “body siblings. This is why.Though talk o f souls is ambigu­ ous and unsystematic. and once the sacrifice was made. died while these children were still young. Ideas about such “body siblings” draw on the association between siblings and the family room. who bore Tinus five children.

blood. The death o f one young child was linked to her parents’ neglect o f the ritual and other obligations involved in “sibling” relationships. has stressed how “houses” in such places as Southeast Asia combine material and immaterial aspects (1983. Similarly. but are an ongoing dynamic in a room-household’s developmental cycle. the night before any major communal ritual. as a kind o f “house” in Lévi-Strauss’ sense. in his writings on house-based societies (or societies-withhouses). Children will be woken up and the whole household will sit next to their room for the duration o f the speech. this is shown elsewhere by his use o f the terminology o f “fetishism” to describe Indonesian houses (1987. it is not individuals who act as jural entities or “corporate bodies” but particular kinship groupings. Lévi-Strauss employs an idea with a long pedigree in kinship theory. This is why. As seen from the perspective o f a “praising” ritual. smaller rituals to “collect together souls and spirits” will be held in front o f aJl the occupied rooms o f a house. rooms are materially changed by these cycles. Moreover. talk about soul wandering and forgetting body siblings can also be a way to express criticism o f people who do not act correctly towards their kin. If we take a room as a place cen­ tral to personhood and marriage. a ten-year-old boy. in certain societies. and calling upon the protective agency o f a room. with siblings. the personhood o f houses is o f a purely corporate nature. since forget­ ting such a body sibling can cause confusion and illness (often expressed as senseless wandering). to an origin point for male “siblings. and can be the place to call back wander­ ing souls. and new brides bring into them new bed linen blessed with holy water during their church wedding. kept playing truant from school.” In several important respects. a R O O M S AS A G E N T S In focusing on the developmental cycle o f Manggarai house rooms. However. then the combination o f material and immaterial aspects is striking. and under what kinds o f conditions? Lévi-Strauss states that a “house” can be considered to be a personnemorale. Lévi-Strauss. For Lévi-Strauss. properly placed and fully knowledgeable o f kinship connections. In southern Manggarai. These are the very rela­ tionships connected with his room.155). has he forgot­ ten something in his room?” The implication o f such a question is that a man may have neglected certain key relationships and connections. the boundaries between people and place are blurred in such a way that a room can transfer blood from person to person. this neglect was voiced in terms o f the child “not knowing her own room. as seen from the perspective o f a “ blood on feet” ritual. Indeed. then. remembering. Although these rituals are conducted at night. I have stated that both rituals. the safe birth o f babies. to a dressing and sleeping place for female kin. In using this phrase. then.” To correct the problem. ancestral platforms are “rinsed” and rehung. whether with his wife. and they may transmit the dangerous fates associ­ ated with unripe. or violently spilt. we have seen how these small places shift through time. some people say that one should hold an annual ritual to “feed” or “praise” these spirits. one person asked “A i.155) in the room. the elder told Edy’s father to sacrifice a chicken for this guardian spirit near to the boy’s room. usually translated as “a corporate body” (1983. and comments made by ritual participants.174). in addition to focusing on the quotidian activities that take place in and around rooms. to a nurturing place for babies and children. whether lin­ eages (Fortes and Evans-Pritchard 1940) or houses. appear to personify rooms. what kinds o f persons might rooms be. a room is the focus for a married couple and their future chil­ dren. a respected elder told his father that the boys wanderings were caused by a failure to “work together” with his “body sibling. Rooms in their concrete materiality make possible the intimacy o f spouses. Indeed. and agency remains firmly invested in human subjects.CHAPTER I ROOMS: A PLACE FOR SOULS 41 wakar). As the ethnography I have considered in this chapter might lead us to expect.14 Human problems can be addressed by speaking to. A room emerges as a different kind o f place in the context o f both different practices and different tempo­ ral cycles. However. However. as sticks are thrust into them as a sign o f new birth. as well as a tension between relationships o f siblingship and those o f marriage. to “know” and “remember” one’s room is to know one s self. and maintaining them is central to main­ taining good health. married couple. this chapter has also dwelt on the rituals held outside room walls. or even with a deceased parent.” Narrating the social life o f a Manggarai room reveals how rooms have at their core a ten­ sion between the separation and incorporation o f family members. such rituals are always held in front o f a persons room. W hen Edy. can be the abode o f a person’s spirit. they are places to “collect up souls”. W hen one old man became mentally ill and could not stop wandering around. the family room is the focus for a group o f (male) siblings. from a center for a newly . Significandy. Yet rooms also have a signifi­ cant immateriality: they are addressed as unseen persons in rituals. and the co-sleeping o f siblings. This is the idea that. The tensions between these aspects o f relatedness are not resolved or “objectified” (Lévi-Strauss 1987.174). it is considered extremely important that every member o f the household should be awake for the ritual speech.

a room is a material place. whereby the agency o f human subjects is falsely (accord­ ing to a critically distanced observer) imputed to things (cf. I f rooms are able to act to protect their inhabitants it is because rooms too have agency.” an “animate entity” with a “vitality” o f its own (1990. sex. that rooms can act can be seen. I f rooms are dwellings for humans. but that this agency or potency can only be “operationalized” through performance (ibid. A recently married bride may be vulnerable to the fates embodied in a room at any time. and (in their connection with the hearth) eating and feeding. However. as we probe more deeply into these dark and musty places. This kind o f process has been explored by Jon Mitchell (zoo6). Like Waterson’s concern with the implications o f a “living house. Edward Schieffelin has argued that performance is concerned with the “creation o f presence.42. As a lo’ang. Thus. As performances. to describe these aspects o f a room as “life” or “vitality” makes them sound only positive. O n the one hand. social relations. it is the “performance deploy­ ment” o f bodies. However. 392). a room becomes a different kind o f place to that which it may be in the course o f ordinary life. may be formed during con­ struction or ceremonies. connected with the ancestors. or in the way that a room allows bad blood to infect the living. or deliberately “operationalize. dressing. She notes that this vitality may be connected with that o f trees. This gives rooms a significant immateriality that cannot be casually observed. while in the context o f everyday life and o f birth practices. Roxana Waterson describes how many societies o f the region see the house as “living. and not merely during a ritual.115-137). on most occasions when a room is referred to as a molang. things. This is perhaps demonstrated most significantly by the fact that. 194). able to “listen” and to transmit fertility. How­ ever. and they do not involve themselves in all the details o f everyday life. rooms are a focus for everyday actions o f sleeping. However. During such rituals. Unlike Mitchell’s analy­ sis o f Mande masks. and speak to. W hen a tired woman goes to sleep on the mats in her room. they tend to be called lo’ang. certain Manggarai rituals seem to create the presence o f rooms as powerful beings— that is. rooms as powerful agents. she is not thinking about the room’s agency."' In her comparative work on Southeast Asian architecture. as agents— whose emotions and favors may influence the fates o f human persons. on the other hand. rooms are places closely connected with mysterious “body siblings. An ethnography o f rooms begins as an ethnography o f everyday domes­ ticity. in the context o f “blood on feet” or mora rituals. and does not do justice to the ways in which rooms may punish or infect their inhabitants. it does not seem that the agency or potency o f Manggarai rooms can only be “operationalized” through performance.” I want to take seriously local understandings o f what kind o f entity a room might be and to argue that room rituals do not simply treat rooms as i f they were persons but call forth. There are limits to the actions o f rooms as agents. breast-feeding. 398). in the post-ritual health o f children whose souls no longer wander. : CHAPTER I ROO MS : A PL ACE FOR SOULS 43 terminology usually employed with regard to “a kind o f misunderstanding” (Keane x o o 6 . For Mitchell.” and that through these “presences” performances can “alter moods. rooms tend to be called molang. As a molang. In connection with these actions.199). ritual performances held out­ side rooms do call forth the presence. hair combing..” places where ancestors are fed and souls gathered up together. and what he calls “space” that transforms them into subjects (ibid. Nevertheless. who analyzes the emergence o f objectsas-agents in ritual performance. they also carry more mysterious traces o f blood spilt in harmful actions. Nevertheless. or may be connected with the notion o f the house as a body. and o f souls and illness. a room may also be such a place. it becomes an ethnography o f hierarchy among brothers. rooms accumu­ late a distinctive materiality that might be unearthed by a casual visitor. for Manggarai people. .” the agency o f rooms.. it is more than simply a material place: it is an agent. Pietz 1985.14). and indeed people do sometimes use the term in normal conversations to refer to a persons room. he argues that the masks o f the Mande o f western Sudan have a powerful agency. they are also dwellings for various kinds o f spirits. bodily dispositions and states o f mind” (1998. If rooms are connected with the messy business o f family life .



The Permeable House
.. .porousness o f boundaries is essential to place. A place could not gather bodies in the diverse spatiotemporal ways it does without thepermeability ofits own limits.
— Casey 1996, 42

224) but notes that in 1934 the loss o f the larger houses was still “regretted” (ibid., 226).2 Since Indonesian independence, Manggarai housing structures have con­ tinued to be the subject o f various state policies. A t the height o f the New Order regime (1966-1998), local governments in eastern Indonesia waged a strong campaign against traditional, and particularly communal, housing. This campaign, fought in the name o f “sanitation,” has been interpreted as an attack on social and religious systems (Fox 1987,176; Fox 1993,168-169). Graham, for example, describes drives for “modernization” by state officials in eastern Flores in the 1970s whereby new brick houses with windows were relocated close to thoroughfares, while so-called emergency housing made from forest materials was “placed well back out o f sight o f any visiting govern­ ment officials” (1994, 125). In Manggarai, changes in house form have been inevitably linked to the relocation o f mountain villages in the lowlands. My adoptive mother, Ine Anas, told me how as a child she moved from Modo, a mountainside village, to Kakor, laid out along a rough road in the lowlands, because the local government had instructed people to build rectangular “meter houses” with only one family per house.5 Campaigns against traditional housing were particularly effective in Manggarai. W hen Dorothy Pelzer, an American architect, travelled through the region in the 1960s, she was only able to photograph traditional circular houses (mbaru niang) in the villages o f Pongkor and Todo (Waterson 1990, 39). These houses had been allowed to remain because o f the prominent posi­ tion o f these villages in the region (Erb 1998,184), but were in an advanced state o f decay and collapsed soon after Pelzer’s visit. However, having once destroyed “traditional housing,” from the 1980s onward eastern Indonesian governments began to acknowledge the significance o f such structures for marking ethnicity and promoting “cultural tourism,” and therefore began a slow process o f rebuilding. In Ruteng, the main town o f Manggarai, a small, walled niang house with windows, originally built for a local ruler, began elic­ iting donations from tourists and other visitors (Erb 1998,187). Then, from 1991 to 1993, the niang house o f Todo was rebuilt in a project funded by a Swiss development agency and overseen by Polish missionaries (Erb 1999, 17-19). This background is crucial to understanding the significance o f the local governments “discovery,” in the 1990s, ofW ae Rebo’s old niang houses, dwellings that villagers claimed were built between 1947 and 1949. A t a time when Todo had to rebuild its niang house from scratch, Wae Rebo’s isolation appeared to have enabled the unique survival o f this architectural form. After

One o f the earliest accounts o f architecture in Manggarai can be found in a published description o f roof finials and changes in house form by C.N ooteboom (1939), a Dutch administrator who stayed there for eleven months in 1934. Nooteboom outlines two types o f large houses that were once found in Manggarai, “often inhabited by several dozens o f families” (1939, 2.21): an elongated, oval house and a round house.' He noted that in many villages the entire population was housed in one o f these large structures, which were “pitch-dark in broad daylight and always stuffy by the smoke o f the fires and the presence o f so many people.” According to Nooteboom, the house-posts o f these large structures were relatively short, creating a “hotbed o f germs” in the space occupied by “dogs, pigs and children” under­ neath. The occupants o f these houses were consequently “very prone to all kinds o f diseases,” and the continued existence o f these structures was, “from a hygienic point o f view,” untenable. Therefore, despite the “obviously very important objections” that these houses were a “general sanctuary” central to religious ritual and performances, the colonial administration in Manggarai decided to have them all pulled down, so that by the time o f Nooteboom’s stay in 1934 they were “lost as a cultural element.” In their place, the Depart­ ment o f Public Health ordered the construction o f “model houses o f strictly controlled maximum measurements and a maximum number o f occupants,” with taller house-posts and a nearby “model lavatory” (ibid., 222-223). N oot­ eboom describes the preference o f local people for building round houses, seven meters in diameter, since they “fitted much better with the adat” (ibid.,

4 6


C H A P T E R 2.


his official visit to Wae Rebo in 1997, the Bupati o f Manggarai drew up plans to remodel the highland village’s center by dismantling its rectangular clan center or “drum house” and rebuilding it as a large niang structure. As Chap­ ter 5 discusses, this “discovery” also had a more subtle impact on the village by promoting interest in and talk about Wae Rebo’s apparently “authentic” sta­ tus. However, in this chapter I am concerned with ordinary rather than drum houses, and therefore want to stress at the outset the diversity o f housing in Wae Rebo-Kombo. Despite outside interest that focuses on “traditional” architecture, this two-placed village offers a material micro-history o f wider processes o f architectural change in the region, with house styles ranging from circular niang houses, to small huts, to large, rectangular dwellings and new cement buildings. Houses may be constructed from a range o f differ­ ent materials, including woven bamboo, wooden boards, cement blocks, tuak thatch, and metal roof sheets. They may have windows that let in light, or a roof that slopes to the floor and encloses the house in darkness. They may be home to eight different households, each with its own “room” o ff the main house center or corridor, or they may consist o f a single room housing a single household. Yet, as I show in the next section, this material diversity masks commonalities o f everyday use and significance. As Nooteboom commented, the most striking feature o f circular struc­ tures is their high, grass-thatched, “cone-shaped” roof (1939, 2.2.1). In Wae Rebo’s round houses, small holes have been made in these roofs, allowing a limited amount o f light to enter the house and enabling those inside to peer out at the rain or at passersby. These holes are covered with pieces o f plastic and, together with sporadic re-thatching, give the roof a rather patchy appearance. Despite these “windows,” entering a round house nevertheless requires adjusting one’s eyes to the gloom as one dips under the roof and climbs a short, steep ladder to the door. Inside, the most notable feature is the central house-post (hiri bongkok), attached to which is often a bamboo ladder leading up into the main loft area.4W hile the larger circular structures o f the past had multiple hearths (Nooteboom 1939, 212), Wae Rebo’s round houses have one large, central hearth (hapo), with individual sets o f hearthstones for each household/room. Around the edge o f these round houses are between six and eight small household rooms, with a fabric curtain at the entrance offering some privacy (see Figure 2.1). However, even at the time when I began fieldwork in 1997, Wae Rebo contained many more rectangular than round houses. Some o f these rect­ angular houses were small and modest, with “planted” house-posts, walls o f flattened-out bamboo, and thatched roofs. They tended to have only one

2.1 Moshkeri
Fig u r e

Plan of a round (niang) house with a central hearth. Drawing by Mina

or two household rooms, and because they had a central hearth rather than a separate “kitchen” (dapur), were rather similar to the kind o f garden- or “monkey-huts” (hekangkode) dotted in fields around the village. Other rect­ angular houses were more substantial and built on a larger scale, frequently using wooden boards for floors and walls, and sheets o f corrugated metal for the roof. These larger houses were mostly “houses raised up on stones” con­ structed by a paid carpenter. Such houses have a front room (with guest mats) spanning the width o f the house, leading through to a wide corridor between




the permeable house

boarded houses, though it also has a few smaller rectangular dwellings. Although the lowlands lack circular architecture, easier access to different building materials means that they demonstrate an even wider variety o f housing styles than is found in the highlands. Some poorer villagers live in “houses on the ground” with dirt floors while, at the other extreme, Kombo has a few “cement houses” built by its wealthier inhabitants. Nevertheless, these cement houses still have something o f an unfinished air to them, as glass is rarely installed in the “windows,” and the kitchen is invariably a more humble lean-to. By contrast, the cement houses o f schoolteachers, and o f the Sino-Indonesian store- and truck-owner (known as baba) and Muslim fisher­ men on the coast at Dintor, do have glass in their windows and also tend to be decorated, both with colored paint and with posters o f Komodo dragons, religious pictures, calendars, and vases with plastic flowers. These finished and decorated houses make very clear to ordinary villagers the use o f archi­ tecture as a marker o f social status and a form o f “conspicuous consumption” (Thomas 1998).
Fig u r e


Plan of a rectangular house with a back kitchen. Drawing by Mina
T H E E V E R Y D A Y H O U S E : N O I S E , S M O K E , A N D SMEL L S


household rooms (see Figure 2.2). The positioning o f the hearth in a sepa­ rate back kitchen is one o f the major differences between such large rectan­ gular houses and dwellings (including round houses) in which the hearth is located at the center o f the house. The building o f such separate kitchens was actively encouraged by government officials (Erb 1987, 198-100) and mir­ rors the enforced separation o f “living” and “cooking” spaces elsewhere in Indonesia. Waterson has argued that in Tana Toraja, policies that encouraged the building o f a kitchen in a lean-to or separate shed displaced the hearth as the focus o f the household and were disadvantageous for women (1990, 41; cf. Feeley-Harnik 1980,572). However, while women cooking on a cen­ tral hearth are undoubtedly more physically central to the house, I do not find it easy to make such a clear-cut argument regarding the creation o f back kitchens in southern Manggarai. Women themselves stress the considerable practical advantages o f a back door, which means that they do not have to walk through or past crowded guests mats when, for example, they need to fetch more water. Moreover, as we shall see, the existence o f walls does not necessarily imply the division o f social space. Kombo, like most lowland villages, consists mostly o f these larger,

Although I have begun my account with a brief architectural history, I now want to leave this history behind and turn to a more sensory exploration o f Manggarai houses. For, while architectural descriptions and exterior pho­ tographs may reveal something o f the basic form and layout o f these dwell­ ings, they say little about their everyday significance. Far from being orderly, static structures, these dwellings are in fact rather permeable and chaotic. Concentrating on the permeability o f houses shows how, despite varying architectural styles, houses are animated by shared experiences. In focusing on mobility and sensory experience, my account differs from other analyses o f eastern Indonesian houses. For example, in one o f the first anthropological investigations o f house space in the region, Clark Cunning­ ham described the house o f the Atoni o f Timor as a profoundly “ordered” structure, a veritable “model o f the cosmos” (1964, 66). Cunningham noted that from the outside the Atoni house, by sharp contrast with the houses o f the Batak or Toraja peoples elsewhere in Indonesia, did not appear to have particularly spectacular architecture. He focused instead on the ordering o f house-posts and platforms, and on particular rules regarding the use o f space by men and women, outsiders and insiders, arguing that Atoni house space revealed a series o f ranked oppositions. Cunninghams analysis subsequently

Sitting in my “room” writing. W hen encouraging a young child to fall asleep at night. 155). who was quite unperturbed by not being face-to-face with me. Christine Helliwell (1993) makes this point in her eloquent critique o f the separation between “public” and “private” space that informs most analyses . whether because they are in the back kitchen. pounding bits o f mud and leaves with flat stones. People fully exploit this fact and will happily conduct con­ versations with persons whose faces they cannot see. Such studies can be compared with Bourdieu’s (1973) famous analysis o f the Berber house which. people often firmly pat the child’s lower back at exactly the same tempo as a woman pounding rice or coffee in a large wooden container. we actually know very little about the perhaps more mundane significance o f eastern Indonesian houses as dwellings. operate as centers for the movements and activities o f people. The permeability o f the Manggarai house can be initially conveyed by attending to its significance as a soundscape. productive activities and are defined and animated by the rhyth­ mic thud o f women pounding coffee and foodstuffs. the more I learned to enjoy this aural permeability. This necessitates taking seriously. I would find myself having to conduct a conversation with someone in the main part o f the house.50 : CHAPTER 2 the permeable house 51 became a key example used by Lévi-Strauss to demonstrate the apparent “fetishization” found in Indonesian houses (1987. the yard. the seesawing scrape o f men sharpening their machetes.5 Beyond architectural analyses. The longer I stayed in Manggarai. floor plans. I frequently found this aspect o f fieldwork unnerving. Smedal 1994).z). when I stayed in multifamily houses. Young children spend a good deal o f their time in and around the house reproducing these sounds. Here. and the fact that people happily conduct conversations through walls.1 and z. also constructs a distinctly structuralist picture o f divisions o f house space. is actually far less clear-cut. Other people would talk to me as they walked on the path round the outside o f my house or. despite its apparent concern with daily practices. Forth 1991a. or practicing machete sharpening with a spoon. with gendered space being thought to express fundamen­ tal cultural divisions (Kana 1980. Coming from a house culture where rooms are more bounded and private spaces. I want to sketch an ethnographic portrait o f the everyday use o f Manggarai houses. Because most houses are built out o f wood or bamboo. or the shifting contexts o f symbolism. or one o f the inner rooms. not only the ways in which houses. The permeability o f all parts o f the house to sound. Following Cunning­ ham’s initial work. noise travels easily both inside and between houses. symbolic duality has been described for other houses in Sumba and Flores. Domestic dwellings are the focus for noisy. calling out a joke or a greeting to a friend spotted through the house-plank gaps that served as my window.15). Fox 1993. after I had gone to bed in a household room at night. in order to understand how houses (as places o f value) emerge as a by-product o f every­ day activity that “does not have the ‘production o f place’ as such as its avowed goal” (Weiner 2001. but also the multisensory aspects o f houses as busy and productive places. and what people call the tok tok sound that is made as women bang their weaving swords onto textiles on back-strap looms. whatever their size or architectural style. means that the kind o f separation o f space that might be implied by lines drawn to represent walls on a floor plan (such as in Figures 2. with gaps between floorboards and slats in wall panelings.

to the yelping o f dogs who had probably been hit (“That.” More frequently. “Never mind. W hen boys returned from expeditions to collect firewood with piles o f sticks balanced on their heads. This internal permeability o f noise is also matched by the ways in which sounds travel between houses. The permeability that I have described in terms o f the soundscape o f a house and its neighbors also applies to other senses and activities. THE PERMEABLE HOUSE o f Bornean longhouses.” Perhaps because house walls provide such weak sound insulation. However. sleeping. heading o ff to the highlands or lowlands. parents will often send their children to find out who a visitor to a neighboring dwelling might be. These kinds o f verbal exchanges are also connected with the ways in which even very young children move unselfconsciously between houses during the day. usually to be found sitting smoking on his guest-mats. “D on’t go to sleep too early. cooking. during rituals or negotiations. women will periodically listen. walls or parti­ tions may signal the division o f space into areas for different activities— for example. that boy doesn’t stop crying”. One night in Kombo. “Ooh. the sound o f a man’s and woman’s impassioned shouting came from across the road. Although. and will call out.52 . W hen a death occurs in a house. they are rather easier to peer out of.51). it is not only the noise o f cheerful conviviality that carries between houses. so that when sitting on them it is hard to see women cooking on the hearth fires. Manggarai houses are hard to peer into. Similarly. children are fre­ quently sent to a house to find out any bad news. Helliwell argues that the visual representation o f apartment partitions on drawings o f such longhouses belies the permeability o f such apparent boundaries and obscures the significance o f the longhouse as a “community o f voices” (1993. in Manggarai. “Hasn’t Empo Anas gone to dig up some cassava?” Finally. Because children can gather with little comment in the doors o f houses and do not require the kind o f hospitality that needs to be extended to adults. to laughter (“Weee. This sound reverberates through the village. The ways in which sound travels between houses also makes it hard to hide arguments. four-yearold Densi called out to Ame Gaba from the house next door. or quiz a mother on the reasons for her children’s poor night’s sleep. people sitting in houses in Wae Rebo or Kombo will see others walking past. or smoking— but they do not necessarily signal a division o f social space. and drew on the significance o f hospitality and sharing between neighboring houses. after a pause. “Are you going to the north?” or. or when people bring news o f a death in another village. what are you doing?” followed shortly afterwards by a question regarding his wife (her great-aunt). people inside houses would call out to them “Ooh. Both in Wae Rebo and Kombo. then. leave some o f that wood here. One Saturday afternoon in Wae Rebo. guestmats are often placed slightly behind the front wall o f private house rooms. This is one o f the reasons why I find it hard to argue that the moving o f the hearth necessarily results in the social displacement o f women. Houses. These warning calls create a sense o f community that extends beyond the boundaries o f houses as places. I would be chatting with a woman inside her house when she would spy one o f her co-house residents return­ ing home from the fields. to the sounds o f speech coming through bamboo walls. In smaller rectangular houses with an internal hearth. people shout out. are particularly permeable to small chil­ dren. they are nevertheless part o f the audience. and people in other houses listen closely. more jokingly. that’s called the sound o f the village”). this does not mean that such women are not addressed by guests or do not take part in conversations. However. the people I knew were much more likely to maintain a tight-lipped. at night. . would almost continually call out “You’ll fall over soon!” to his eight-year-old son whenever he heard him running out­ side the house. : C H A P T E R 2. she shouted. whose considerable autonomy makes their presence in different houses neither remarkable nor disruptive. Is. As my description o f children’s mobility might lead us to expect. or what someone is buying from a travelling merchant. brother. People will always ask the inhabitants o f a noisy or “lively” (rame) house what they had been laughing about the night before. When angry. Similarly. Certain kinds o f low shouts also serve to notify nearby houses o f a bird o f prey flying over the village on the lookout for chickens or. my adop­ tive family would often comment on the sounds coming from neighboring houses. Occasionally. It!”). “I thought she brought some fish!” Densi’s calls were clearly prompted by her adult relatives in the house. These ranged from the crying o f children (“Ai. that house is really lively”). baskets laden with produce. the women o f that house will set up a kind o f wailing lament known as lorang. shouted arguments are actually extremely rare. frosty silence. Although not in the same part o f the house as the men who are speaking. sometimes intently. As noise is in many ways the animating sign o f a healthy house.” to a house that appears silent in the early evening. trying to interpret the sound and its direction for clues as to which house or woman might be affected. performing small tasks for their parents such as delivering maize cobs or bor­ rowing a coconut grater. having few or no windows. One rather authoritarian father. a suspected civet cat or wild pig near to a house. Occasionally. neighbors will also call out to one another from inside their respective houses. provoking much silent head shaking in my house and whispers o f “D on’t say anything.

the noise o f the young men kept a house “lively. where’s your chicken?” (a marriage alliance gift).” and therefore protective. One elderly woman. so can the house at times become a protective body for all o f its inhabitants.” A t this point I need to introduce the notion o f “liveliness. Just as the exposed parts o f the permeable house— the floor.228). have a certain amount o f visual permeability. “lively. the perme­ ability o f the house to such a powerful smell means that the boundaries o f protection are extended from a persons body outwards to their house.” It also explains why one elderly man was so fond o f his radio. giving the impression early in the morning that the house is quietly smouldering. Strange noises outside a house at night are greeted with alarm. animals. “a little noise in my house. which slide noisily down metal roofs at dawn and continually saunter through houses looking for food. such as sumang. for the people I know. and children can be usefully extended to describe the historical movements o f people between houses. somehow inappropriate. Such undesirable spirit visitors are also kept away by the barking o f dogs and the smell o f protective roots. For instance. People make decisions to move to other dwellings. there was “no fire in her house.” with lots o f participants. AND MULTIPLE CON N EC TION S The notion o f the “permeabilty” o f the house to sounds. hot medicinal roots.” and to chase them away with a cry o f “sikka!” Perhaps more noteworthy is the permeability o f the house to smells: roasting coffee. Both colonial and postcolonial officials were troubled by the health implications o f large hearths at the centers o f traditional Manggarai housing. then. the collapse in a storm o f a building. People mentioned this notion o f “live­ liness” so much to me during fieldwork that I came to take it for granted (see also Allerton 2012). or to build new houses. The sounds o f talk.” This is why young women were often to be found setting up their weaving looms in the house o f Ende Lina. while they spent most o f their time in a remote garden hut. Such calls are part o f the everyday travelling practices crucial to flows o f information between the two village sites. To my English sensibility. one immediately smells this sumang. my Manggarai friends approved o f and encouraged such behavior. Similarly. with its gaps and cracks.” A t times. However. Though liveliness is said to make life “feel delicious.” he said. but most troubling o f all was when she fell ill and. Such living arrangements were troubling to her co-villagers. dilapidated house.54 : CHAPTER 2 T HE P ERMEABLE HOU SE : 55 “Hey. tuning in most evenings even though he was unable to understand any o f the spoken Indonesian. RESIDENCE. However. the noise o f machete sharpening or a weaving sword banging on a loom— these are all part o f what makes a house alive. and preserving both the roof thatch and foodstuffs stored in the loft (cf. McWilliam 2002. according to changing circumstances: for example. having been sent there by their parents to keep her house “lively.” or being ramé. and. in par­ ticular. or open doors or windows at night— occasionally expose the bodies o f its inhabitants to danger. the necessity people saw to make a house lively in this way surprised me. this seemed insensitive. For example. This liveliness is seen as a means o f preventing the spiritual weakness— and its physical mani­ festations. it prevented “too much sadness” from permeating the thoughts o f the inhabitants and their surroundings. or tensions . Although people often complained about the smoke in round houses in particular.” while parents might encourage their son to marry because they need young children in their house again to make it “lively. and perhaps some music and dancing. discouraging mosqui­ toes and other insects. smoke. Indeed. which is central to the everyday significance o f the house. smells. in the eve­ nings following a death.” they said. a fire in the hearth and its resulting smoke are part o f what makes a house lively and lived-in. Houses. The smoke from fires seeps gradually out o f the roofs o f houses and kitchens. an expanding extended family. such as a “lack o f blood”— that too much sadness might cause. as people said. MOBILITY. they also stressed its beneficial qualities: keeping a house warm. Children are often instructed to “go and look out for the chickens in the kitchen. had fallen out with her three unmarried daughters and therefore lived alone in a small. To join someone for a meal in their house is to “make things lively. the juice o f which is usually rubbed over the patient’s back. and people fear shapechanging sorcerers who hide underneath the floor o f raised houses in order to “steal the souls” o f those inside.6 W hen entering a house where someone has been ill. or where there has been a recent birth. Ende Lina. The protective capacities o f human noise are important because the house can also be permeable to unwanted and dangerous figures. perfumed talcum powder. young men would gather in the “house o f sadness” to play cards and gamble. the crying o f children. a good wedding or other ritual is one that is “lively.” it also has important protective qualities. and means that there is nothing insensitive about such visitors cracking jokes or noisily passing round betel quids while the sick person rests. when someone is ill it is important that their house is kept rami by frequent visitors. a kind o f turmeric. They are also highly permeable to animals— particularly dogs— and to chick­ ens. “It’s to make things lively.

” 8Married women’s movements to new villages after marriage also contribute to this landscape o f mobility and mul­ tiple connections. Such “swinging” necessitates. I would often encoun­ ter other visitors.007c).7 A key phrase people use when describing past and future moves.” People thus claim houses as their own by tracing connections o f male or female siblingship. who moved con­ tinually between the two sites. or helping set up a weaving loom. For example. Indeed. links that are impressed on children from a very early age. For the people of Wae Rebo-Kombo. since their sisters and sisters’ children will be able to claim this new house as one o f their “own.” During fieldwork. or connections with other dwellings. the descendants of a man who originated there will describe it as “my own house” and may spend a fair amount of time there. In addition. Fin and her three young children spend most of their time in the original n ian g house of Hubertus’ deceased father. The many ways in which people move among dif­ ferent houses that they claim as their “own” demonstrate the unbounded­ ness of houses as interconnected places in a landscape of mobility. Even if they do not live in this house. In the previous chapter. a glass o f water will be fetched and a woman will dab some onto the forehead o f the child. Unmarried women.” I gradually came to appreciate that people actually call a number of different dwellings “my own house. in ways that I describe in more detail in Chapter 6. for all households. Hubertus. sisters. is down in Kombo working in the wetrice fields. Although Fin and her children always return to their newer house to sleep. referred to the community as “people who swing” (ata jejo n g).56 : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE between different households. and women happily take over cooking or serving coffee when visiting such a house. This is why one unmarried woman. during periods when her husband. Although a number of Wae Rebo-Kombo residents permanently inhabit only one o f these sites. chatting. cooking. People will often refer to the house of their father’s or grandfather’s origin room as their “main house” (m baru pokok). and about connections between different houses. Fin enjoys the com­ pany of her husband’s mother. Here. While this phrase might appear to refer to one’s “home. most members of the community travel more or less regularly between mountains and lowlands. is “my own house” (m baru deru). as well as the rather ad hoc nature of house building and composition.” Unravelling the different ways in which this phrase is used reveals much about historical movements of persons. When a baby or young child visits the house o f one o f its relatives for the first time. the split of the community between two sites brings out even more clearly the permeability of houses to shifting inhabit­ ants. when visiting different houses. who frequently explained their presence by stressing that “really” this was also their “own house. A house may thus have many more potential members than those who eat and sleep in it on a daily basis. absent people still have a place in the house: kin will “call the soul” at mealtimes of children studying in Ruteng or farther afield. in particular. a base . frequently moving to different houses to look after the children o f their brothers (see Allerton 2. I described how the origin room of a group of male siblings is the focus for “praising” rituals celebrating growth and fertil­ ity. and aunt.” This claiming o f place influences daily movements and activities. declaring “this is your house. her daily movements to the “origin house” show that she has more than one house that is her “own. lead multisited lives. the contemporary situation of life in a “two-placed village” has further increased the permeability of houses in Wae Rebo-Kombo to changing inhabitants.

hence the term “monkey-huts. For less frequent travellers. individual house for their wife and children rather than sharing the house o f a parent. one woman told me she was liv­ ing in her garden-hut for a while because it was aman (safe and secure). Following the logic o f the claiming o f houses as one’s own. and then always with an anxious com­ ment that “the monkeys will be all over my field. until the incident had blown over. there is a specific temporality to these movements. sibling. between houses and garden-huts (cf. while the father and older children live in Wae Rebo. this base— particularly for those who travel relatively infre­ quently— may be the house o f parents or siblings. Increasingly. the couple moved to a garden-hut in a remote field. In addition to their movements between houses. mobility between houses may well be reduced. People remember doing things. are changing some aspects o f these easy move­ ments between a nested series o f houses. In particular. From 1999 onward. only occasionally returning to the village for Sunday morning prayers (cf. have already been mentioned. as more expensive houses are built. Some have a house— shared with different house­ holds— in each site. such as machete sharpening and weaving. and you didn’t have to “listen to other people’s talk. H O U S E S AS C E N T E R S : H O S P I T A L I T Y A N D R I T U A L Domestic memory focuses not only on images of places but also on images o f concrete acts. or who have young children attending the lowland school but also sub­ stantial coffee fields in Wae Rebo. men aim to construct a new. owners o f households who maintain gardens in both mountain and lowland sites. concreteness and immediacy.” Similarly. Others are more seasonal. one-room thatched dwellings located in fields and used as a base from which to guard maturing crops from vari­ ous scavengers. However. a number o f young men (both married and unmarried) from Wae Rebo-Kombo and other villages migrated to find work on plantations and building sites in Malaysia. However. During the months in which crops in newly opened highland fields began to flower or bear fruit. had saved money through working felling tim­ ber in the forest and subsequently had a large new house built by a carpenter. Such households split their members between the two sites: for example. The Architecture o f Memory (1996). Its key dimensions are action. 136 There are many activities that take place in or around Manggarai houses. many people slept in their garden-huts continually. The movements o f persons between different houses and to garden-huts are a clear illustration o f Ingold’s definition o f places as “nodes in a matrix o f movement” (1000. Attempts to punish the man were inconclusive. However. Teo. the mother and school-age children will live in Kombo. new forms o f gendered travel. as well as a growing focus on houses as individual property. This was a completely new development in the village. and though Teo’s attempt to charge rent may be a one-off.58 : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE : 59 in both Wae Rebo and Kombo.” There is an interesting parallel between those who inhabit individual rooms within shared houses and those who work gardens (and inhabit garden-huts) within shared fields (lingko). sleeping for a couple o f nights in the house o f a relative is enough. have. 138). These are small. Moreover. made more permanent arrangements. This reflects the growing expense o f carpenter-built houses with metal roofs as opposed to smaller houses built using bamboo walls and thatched roofs. as circumstances arose. or friend. despite these parallels. people also move. — Joelle Bahloul. p.” Garden-huts are also places o f refuge and isolation after more serious disputes. it does suggest that. Some o f these. one man. However. W hen his younger brother married and had a child. there are many differences between life in village houses and life in garden-huts. huts are places to which couples can escape with their children when the pressure o f communal living becomes too great. Dix Grimes 2006. many people assumed that the new family would move into Teo’s house. it emerged that Teo wanted to “use a contract” and to charge his brother rent for occupying his expensive new house. 139). In Wae Rebo. Both groups form a community o f equals not neces­ sarily connected through kinship. and the timing o f ritual events or coopera­ tive work tasks. His brother refused and instead chose to live with the large extended family o f his paternal uncle. including monkeys. as his wife refused to speak about what had happened. either daily or over longer time periods. Dix Grimes zoo6. demonstrating both the greater significance o f rooms in connection with households. 219). such as the post-harvest process o f tying . the Catholic and school calendar. W hat was striking was that many o f these men rationalized their temporary migration in terms o f wanting to save enough money to build their own house. After some minor disagreements with her husband’s parents. people’s move­ ments between houses in Kombo and Wae Rebo reflect the agricultural cycle. where they remained for two months. One Kombo man with a notoriously short temper was once discovered threatening his wife with a machete. Shortly afterwards. and the ad hoc and shifting nature o f house composition.

“D on’t be angry. houses as dwellings may be occupied by a number o f d if­ ferent households/rooms. you don’t have an accompaniment. he would frequently share them with Sita’s family. By contrast. O ne o f the most basic forms o f hospitality is to invite someone into one’s house to talk. These acts o f hospitality are on a continuum with the use o f communal meals as a kind o f payment. a way to be “lively” with others. Sisi?” Though these stories are found extremely humorous. oranges. this man then said. O f course. I also want to consider what makes a house a center. particularly when another household is serving meat or fish. who had once briefly shared his house.” Nevertheless. and gossip. drinking coffee. and (to a lesser extent) coffee. The ritualized uttering o f these phrases o f humility.” will be given cooked rice when their mother is visit­ ing another house. and always enjoy (while claiming to be horrified by) stories about visitors to other villages whose hunger was not recognized and who were not fed. or the spreading o f harvested coffee onto large mats in the yard to dry. Less informally. Chil­ dren. chewing betel. whose inhabitants shift and change through time. acknowledging connections and friendships. However. particularly when one has an unusual vegetable dish or has been lucky enough to get some meat from a wild pig or monkey killed during occasional hunting. with the coffee completely ignored. “Don’t be angry. our veg­ etables are no good. those who live in single-household dwellings will often share with those who trace connections to their house. when visiting an old woman who had once fed him wild pork. I frequently saw coffee go completely cold during a conversation because no one was prepared to drink until requested to do so by the host. the more formalized reception o f guests at alii- . and always (without being asked) join in to help with any work tasks. W hile those living in houses with multiple rooms/households stressed that these were “lively. then. fruit. prov­ ing that one is not too “proud” (sombong). seeking out betel quids or tobacco. Ame Gaba was spreading out coffee to dry in his yard. though mothers say that too much whining for food is a sign that a child has not yet learnt to feel properly “shy” or “embarrassed” (sengger) in other houses. W hen cooked food is ready.” even if the side dishes actually include both interest­ ing vegetables and meat or fish. just as there are some people who do a little too much visiting. Households are responsible for their own staple foodstuffs: rice. it is com­ mon for the host to say “D on’t be angry. they offer a little bit o f liveliness.” a clear sign that he wished to talk about some­ thing important. the host will say. they also clearly serve to show young children’s lack o f awareness o f ritualized humility. These are also the activities that many Manggarai people themselves stress as most central to their custom (adat) and identity. “I’m going inside. Households will try to eat together at the same time. However. when another man emerged from the path through the coffee bushes. and eating are all surrounded by numerous ritualized procedures. O n one occasion. or a piece o f meat. I want to concentrate here on everyday practices o f sharing and hospitality. the sharing o f vegetables.” those in single or two-room houses said they preferred things to be “quiet. In return for these stimulants. the host will again often say. Seeing Ame Gaba was outside. Indeed. Indeed. shouted “W here’s the meat. occurs at all times o f the day and in all Manggarai houses. as one immediately had to share it with the whining chil­ dren o f other families (cf. and the ways in which neighbors shout out to one another. attach great importance to treating guests well. maize. as “little guests.” Once a guest is seated. One mother repeatedly told the story o f how her toddler son. jokes (ganda ganda). Paths o f sharing. In Wae Rebo and Kombo. these phrases are one o f the very everyday ways in which a house is marked as a humble but hospitable place. members o f the house will offer one o f many different “greetings” (ris). an occasional meal or sleep taken in a co-villager’s house is seen as good form. Manggarai people are somewhat obsessed with their reputation as hosts. W hen Ame Gaba had particularly good sweet potatoes. this is the shape o f our house here. as these reveal more about the flow o f goods and people within and between houses.” Conversation then continues. which people continually emphasized as being Manggarai custom. until the host says “Let’s drink” (inungsge) or “H ow about it?” (ajol ge). and other seasonal treats is common practice in multifamily houses. despite the permeability o f the boundaries o f a house. 6z). when a guest enters a person’s house for the first time. The house activities o f talking. although I earlier described the permeability o f the house to noise. Kipp 1993. whether shelling beans or helping put the decoration on a woven basket. those who lived in smaller houses often joked with me about how impossible it was to enjoy a treat in large houses. people also frequently visit one another’s houses more informally. tend to follow historical connections between different houses.6o : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE : 61 up cobs o f maize to hang for preservation over the hearth. there is a strong sense that any serious talk must take place face-to-face inside a house. and to do this I must consider the significance o f house rituals. particularly “D on’t be angry” (neka rabo). which largely consist o f a question. As we have seen. such as “You’ve arrived then?” If glasses o f coffee are being served but there are no bananas or cooked roots to go with them. some houses are more lively than others. Despite the importance o f keeping home fires burning.

where a small amount o f meat. sharing food.” Such a description may be humorous. and has had relatively little to say about the more ordi­ nary practices that rituals employ. will be roasted. A dog will usually be killed to provide extra meat. and a large and hearty midday meal. However. the word ramé is often used as a noun to refer to lively events— such as bridewealth negotiations or a wedding party— whether or not these involve a sacrificial or ancestral element.5 E a tin g to g e th e r in a b a c k k itch e n in the form o f house hospitality. More formal meals are also held both before and after a group o f young men go to fell timber for a particular household. having had its throat cut over a plate in which its blood is collected. and talking are therefore. the chicken will be passed back to the hearth. for most women in a house where a ritual is being held. The witnesses to the ritual now settle back and enjoy glasses o f coffee. is always marked by a communal meal. Manggarai people talk. A t the beginning o f the ritual speech. The end o f any ritual. for example. It is also an event that is “lively. During fieldwork at the Lenggos pri­ . in which women are “made guests” at houses they normally visit as friends and neighbors. not o f “going to attend Rensi’s marriage ritual.T H E PE R M E A B L E H O U S E 6i : CHAPTER 2 : 63 ance and other events.” to temporarily transform informal relationships into more formal ones in the context o f which payments can be made. A short while later. a chicken will be passed through to the ritual speaker. and no one who has witnessed such an event should leave before eating some o f the meat. Indeed. Keane 1997). This roasted meat is then mixed with some boiled rice in a plate (one for each chicken or animal killed) and passed back to the ritual speaker as the “food for the ancestors” (bang empo). a household will pay other villagers to help them with agricultural tasks such as weeding or transplanting rice seedlings. Kuipers 1998) or on the exchanges involved in large-scale events (Hoskins 1993. they still expect the household they are working for to provide them with morning coffee and snacks. utilized to “make guests. but it also describes a transformed relationship to Rensi. After this.” where food is cooked quickly and deliciously. while the women and young men begin to prepare and cook the meat. and where guests are served politely and are able to eat their fill o f meat. or the correct goods received.9 Despite the cash payment such workers receive. This is similar to the alli­ ance events I describe in the next chapter. Occasionally. It then returns again to the hearth.” but o f “going to eat Rensi’s chicken meat. W hen the workers for such an event are from within Wae Rebo-Kombo. a good ritual is not simply an event where the correct speech is spoken. including a piece o f the liver. and the feeding o f ancestors and other spirits at house rituals. This description o f house rituals in terms o f the processing and move­ ment o f chickens and meat is intended to show how hearth-based activities carried out by women and by young men are as central to house rituals as the speech o f older men. Everyday processes o f cooking. in Manggarai. The literature on eastern Indonesian rituals has tended to concentrate either on the symbolic meaning o f ritual languages (Fox 1988. even one held in a field. Moreover. The meal held after such work has been completed is particularly important and is called “massaging tiredness” (kedur kamar). Such rituals temporarily “make guests” o f both human and nonhuman persons by providing them with speech and food. the event is largely experienced in terms o f the processing o f uncooked and cooked food. the chicken is passed back to the ritual speaker for the inspection o f its intestines (toto urat). there is usually some self-consciousness about turning a co-villager into a “guest” (meka). A woman or young man will then hold the chicken in the flames o f the hearth in order to burn o ff the feathers. or before a carpenter starts work on construction o f a bed or a house. F i g u r e 2. and the meal will be followed by speeches and the pre­ sentation o f money (see Allerton zoiz). This process o f activating different kinds o f relationships through providing or receiving cooked food can also be seen in sacrificial rituals.

House rituals are largely about noting the presence of these unseen house occupants and treating them to the hospitality offered there on a day-to-day basis to living humans. Such rituals also attempt to re-create a house as in some respects the same place. eating.” a phrase that refers both to ill-health and to spiritual disturbance. garden-huts. but also. which are prone to describing houses in somewhat static terms.” Such events are referred to either by their rather pragmatic titles (such as “blood on feet”) or as a ramé. Any major “talk” or life-cycle ritual must always be held in a house. Significantly. Fourth. dressed in its best clothes. an ordinary house is a center to which other agents. both because they are part of what makes a house “lively. These demonstrate both the importance of the house as a protective shelter and the eventual necessity of directing the dead aw ay from the house in order that their descendants may safely continue with the business of living. when people rebuild their houses. During this ritual. also always have a place in the house. Some of the most significant house rituals are the ordered sequence of sacri­ fices and ritual procedures that occur after a death. absent people always have a place in the house and may be called and remembered at mealtimes. smells and." Despite my concern to draw out the everyday aspects of houses. Similarly. people living temporarily in field-huts stress that they are going to “return to the house” (w é‘é mbaru). the living who are absent. In considering household rooms. Manggarai houses have porous boundaries. alliance rituals involving pig sac­ rifice. and dancing as they did to ritual speech. In addition to chickens. rituals are at the more formalized end of a con­ tinuum of practices of sharing and hospitality that animate houses. an everyday. In addition. People said that it was because a pig had been killed for “moving in” to a house that it could later host other. they always attempt to retrieve and reinstitute the offering platforms from the old structure. disturbed when sleeping. I cannot ignore rituals altogether. for it is a potential community of the living who are present. I argued that their full significance could only be understood if both everyday processes such as looking after children or sleeping a n d ritual activity were considered together. . First. as one infor­ mant stressed to me. so that there will always be “the smell of pig’s blood” in the house. Second. and it is to this connection between houses and the placing of the dead that I now turn. and this is what makes a house different from a gardenhut. most important. the ritual to inaugurate a newly built house is also called “returning to/moving in to the house” (w é’é m baru). While rooms may have a specific agency of their own. rituals are one of a range of events that make a house “lively” and do so spe­ cifically by inviting nonhuman persons into the house. who are unseen in everyday life. nonhuman persons. DEATH AND DWELLINGS By contrast with architectural or symbolic descriptions. including ancestral spirits and the land itself. I asked children from Class 6 to draw and/or write a description of a ram é event in their village. a house continues to be a home to the deceased. since although “monkey-huts” are valued as peaceful places to raise a family. they are not centers for hospitality or ritual in the way that a house is. multisensory account of the house reveals its permeability to noise. the ability to hold rituals is a crucial aspect of the distinction between different kinds of Manggarai dwellings. In making a house “lively” with such nonhuman agents. from a teacher who had recently built a cement house to a middle-aged woman who reflected on how she didn’t really feel comfortable in her Kombo house until after the ritual to “move in” to it. despite the vagaries of time and the ongoing flow of occupants. and before such an event. in part connected with their role in patrilineal kinship. the speaker requests that the residents of the house will not be “itchy when lying down. What was noteworthy about their descrip­ tions was that they gave as much emphasis to cooking. to ensure the well-being of the house’s residents and to provide food for the guests.” and because the ability to hold rituals is what distinguishes houses from those other everyday dwellings. Immediately after a death. they have emerged as centered entities. This “moving in” ritual is also said to “tame” and “persuade” the land to accept the new house and to protect its residents from harm. I argued that. A number of people stressed the importance of this ritual to me. rituals make a house a protective place. This explains why.64 : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE : 65 mary school. I want to stress four points with regard to house rituals that are not specifically concerned with rooms. Here. and various spirits. because the potential community of people con­ nected with a house is always much larger than those who live in it on a dayto-day basis. Third. a pig should be sacrificed at the ritual. By linking the house with the land. this “liveliness” is part of what makes a ritual efficacious. smoke. the “moving in” ritual is therefore part of the ongoing unfolding of relations between humans and the various agencies of the landscape. There is a perme­ ability but also a potentiality to the ordinary Manggarai house. are invited and offered hospital­ ity. the corpse is washed. the movements of people. but through rituals and other practices of hospitality.1 0 Indeed. there is no local word that could be trans­ lated as “ritual. Earlier.

As I showed earlier. Because a death involves “afternoon guests” in this way. pass me a betel quid. and where. leav­ ing behind a pregnant wife and one-year-old child. they stroke the body through these cloths. These terms are also used. The emotional significance of laying out the corpse in the house is shown by the horror associated with the category of deaths known as “green/unripe death” (m ata ta’ a ).” and this makes it apt for denoting the slightly sunken hearth or attached kitchen. Outside the house. An “unripe death” is when the person is killed swiftly and suddenly outdoors. usually in their field. An “afternoon guest” is one who arrives unexpectedly.” and then . but also increasingly in road accidents (cf. as is the case with other such posts in southeast Asia is rather loosely thought to be the place where ancestral blessings are transmitted (Waterson 1990. Those crying for Dom i in the open air were doubly exposed.”1 1As we shall see. a young man who had died in his prime in the early 1980s. Thus. Maria. lit only by a gas lamp. there may still be certain uneasy moments in houses when boundaries are broken down. outside the house. a woman in her forties.'4 However. le also refers to the vaguely defined “land of the dead. As she sat down. giving the house residents little time to prepare. 112). 35). although the system of external orientation (described in Chapter 6) does not affect the internal orientation of dwellings. the pointing o f the corpses feet towards the door indicates something equally significant about the “placing” o f the dead. The positioning o f the corpse is particularly significant: the central house-post is associated with the (male) authority o f household heads and is leant against by ritual speak­ ers during key events. She called out to the women of the house. Forth 1991a. When guests arrive from farther afield. and when people enter the house to cry over the corpse. in part (as we saw in the previous chapter) to prevent the infection o f rooms with “unripe blood. are described as “afternoon guests” (meka m ane). but also in the sense that extreme emotions are believed to make a person vulnerable to physical and spiritual harm.66 : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE : 67 and then “laid out on the floor” o f the house. Laying the corpse (of whatever age or sex) out in this manner connects it with the power o f the central house-post. A noticeable linguistic feature regarding the use of Manggarai houses are the direction terms that apply universally to all houses. or in an act of cold-blooded murder. However. It was on this platform that the corpse was laid out. fetching water. McWilliam 1997. i6z). and particu­ larly when w oe (groups associated with out-married sisters and daughters) arrive. Wae Rebo-Kombo villag­ ers must all contribute equal sums of rice. when the falling direction o f a large tree had been fatally miscalculated. those mourning inside a house are to some extent protected by the rituals that. By contrast.115-118.'3 People also make important practical contributions. For this laying out. they will give small sums of money known as “tears. Deaths. and money to a bereaved household. when used outside the house. which on this and other occasions can be said to function as “super-skins” (Allerton 2007b). These “tears” are also a way of paying respect to the deceased. has a range of interconnected meanings but most generally means “towards the mountains. building temporary shelters outside very small houses. hili is used to denote a place that is downhill or “behind. who will then keep at a safe distance. of whatever kind. The number o f times I was told about this death appeared to attest not only to the horror felt at a sudden death but also to the power o f the image o f a corpse laid out outside the protection o f the house. described to me a time when she briefly visited a house in another village. to the elements o f course.” an expression of loss but also a means to help the family to buy sugar and other goods. have made the house into a protective shelter. “Quick. peo­ ple came to cry throughout the night. pointing the feet of a corpse towards the door—the part of the house that is le —directs it towards its future location in the grave. Hoskins 1998. The description of death in terms of unexpected “guests” strengthens my argu­ ment that practices of hospitality are far from trivial but are central to the significance of the house. and hili.” since the dead are ata bele (people on the le side) and graves (on a steep mountainside in Wae Rebo) are always described as le. as a member of the “land of the dead. the head o f the corpse should be near to the central house-post (hiri bongkok). The two most important of these terms are le. as people will almost immediately begin to arrive in the house to cry over the corpse and comfort the bereaved. denoting the direction of the (front) door. Domi had been crushed when felling timber. whatever cardi­ nal direction they may face. the association of the recently deceased with the door of the house is particularly clear during the final death ritual or kelas. For example. In such cases. or helping to move produce sacks or beds inside houses to make space for mourners. Le. with the feet pointing towards the front door. the sheer number o f people inside a house following a death also has a benefi­ cial effect in keeping a house “lively.” One story I was often told was that o f Domi.” Prayer meetings held in a house after a death are similarly valued for both their lively and their protective qualities. she became aware of a terrible smell of rotting. over the years.” However. coffee. The corpse is covered in a shroud o f woven songke d o th s. somewhat differently. which. I was told that D om i’s father carried his son s body into the vil­ lage. denoting the direction of the hearth or kitchen. the body of the deceased must not be allowed inside the house (cf. where a raised platform was built near his eventual grave.

people say. the ritual continues the process of pointing the deceased away from the house and .” In the weeks immediately after a death. in which they are exhorted to take with them “what is bad” (ata da’at).” “the end of loving. or an awareness of a particular smell associated with the deceased. with prayers led by the guru agama (religious teacher). and one of the primary purposes of death rituals is to gradually signal the end of day-to-day contact between the living and the dead. The speech ends with the throwing of uncooked rice for the deceased in order that.” or just “the end. this shows the importance of aural permeability to the value of houses as places. and all village women are forbidden to weave. after which the chief mourners may bathe for the first time.” Death rituals mark the gradual transition of the deceased from inside the house to the grave “on the le side. Fields may be visited only after performance of the small ritual known as “green/unripe leaves” (haungta’a ).68 : CHAPTER 2 T H E PE R M E A B L E H O U S E : 69 F i g u r e 1. when woven guest-mats are aired outside in the sunshine. tuak. and cigarettes. The terrible smell was that of the corpse of the deceased woman.” Remembering the woman by offering betel caused the smell to disappear. People told me that after the “shaking out the mats” guests no longer come to sit and mourn on the mats of the “house of sadness. and leave behind “what is good” (ata di’a). Final death ritu­ als are held for all age-groups. and are described as “the end of mourning. whom Maria had not yet officially “remembered. but hadn’t been able to visit the house to present her “tears” after the death. it is the kelas or final death ritual that is crucial in placing a permanent barrier between the living and the dead. in one man’s words. Immediately after a death. the removal of the corpse from the house does not signal the end of ritual pro­ cedures affecting the house and its inhabitants. By sacrificing the pig in the doorway. women in the village may weave again. all house residents and their families are forbidden to work in the fields. as the ghost returned to the l i side. he or she would ask why the weaver “didn’t remember” or “didn’t value” them. from small children to the very old. Following the night of crying over a corpse.” A kelas ritual marks “the end” of everyday involvement between the indi­ vidual dead and the living. Such feel­ ings are considered inevitable but unsettling. if it was heard by the deceased. simulating the spring cleaning of the house and its inhabitants. Paths of out-married women (woe) are sent formal requests for money (sida). Maria told me that she had known this woman fairly well. and in Wae Rebo the drums (off-limits in the immediate aftermath of a death) may once again be played.” but rather mourn “each in their own house. The Catholic forty nights’ prayers are usu­ ally held either inside the house or next to the grave and are considered an important way to demonstrate love for the deceased. pigs.” The climax is the sacrifice of a pig in the door of the house. Again. The tok tok sound of a woman bang­ ing her sword on her loom is so closely associated with the everyday activity of houses that.6 P o u rin g glasses o f c o ffe e fo r guests at a fin a l d e a th ritual “offered betel” to the ghost of a woman of that house. This is a large event held sometime in the year after the death.” a sign that affairs with the deceased are “finished. after a ritual speech directly addressed to the deceased. and residents may feel signs of “spooking” (kateng). the often restless spirit of the deceased remains near to the house. an arrival described as the “return” (wee). However. burial takes place fairly quickly. held roughly three days after a death. These guests arrive the night before the ritual sacrifice. they “don’t keep coming to ask for food. normally after harvesting rice. who are also invited and bring with them rice. This real and sym­ bolic cleansing continues a few days later with “shaking out the mats” ( wentar lose). part of which is used to recompense the natal families of in-married women. to limit the future contexts in which the dead can share the liveliness of the house. such as a sudden chill or goose bumps. After this event. However.

neither o f them can be reduced to “materiality. by eating together in their origin house. Similarly. planted or raised house as one o f great substance. W hile in the previous chapter.” ordi­ nary houses. was criticized as a place where the door was always shut. for example into the meaning o f houseposts (Waterson 1990. I do not intend to deny either the rather extraor­ dinary architecture o f n ian g houses or the materiality o f the house (indeed. they distinguish between the ritually significant “drum house. we saw how household rooms. there is much more to a Manggarai house than its status as an object. and “monkey-huts” in fields. In particular. children. Lus. 55). and with rice for cooking in the future. The boundaries between what is inside and what is outside the house are not always clearly defined. as a valued place. despite architectural and other differences. play a shifting role in the organization o f connections between spouses and siblings. the ritual also marks the limits to safe and productive mobility. smells. “W ill this be what it is like when I die? W ill I be all alone with no friends ?” W hat architectural and symbolic approaches share is that they focus on the house as a particular kind o f object. These approaches have yielded many significant insights. Indeed. in marking “the end” o f the deceased’s movements into the houses o f kin. as both material and immaterial entities. in my previous account o f rooms. who were said to fol­ low “charismatic” Christian practices behind closed doors. the ritual firmly draws a line under the everyday sharing o f foodstuffs. remembering when this woman had failed to cry for their own deceased relatives. sorcer­ ers. and that. in his book on Art a n d Agency. a Manggarai house is less a container than a stopping-off place for myriad jour­ neys on many temporal scales. I was at pains to describe it). Much o f the literature on eastern Indonesian houses has followed one o f two approaches. local. Yet. everyday ways in which a house is made and understood as a place o f value. However. Instead. many Wae Rebo-Kombo people do not see the difference between a round or rectangular. However. Certainly. we are drawn to both permeability and what I have called “liveliness. and chill winds blow through its walls. or with no visitors. the home o f an elderly couple. which is often not the house in which they lived but that o f a father or grandfather.” refusing aural permeability. whereas we have seen how the Manggarai house (probably like many other dwellings built o f tropical materials) is highly permeable. ordinary houses show many similarities as highly permeable structures defined by the temporal flows o f persons as well as the sounds. were criticized because it was said they “didn’t answer the calls o f other people. effervescent buzz. such houses have been approached from a standpoint o f architectural or symbolic interest. smoke rises through its thatch. partly through permeability. had been heard wailing. Another house in Kombo. In addition. One family. or ancestors. 251-258).” A house is a place for numerous “lively” events— events that leave the smell o f blood in the house. coffee. Though people utilize connections o f siblingship to claim a number o f dif­ ferent dwellings as “my own house. animals.” Though both o f these aspects are influenced by the material qualities o f houses. smells. O n the one hand.” After providing the deceased with a sump­ tuous meal.70 : CHAPTER 2 THE PERMEABLE HOUSE : 71 towards the land “on the le side. Chickens run about underneath it. whether to sounds. Alfred Gell can include houses in a discussion o f “art works” (j 998. floor-plans emphasize walls and boundaries. and animals that move between neigh­ boring dwellings. One young woman told me that the hus­ band. That a house becomes a valued place in part through the movements o f people can be seen by considering the negative evaluations o f houses with few such movements. create a sort o f protective. the kelas is also the last chance for a family to show love for the deceased in the most poignant way. substances drip through its cracks onto the ground below. in this chapter we have seen how ordinary houses are rather ad hoc collections o f households. very few villagers went to grieve or cry in this house. Although in part a formal alliance event at which exchanges o f money and livestock are made. employed to help the reader visualize the particular buildings under discussion. such approaches do not necessarily reveal the . obscure as much as they reveal. If we focus on the taken-for-granted aspects o f everyday life. 118) or the interrelationship o f houses and granaries (Barnes 1974. W hen the wife died. The arrival o f paths o f out-married women returning to their “main house” ritually emphasizes the movement o f persons away from and back to a series o f dwellings. The ritual is always held in the “main house” (m baru pokok) o f the deceased. Architectural diagrams or floor-plans. In this chapter— in part by evoking a sense o f houses as places (Feld and Basso 1996)— I have shown how. this is why. and betel. There is no better example o f this than the way that BEYOND “ THE H OUSE” Despite the architectural changes outlined at the beginning o f this chapter.” these have no particular implications for kinship organization. where its inhabitants hid from their fellow villagers. ritual liveliness” also helps ensure that a house is permeable to the right kinds o f nonhuman persons.

“D on’t cry.” Later in the conversation. I cried!” she replies. as when spirits attack through the undersides o f the house. who is sitting in a corner o f the large kitchen. wiry grandmother with soft white hair tied up in a bun and strong hands for pounding maize with flat stones. Her husband. Did she feel sad then? Yes. but is hampered in two key respects. she replies. This is why. we were . at times this kind o f permeability is threatening. Remembering the padongs I have seen. Thus. relatively easily. let us now move out. pigs. tells me. We speak o f her final marriage ritual in her home village o f Nandong and her accompanied journey (padong) to Wae Rebo. beyond the house. and there is laughter o f recogni­ tion. She had gone west to Sarong for the padong o f another woman. between houses makes it hard to see ordinary houses asfixing or fetishizing anything.” As we have seen. that was when I went again. one o f the most “centered” o f house activities. she didn’t come. She and her husband. and she tells me how her eldest son followed her “path” to Nandong and married her brother’s daughter. Ame Bertolo. home to several unmarried women and to Niko. at the door. I ask her if she cried. ultimately. The sec­ ond problem with the literature on “house-based societies” is that it has led to analyses that stop. the fact that. the ritual speaker Ame Bertolo. The latter task fills her with exasperation-.” I ask her why. or when the wrong kind o f ancestors enter a household room. ritual is also capable o f cre­ ating barriers and boundaries. in Manggarai (as in many other places) people change residence and move. preside over a large Wae Rebo house. through the door and beyond. “Ai. I interview Ine Teres about her marriage and children. a young boy with learning difficulties whose antics are the delight o f the village. However. the point o f the house as an institution is that it fixes (however temporarily) unstable and apparently contradictory social processes. This approach has also yielded many significant insights.7Z : C H A P T E R 2. it follows predominant ways o f theorizing in social anthro­ pology by assuming that. so to speak. We discuss her siblings. she says. even ritual. or persuading a particular ancestor to keep away. ‘I cried again myself. as we saw in the previous chapter. we discuss her childrens marriages. child. to the ancestors on the “mountainside. Late one night. social relations have ontological priority over place. Lévi-Strauss can characterize certain houses as “fetishes” and can thereby fail to appreciate the specific ways in which such buildings (or parts o f buildings) may be thought to exercise agency. and as that woman cried. Ine ?” I ask.” Hav­ ing focused on dwellings. who then told her. occasionally adding their own comments. And because o f that crying. some o f whom did accompany her. For Lévi-Strauss. No. Others in the house listen. to examine “paths” o f marriage and family history. a house door is left open and faced by the ritual speaker during marriage and death rituals. However. “Did your mother come on your padong. before the arrival o f priests. and she says she cried for her mother. but a month afterwards she went back to visit Nandong. adds that this probably made Ine Teres cry even more. Ine Teres is often to be found watching the young women weaving in the shade under­ neath the house or feeding the two large pigs she has tethered to posts some distance away. “In the past. as dinner is cooked and rain falls on the thatched roof o f the house. enu. M y account o f the perme­ ability and mobility that lie at the heart o f ordinary Manggarai dwellings is part o f this book’s overall strategy to connect different kinds o f places and pathways rather than confining the house to something called the “built envi­ ronment. seeks to reach outside o f the house to the “land” it “persuades” and. and then the conversation turns back to her arrival in Wae Rebo. like chickens. are not polite diners. o f turning the soul o f the dead away from the house. 3 Paths of Marriage Ine Teres is a small. and that fail to connect houses with the wider landscape o f pathways and fields. First. The second major approach to eastern Indonesian houses follows the concerns o f Lévi-Strauss and seeks to outline the particular ways in which a society can be said to be “house-based” (see especially Errington 1989). I went south west to Nandong." Tanta Tina. “I cried as I left Nandong.

creating an image similar to the lines o f anthropology’s kinship diagrams ? O r might there be a more lit­ eral connection between marriage paths and the “real. but also by men. in a later edited collection on Austronesian ideas about place.” muddy trails through mountain forests and along lowland rice fields? Fox’s influential introduction to The Flow o f Life (1980) notes the description o f affinal relationships as “paths” among several eastern Indone­ sian societies. Indeed. while these and other works have considered important and complex issues in relation to eastern Indonesian marriage. McKinnon 1991. The paths I focus on are marriage paths. Since this pioneering study. However. people speak o f a particular marriage con­ nection as a “path” (halang).104-105) or pathways (McKinnon 1991. 240. Rosaldo (1980) has very persuasively shown how Ilongot kinship is fundamentally constituted by movement through the landscape. become places o f value through a range o f everyday and ritual activities that create the house as both a node in a mobile milieu and a center for “liveliness.” Here and elsewhere in the lit­ erature. and structural order. given the widespread use o f the title o f this volume as a description o f marriage in these societies.” Manggarai sociality is also “path-based. 235). worn-down trail (Keane 1997. z). In the previous chapter. As a member o f the Dutch Leiden School.” In this chapter. However. as a key feature o f the Manggarai landscape. In this chapter. I go beyond such a vague. Forth 2001.124). expression and show how journeys are very practically . 81). For example.” The importance o f focusing on movement as well as (more or less fixed) place has been particularly stressed by James Clifford. Mambai “paths” (dan) blazed by ancestral marriages (Traube 1986. van Wouden sought to uncover the basic patterns o f social organization and classification that defined eastern Indonesia as a “field o f study.” whereas travel is conceived as a mere “supplement” (1997>3). Throughout southern Manggarai. in order to show how relations o f marriage can be understood not simply as a set o f rules and classifications but as a sequence o f place-based. and the various journeys by which these paths are made. a proposed marriage with a previ­ ously unconnected family is described as a “new path. my empha­ sis). arguing that marriage customs were the “pivot” to a comprehensive organization o f society and cosmos (1968 [1935]. ritual activities.” and he thus tends to play down the significance o f those studies— from Malinow­ ski’s descriptions o f kula trade to the literature on pilgrimage— which have focused on “local” travel. ethnographers have continued to reveal a variety o f types o f marriage alliance in the region while retaining a distinctive Leiden School stress on cosmology and classification (Barnes 1974. and the characterization o f an Atoni mother’s brother’s daughter as the “woman o f the path” (fe lalan. practical actions. within the ethnography o f southeast Asia alone. it is worth noting that it could just as easily have been called “the path o f life.36). 54). this chapter shows how connections o f marriage between different houses and villages are not simply “represented” by the paths criss­ crossing the Manggarai landscape. dwelling is understood to be “the local ground o f collective life. 17. as much as it can be said to be “house-based. 214). I concentrate on some o f the paths that fan out from and back to these permeable houses.Clifford’s polemic is addressed to a discipline that has imagined fieldwork as a “dwelling practice” rather than a “travel practice.” while those wishing a girl to marry her father’s sister’s son will hope she “follows the path o f her aunt. I describe peoples personal experiences o f the marriage process. This chapter challenges the hegemony o f the Leiden-derived tradition o f analysis by considering the topic o f marriage from a new angle. Fox calls for a comparative study o f “pathways. Forth zooi). While. Joining the path (tungku halang)” Marriage and alliance have been central topics in eastern Indonesian ethnography since the publication in 1935 o f van Wouden’s comparative study o f social struc­ ture in the region. Indeed.74 : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 75 all products o f joining (tungku). Fox 1980. In particu­ lar. or note the “move­ ment” involved in the relationship between alliance groups (Barraud 1990. I showed how houses.” he still envisages them as “an active mode o f representation o f relations and their transformation” (1997a.” In particular. Lewis 1988.1 In contrast. old Anakalangese alliances that are a “smooth path \lara\. and the journeys I describe are emotional ones made by women. These works are primarily concerned with metaphoric representations rather than the active movement involved with marriage relations. 37).” Are such descriptions merely metaphorical. Schulte Nordholt 1980. Traube 1986. who argues that in common assumptions about culture. calling for an examination o f “everyday practices o f dwelling and traveling: traveling-in­ dwelling. Other writers also speak more generally o f alliance paths (Barnes 1974. what I take to be most useful in Cliffords work is the tension or relationship that he identifies in any one society between routes and roots. if tantalizing. they have tended to be most concerned with the “rules” governing social action and with demonstrating the links between cosmo­ logical beliefs. dwelling-in-traveling” (1997. Outlining the ways in which these paths contribute to an envi­ ronment entangled with kinship will show how. but are in a very real way experienced as travel along these paths. he aimed to demonstrate the importance to these societies o f “connubium” (forms o f cross-cousin marriage). we find Kodinese “paths” (lara) o f exchange goods (Needham 1980.

often referred to as “join­ ing the path” (tungku halang). If the couple is determined to marry and the link between the two groups is rather distant. or weavers o f great renown (see Allerton 2007c). 154). WO ME N . as “sister or daughter” and “mother-father. following most analyses o f eastern Indonesian marriage systems. However. In Manggarai. and may be disowned by their families. in other forbidden cases.” may make the mar­ riage possible.3As elsewhere on Flores. McKinnon 1991. the conventional terms exclude from membership the very women who move between groups after mar­ riage.”1 Although it is tempting. means that men and women always have a number o f possible “joining” partners. couples who decide to live together will have no bridewealth. what is a chicken is rightly a chicken” (cf. Because they are destined at marriage to move away from their natal home. Mar­ riages that are perceived as reversing this “flow” o f life and goods are forbid­ den or “not legitimate” (toékop). despite this ban. 152. As feminist critics o f Lévi-Strauss’ conception o f “woman-exchange have argued. Perhaps the most important conception underlying ideas about marriage alliance is the fact that the two alliance categories should never be confused. marriage between couples with close genealogical links has been forbidden by the Catholic church.76 : CHAPTER 3 P A T HS OF M A R R I A G E : 77 involved in the creation o f Manggarai marriage connections. and helped by occasional dispensations from the regional bishop. called “looking for a mother-father. from “kidnapping” (roko) to “looking after orphans” (tinu-lalo ) whereby a woman married her sister’s widower. Thus. girls are “outside people. The latter are best trans­ lated. together with the complex histories o f marriage between different families. a Manggarai baby is declared to be either a female “outside person” or a male “inside person. For instance. for a variety o f personal reasons. there are some respects in which this pattern o f gendered movement is an ideal form not always matched by reality. either to seek work or to settle and receive land in their wife’s village.” the counterpart to their “insider” brothers (cf.” or “grandfather’s sisters” has married in the past. and o f gendered identity throughout the life cycle. never marry. often to become heads o f dispersed households. no marriage rituals. a situation that was blamed for various deaths and illnesses in his family. Nevertheless. women in such alliance systems are not simply the “conduit o f a relationship” (Rubin 1975. One woman in Kombo had apparently never spoken to or played with her three grandchildren. marriages described as tungku continue to be contracted. This was because her son had chosen to remain in a forbidden relationship. As this chapter shows. Sugishima 1994. and the two alliance categories o f woé and iné-amé. There are also a number o f women who. However. AND CHICK ENS In the hours immediately after a birth. Manggarai people often express this by reference to the livestock that should pass from one group to the other. the main contrast that people draw is between sangkang marriages that create a “new path” o f alliance and a form o f cross-cousin marriage called tungku— “joining” or “to join.197. declaring that “what is a pig is rightly a pig. perhaps accounting for one- . the broad definition o f cross-cousins. even though they lived in a hut some two hundredmeters from her house. Forth 2001. generative couple (Barnes 1974» 250-251. first. However. and are recognized as doing so by men.4 How­ ever. Sugi­ shima 1994. These are kin (ahé-ka’é). 92).” These declarations o f the future location o f children doubly express travel and fixity.174). respectively. some men will move permanently away from their natal village. Manggarai women are involved with and constitute the landscape o f relatedness as much as men. to translate these two categories as “wife-takers” and “wife-givers. There are therefore a number o f different paths that any one person could “join” with a tungku marriage. but are centrally involved in the imagination and practice o f marriage alliance. the conventional analytical terms lack the complex familial meanings o f woé and iné-amé. instead remaining in their natal homes. as in Anakalang on Sumba (Keane I997» 54). the description o f children as “insiders” or “outsiders” is to some extent contingent and dependent on later circumstances. PIGS.” “father’s sisters. This is because. A man should never marry a woman from a family into which one o f his clan branch sisters.” The purest form o f tungku is marriage o f a man with his mother’s brother’s daughter (M BD). Framing this pattern o f residence and movement is a division o f a Mang­ garai person’s social world into three main groups. F O L L O W I N G O R F O R G I N G A M A R R I A G E PA T H Manggarai people distinguish a number o f different contemporary and historical types o f marriage. fines and a procedure o f tracing other kinship links. 117).” I prefer here to use glosses o f the local terms. terming the partners in a marriage alliance “sister/daughter” and “mother-father” encodes their relationship as a kin-like connection between a female “child” and a senior. Second. Traube 1986.

ritual speeches. these recently instituted courses may also involve discussion o f the couple’s relationship. perhaps the most important reason for the persis­ tence o f tungku. This change is often reflected on humorously in conversations.” today are usually made via a letter from the young man to his pro­ spective bride. 9). a “wedding party” (pesta kawin) may be held. The bridewealth negotiations tend to be rather drunken and protracted.5There is then likely to be a wait o f between six months and a year before the church wedding and final marriage ritual ( wagal). “each brother”). As noted.6 After the ceremony. their relationship is one framed by the possibility o f marriage. while marriages that create a new connection are thought to forge a fresh path o f related­ ness. after receiving the greetings o f villagers. where coffee and cakes are served and villagers come to shake hands with the newly married pair and cry with the bride. those in Manggarai place great importance on remembering their origins to ensure health and success in life. Over the past decades in Manggarai. the couple will pay numerous visits to the church. to young people initiating the process. lacy gloves. which were once made formally to the bride’s kin by a spokesperson or “bridge. Later that evening. often through a parent’s same-sex sibling (known as néténg nara.151) so. the bride is met by a party o f gong-banging women. I want briefly to outline how Manggarai marriages are initiated and created. 84). The prefer­ ence is for the bride to wear a white wedding dress. the couple’s new status is finally marked by the ritual o f blood on feet. the bride and groom process back to a house o f the bride’s kin. Although there are many similarities between the practices constituting such marriages. For now. the church wedding is often a lengthy affair. I was told that in the past rings were not exchanged but the girl was often given a “bracelet to fix things in advance. “treads on an egg” (wegi ruha) held in spe­ cial leaves by an elderly female relative o f the groom. Some time later— perhaps the next day or after a few more weeks to make preparations— the final marriage ritual is held. She then. and makeup. the ritual at which the bridewealth (belis) is negotiated. Depending on the priest. Dur­ ing this time. following which the previously hidden bride is “accompanied” (karong) into the front room o f the house. in the past.78 : CHAPTER 3 P A T HS OF M A R R I A G E fifth o f all matches. and the date will be set for the kempu. From early childhood. such marriages are conceived o f as following the path o f the father’s sister or another female relative who went before. Things may grow rather rowdy and occasionally arguments break out. and one rarely noted in the eastern Indonesian literature. there are also inevitable differences in experience between old and new pathways. where preference for M B D marriage may be seen as “almost solely ideologi­ cal” (Barnes 1980. on which she is accompanied by numerous friends and relatives. where she and her prospective husband sit together slightly awkwardly on the main guest-mats. the bride departs on her padong. under the right circumstances. If she accepts this proposal. In rural parishes. and meals o f specially killed pig. a subject to which I shall return.” and as they grow up. people are seeking “joining” links by tracing more distant alliance connections. in particular to attend a marriage course. while again pointing out that the process sketched here is something o f an ideal type that some marriages will subvert. This persistence can be explained by a number o f factors. A t the end o f the padong. subject to the approval o f their parents and older kin. they will be teased about playing with their “husband” or “wife.” Those who have accompanied the bride will . ’ The bride may also receive a number o f other gifts o f clothing. a girl felt jejé — she “trembled with fear”— when a man was announced as her “guest” or prospective husband. usu­ ally subject to the approval o f their children. saying they want their sons to contract “joining” marriages because they are “scared o f forgetting our mother’s path. both sides will meet in the young woman’s house and the couple will exchange rings (tukar kilo). the ritually significant journey to her groom’s home. i f the bride’s family is well-off or have connections with town.” Marriage propos­ als. This is a large-scale event involving further financial negotiations. but in most village weddings there is sim­ ply a meal for the family and guests. in which they are given religious instruction and taught the basics o f “Christian family life” (cf. wherein it is parents who now feel jejé when they are told that a young man visiting is their daughter’s “guest. ideally at the base o f the short house ladder o f the groom’s home.271). Second. In the first place. come to “greet the young girl” (suru molas). A t the end o f this event. and for the groom to wear a suit (usually borrowed and ill-fitting) and white gloves. there has been a gradual though not complete change from a custom o f parents finding marriage partners. are the currents o f mutual attraction running between potential tungku partners. with either side launching into competitive singing. Manggarai “joining” partners are thought to be irresistible to one another. People told me that. Just as cross-cousin marriage is a “romantic ideal” in southern India (Trawick 1992. That night. They stressed a contrast with the con­ temporary situation. though many o f my informants told me that they thought such questioning (“W hy do you like her?” “W hat do you talk about together?”) was embarrassing and unnecessary. with a large number o f couples being married by the priest in one go. and like other Austronesian peoples (Fox 1997a. Smedal 1994.” However.

having safely handed over the bride. a woman rejected the first amount of money that she was offered with the blunt phrase “It’s not much” (toe d od ). she refused to budge. dis­ plays o f tears and laughter.113. particularly through the idea o f the threshold. eschewing the formulaic language of negotiation. McWilliam 1997. numerous images o f place and movement. combines images o f both dwelling and move­ ment. At the “accompanying” of Edis. when the groom’s kin return for the bride­ wealth negotiations. Indeed. the demands of these accompanying women are viewed rather humorously. when the bride is brought through from the back to the front of the house. Once in the front room of the house. in particular. filled with the smoke and conversation of male guests. nonchalantly asking for extra cash as they spit red betel juice between the cracks in the floor.119) saw as a frequent feature of marriage rites. The spatial symbolism of ritual speech is echoed in the names of various textiles presented by the bride’s to the groom’s kin in exchange for cash. “Your door is going north to our village. The women them­ selves often play up to this. “The door is stepped over.8o : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 8l F i g u r e 3. and she will begin her new life as a member o f her husbands clan and household. Edis sat with her husband on a newly woven “mat to accompany.” and “sheltering. the mat is spread.” “entering. and soon received all the money she had requested.8 What are we to make of such ransomed journeys within rituals. gifts. Since it is normally men who negotiate and handle money at alliance events. her best. There then followed a negotiation over the amount of “money to accompany” that the women should receive from the groom’s kin. which employ . and negotiations are spoken o f variously as “climbing houses.1 L e a v in g th e c h u rch a fter th e w e d d in g usually leave the next morning. The “accompanying” is an example of the kinds of “ransoms” that van Gennep (1977. ritual actions. W hat fleshes out this skeleton are journeys. and it is significant that what seems to be held to ransom is the bride’s free passage from her natal kin to the groom’s family.137. and. 189) and.” Later. the coming together of doors illustrates the union of two worlds. in Manggarai.” “bridging water. and our door is coming here to your village. At one final marriage ritual. or sarongs that “place” and “accompany” brides. A “sarong to place. Marriage events. these crucial motifs of “sheltering” and “accompanying” are particularly stressed in the “accompanying” (karong ) that takes place at mar­ riage rituals. and in line with van Gennep’s (1977 [1908]) analysis of the symbol­ ism of thresholds in rites of passage. It is not until this money has been paid that the women can return to the back of the house. the bride was first dressed in a shiny pink blouse. Thus.” with the women grouped around her.” “opening doors. mother!” Nevertheless.” Such spatial symbolism is common to east­ ern Indonesian marriage (McKinnon 1991.” In such phrases. or talk about climbing houses and treading on thresholds? And how can these examples. SPATIAL “ S Y M BO L IS M ” AND M AR R IA G E P R A C TIC E S The events outlined above could be called the bare skeleton o f Manggarai marriage. This was met with hoots of derisory laughter from the young men in the room. She then had an open umbrella7 held over her by a small group of female kin as they took her into the front room. men described their initial approach to their wife’s family as “climbing the house” and often reported back its acceptance with the ritual phrase.” and “sarong to shelter” may all be given at the final marriage ritual to ensure the bride s protection in her new home.” “treading over thresholds. embroidered sarong and scarf. in which all boundaries have been reduced. they might say to the bride’s family. and a metal headdress (bali-belo). Keane 1997.” “sarong to accompany. who shouted “It’s enough.

and older relatives. despite this. should always stay behind. However. just as a forgotten forest trail becomes overgrown and impassable. the mat is spread” is using these simple images o f house visiting as a metaphor for acceptance by the bride’s family. However. Owing to the high levels o f rainfall in Manggarai.” and is overwhelmingly used to describe the accompanying of the bride to her new home. married women. or how they relate their own experiences. Manggarai people will point to forks in the trail that lead to “W ihel’s path” or “Kata’s path. For example. help us to understand the way Manggarai people conceive o f marriage as a “path”? By concentrating on the rich lan­ guage o f ritual speech or the names o f textiles. Fathers will often accompany their daughters. I now turn to the most significant marriage journey—the bride’spadong to her new home. churches— and travel between places. Indeed. .” W hen I first started to think about paths in Manggarai. little attention has been paid in such literature to how people talk in a non-rule-like way. As mentioned. the jour­ neys that are central to Manggarai marriage actually blur the boundaries between “real” and “metaphorical” paths. How­ ever. there is an additional element at stake with regard to marriage events. siblings. This is particu­ larly noticeable when one is walking along paths through the forest. pounding the ground with bare feet. and these sections need to be rebuilt by those wishing to travel. common throughout Indonesia (Rodgers 1990. your body gets to know them well. the cultural salience of the padong is evident in rituals for the construction of a drum house. o f course. Just as the marriage process involves a series o f practical actions. as men cut back new plant growth with machetes. Manggarai people themselves take great delight in uncovering the meaning o f the riddles (bundu) o f ritual speech. The bride is accompanied by young friends. when the central ridgepole is carried into the village and “met” (suru) in the same way that a human bride would be after ha:padong. when walking to other villages. so too can alliance paths become neglected when people no longer travel them to renew the connections between families. Including such accounts here is crucial if one is to give a more nuanced account of the mar­ riage process. at the same time he is also describing actions that he has performed. 328-329). houses. the traditional literature on eastern Indonesian marriage has tended to focus on marriage categories as a pivot to classification (Needham 1958). and on the emotional inten­ sity experienced by those on a padong journey. or taking a cramped and bumpy ride in a wooden passenger truck. anticipating a sudden dip. walking for miles through forest. I carried in my mind an image o f the muddy trails that I had walked on from highlands to lowlands. In addition. they may involve transferring possessions from one village house to another. “rooting” ( wuat) their daughter’s journey.” The action o f travel cre­ ates both a physical trail and an alliance relationship: the two are fundamen­ tally entwined. all of whom receive a small amount of “money for accompanying” from the groom’s kin. from house to washing spring. even the lowland roads that have brought new trucks between southern villages and the town are by no means permanent. by people travelling along them. one might be tempted to see these images in a wholly symbolic light. or women clear fallen branches and prickly leaves from the trail. or on describing the ritual speech idioms that surround alliance relationships (Fox 1971). so too are paths made by action. Thus. the spokesman who reports back that “the door is stepped over. grasping with feet for roots to grip onto. I was prompted to consider the significance of this journey after interviewing a number of older. it is in the very process o f travel. Rather. and if one is to include the voices of women and young people as well as those of male ritual “specialists. Indeed. If you travel frequently along certain paths. we can begin to understand the significance o f referring to marriage as a “path. My argument here is much stronger than that o f writers who see eastern Indonesian marriage paths as simply an “image” or “reflection” o f real paths (McWilliam 1997. has a songlike quality to it. If we concentrate on these practices. Yet.114) and explains why. these paths do not preexist in the landscape. knowing that you are coming round a corner to a viewpoint. I focus on married women’s padong recollections.” T H E PA D O N G The Manggarai word padong cun be literally translated as “to lead by the hand. The process o f Manggarai marriage does not simply involve symbolic language o f paths and thresholds. but mothers. but also the actual performance o f a series o f bodily practices involving place— rooms. Padong journeys may be long or short. that paths are made. even for a padong within the village.9 Padong journeys are marked by emotional leave-taking and by the crying of the bride and her natal kin. 111. they are peri­ odically washed away. This crying. all of whom gave it a central place in their life stories. To consider these complex marriage paths in more detail. the bride’s wailing—which also occurs after the church wedding and when she is left behind in her new home— is considered a central motif of the marriage process. But. from village yard to field.81 : CHAPTER 3 P A T HS OF M A R R I A G E : 83 images o f place and movement. Moreover.

” During interviews with older women about their lives and marriages. Anita was then led out of her house. and not eating implies emotional upset. “If I die. I had forgotten to eat with my father. I couldn’t eat. Ine Kris’ distress at forgetting to eat with her father is typical o f these padong stories. Ine Kris went on to describe how she felt at the padong o f her own daughter. And start­ ing with lunch. after the “accompanying” ritual. Simus. travelling by truck for the hour’s journey from Kombo. was to the east in the lowlands. In a house nearby. I really cried! Until I got to the hill down there [she describes exacdy where the hill is]. Anita’s relatives shouted that if the bride’s friends could not accompany her there would be no padong. [I ask. mother. it is worth noting that some brides. the sound o f her crying affects the mood o f the whole village. until space was eventually made in the truck for her and a few friends. was an interesting case of the emotions of the marriage pro­ cess threatening to expose hostility between the bride and groom’s families. it was because she was going from eating all together with us. as she said goodbye to her widower father and younger siblings. Although Anita had recovered from this incident by the time she arrived in Kombo. and tempers flared on both sides.” echoing the ritual cry­ ing o f women after a death. Anita. despite the cry­ ing of her mother. The padong of Mateus’ bride.. she herself was given medicine to ensure she would remain “dry-eyed” until she reached her new village. Ine Aga. She told me that various “old people” were afraid that the love this man still felt for her would cause “unripeness” (ta’a ). they all dwelt. o f course. some men sitting on the roof or hanging onto the outside of the truck. that was why I cried. Ine Kata said she was given coconut medicine before her final marriage ritual to prevent her being “held onto” by a man in her home village who had wanted to marry her. prompted by a brides wailing. do not cry at their padong. Mateus. The next day. and after that. Rotok. confided that when she left her own natal village she had thought. where will my mother and father be ? N ot on the same land as me. “But she was still in the same village?”] Yes. And that was where I stopped crying. [I say. also wore protective medicine under his shirt during his church wedding and final ritual. Anita was met by a party of women come to “greet the young girl” (suru molas). Eh. the truck arrived in Rotok to take the padong party back to Kombo. Ai. autobiographical memories in Manggarai are not structured by objects or domestic animals (Hoskins 1998) but by the eating o f food and shedding o f tears. Although Min had married within the same village.. Feeding people and eating together are crucial means o f constitut­ ing closeness in Manggarai.” This shouting continued for some time. Several told me that they had been given “medicine” at their padong so that. Brides may also be given medi­ cine to protect them from the strong emotions of others. One young mother. Changed her room. on their crying. Anita becoming more distraught. At the edge of Kombo. The crying o f the bride and o f her relatives could. “You loved your vil­ lage?”] Yes. Ine Kris told me about her padong: Oh dear. she was in the same village. they could not cry. Mateus’ friends and relatives crammed themselves onto the hard wooden benches. I would be alone. her reception there still betrayed a sense in which the two sides were struggling over ownership of the bride. It soon became clear that there was little space left in the truck for Anita’s friends. A rather drunk Wae Rebo man then shouted back. they dressed Anita in a blouse and sarong of their own. be seen simply as a cultural convention rather than a sign o f real emotional distress. Older women in particular. brushing her hair into a differ- . Anita’s village. or even death. in spite of their emo­ tions. with both laughter and sadness. who tend to be rather scathing about what they see as the excessive crying o f contemporary brides. a young man from Wae Rebo. as hap­ pens at the end of all padong journeys. but she had changed her room. [She describes how she came back from the house where the wedding was taking place and cried. “We are the owners of this person” and “She’s already been paid for. and Mateus’ wedding party set off in the afternoon.84 : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 85 a rising and falling refrain o f “Oh. infertility. Grooms as well as brides may also be considered to be at risk (of strong emotions or harmful intentions) during the journeys of marriage. Min. despite feeling great sadness. O n the day o f a brides departure. Female relatives may lament how far away the new village is or talk o f other women who have moved away from their house. Ine Aga described “medicine” that her son. whether in the form of illness. wailing. For example. More­ over. may believe that crying places one in spiritual danger. struggling and chaotic. However. wore in his sarong during his wed­ ding to protect against the possible witchcraft of those in his bride’s village. ehhhh. Women also reflect on their own padong journeys. for example. that was why. told me that. Ine Kris still felt sad that they would no longer eat together as one “room” or household: The reason why I cried. because until then I could still see the village to the west.] I felt as if she had married into a village far away.

child.” I said. and I say. they really look. all these men came! They came to look at you! You couldn’t go alone to go outside [to the toilet]. If I looked to the south [in my natal village]. “So are people here different. My thoughts were sad. mar­ riage events also have a rather contrasting emotional tenor— one focused on the children or “growth” (beka) that the couple’s sexual relationship will pro­ duce. ceremony among the Merina o f Madagascar. and if I looked to the west. as a bride moves from one room and family to another. the wedding process and the padong journey also involve tense juxtapositions. often visiting a village for the first time. accompany her west to Wiko. just mountains. if I looked to the side and around me [she pauses]. “Oh.1 Bride and groom about to enter the village at the end of t h padong ent style and decorating it with a metal headdress. These people to the west. In Manggarai. [She pauses. where the bride is taken over by women o f the grooms party. among the young people accompanying a bride on her padong. [She laughs. The re-dressing o f the bride may sometimes be rather brusque. and reclothed in finery with a different hairstyle (Bloch 1978.] If it is the first time they have seen you. One woman recalled attending her sister’s padong in the 1970s: We went to accompany Anna in the past. “I would run away. They all flap their hands! Ai. which are “awkwardly juxtaposed” in the wedding ceremony.] Maybe they look here. they don’t do that?”] People here are dif­ ferent. and the drunken teasing indulged in by young men.86 : CHAPTER 3 PA T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 87 longing for the “land” (tana)— village.] [I ask. they do it until they just eat you!1 2 F i g u r e 3. [She describes a particular village in the west. partly stripped. Bloch explains this “taking over” with reference to the division o f the bride’s status between two places. ooh! Some of them come. a bride’s post -padong sadness is often experienced as a . in particular. a crowd o f young men gathered to laugh raucously at the crying o f the young women. but they are not really staring. In the lowlands. there was the sea. all mountains”] But here. 27). then. This re-dressing recalls a similar. Significantly. Indeed. travelling a long marriage path dramatically trans­ forms the landscape o f a woman’s daily life. the rather sexually charged atmosphere is something to be revelled in. but it can also be tender. The presence o f large parties o f unmarried young people. means that padong journeys have always provided an excellent opportunity for meeting a potential spouse. and they really disturb you by sitting with you! [She laughs. that’s what it is like. and general environment— o f her natal home. told me: Eh. more violent. “But here. a chance for a groom’s female kin to turn his new bride into one o f their own. I was sad after my padong. I could see all the villages to the west. Grooms themselves may occasionally join in this laughter. fields.10As one bride’s padong party departed from her new village. Ine Aga. although their bride’s sadness often leads them to shed a tear. people say that the egg that the bride must crush with her foot as she climbs into her new house is an explicit mark o f her new land. Indeed. is in sharp contrast to female tears. a woman in her sixties.” Although people feel great sadness as a bride leaves on her padong. When we arrived there. Indeed. we were open to the sky above. to the merciless delight o f their friends. if I could see the path. That’s what men from Lembor" are like. Well. everywhere [in Wae Rebo] there were mountains! But when I lived in the west.

For marriages within the same village. the “blood on feet” ritual literally marks the young woman’s assumption o f her new status as she is incorporated into those who her natal kin refer to as their woé. Whereas a padong bride knows that she will be allowed to visit home sometime after her arrival in her husband’s village.” During my field­ work.” sharing resources and labor with his parents. the trauma of the padong may be quickly forgotten as she settles comfortably into the routines of a familiar house. She must now relate to her natal kin. In one story told to me. not only as close relatives to whom she may return if her husband dies before the couple have children.” adding that she hadn’t cried. Sia. O LD A N D N E W PATHWAYS.” and processing.” the negotiation of new household arrangements. that the bride is transformed (cf. whether by humans or spirits. whose marriage was a “new path. and tensions frequently focus on if and when a new bride will start to “eat separately” from her mother-in-law. as we saw in Chapter i. This journey marks the final transformation in a bride’s status and is a key reason why Manggarai people refer to marriage as a “path.” people say of wéndol brides that they “just went. who had only . and of relations with her mother-in-law. For a tungku bride who follows an old path. Such “running away” denies the normal marriage practices of slow house climbing. a newly married couple should be incorporated into the husband’s natal “household/room. this atmosphere of excited flirting is particularly seen as people walk along together or squeeze next to each other on trucks. It’s the marriage of one community. involved the kidnapping of a girl. These are the past “steal­ ing” ( roko) of the bride and its modern equivalent. Pius. 17). While padong brides are “led by the hand. Significantly. P LA N N E D A N D H A S T Y JOURNEYS Although the padong is one of the defining features of the “path” of Manggarai marriage. the bride faces an even easier transition period. the “outsider” bride. like a pilgrim journeying to a sacred site. and on occasions when a tape player is found and an impromptu party takes place late into the night.204). I have quoted a few padong stories in an attempt to show the emotional significance o f the bride s move away from home. it is in the very process o f travel. either because she could not be persuaded to marry the man in question or because her family did not agree to the match.88 : CHAPTER 3 P A T HS OF M A R R I A G E : 89 Today. One woman remarked that “Things are dif­ ferent if you marry within the village. Indeed. Although I heard no reports of recent “stealing” marriages. 57-59). wéndol refers to a more recent type of marriage (growing in frequency throughout Manggarai) where the bride simply moves in with the man. of whom they are usu­ ally extremely fond. Roko. it was significant that the unwilling bride only became “calm” once her male relatives had found her hiding in their house and escorted her back to her husband in a more “official” ( resmi) style. many of those embarking on “joining” marriages will have spent much of their childhood visiting their “aunt” (inang).” complained that her husband’s elder brother’s “joining” wife was more accepted by the family and acted rather snootily towards Sia. from my observa­ tions. “captured” brides are always portrayed as panicking after their arrival and running away. In Manggarai. which can be compared with other forms of “marriage by capture” in eastern Indonesia (Barnes 1999. Ide­ ally. either without the knowl­ edge of her parents or before the correct procedures have taken place.” However. this practice still holds great imaginative sway over people’s minds and leads to endless rumors of bridal capture. “running away” (wéndol). for a bride forging a “new path. shocking her family. this kind of arrangement is often difficult to manage practically. it is certainly the case that tungku matches are particularly favored by poorer families as they are less costly than “new paths. framed by departure and arrival. The lack of familiarity that may make a “new path” a source of tension is particularly pronounced in two forms of marriage involving a more rapid movement of the bride along her marriage path.” Of greater significance is the fact that a woman travelling a new path of marriage faces many more unknowns in her husband’s village as compared with the bride whose marriage “joins the path” of a father’s sister or other female relative.” Indeed. However. A t the end o f the padong. However. it would seem that a “joining” bride is far more likely to “eat together” with her mother-in-law than an unconnected bride. it is important to consider how a bride’s initial experi­ ence of married life is profoundly influenced by the type of path she trav­ els. By contrast with the violence of marriages by capture. but also as an alliance group who are owed appropriate gifts and respect. Turner 1973. a relatively egalitarian place that does not classify people into “commoners” or “nobles. protective “accompanying.” different types of marriage are not associated with upholding or undermining hierarchy as they are in the Tanimbar islands (McKinnon 1991. although th e padong ideally is a woman’s first bridal journey. may be rather more fraught. since “It’s not as if I was far away. a young woman called Sisi ran off with a man while attending the final marriage ritual of her own brother.

informal processes o f shared village life. is a woman’s initial visit home after her padong. And if not. for they are primarily described and experienced as overly hasty movement along a path. and who may live very near to the houses o f their fathers and brothers. the wéndol bride weeps not as she departs but as she returns. Significantly. as one would someone who had travelled a long distance. that lead those walking through the forest. as much as the emotionally intense padong. It was always like that. often rather humorously. women often make a point o f taking extra helpings. I watched as one old man greeted his married daughter extremely formally. “Me. we pounded it well. you aren’t motivated to travel. an alli­ ance relationship remembered. the hosts start to count how many “paths” are attending. Thus. This is spoken of. made this greeting particularly striking. his family will make “requests for money” (sida) from their various “married sisters/daughters. retravel­ ling a path to visit a woman’s natal kin becomes a more formal process. as “becoming a guest” (pande meka). Iné Kata told me that after the death o f her par­ ents she didn’t travel back much to her home village. I saw three small girls. I took that again.. as it involves re-creating a more formal. “If you don’t have a mother and father. Sisi visited Kombo with her new husband and his family. sitting in the doorway playing.1’ Nevertheless. seated on the guest-mats. and at their feet were three wooden . Sisi began to cry loudly as soon as the truck drew up outside her parents’ house. alliance relationship out o f the everyday. if I went to the west. when recalling return visits. in daily life. Interestingly. I took rice.” In later years. Ehh. or taking a truck up to town. as by their self-conscious walk there. the retravel­ ling o f a marriage path is achieved as much by formal etiquette and spatial arrangements inside the “collecting” house. are very intimate both touching and amusing. saying. as she never officially “left” in the first place. when she was near to death. O T H E R J O U R N E Y S A L O N G M A R R I A G E P A T HS One o f the first journeys in which a marriage path is retrodden. at one collecting ritual. the relationship it creates between alliance groups should con­ tinue to be marked by journeys between their respective houses or villages. and I took dried meat. People seem to find such displays o f hospitable politeness between those who. I took a chicken [slight pause]. When mother was ill again.90 : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 91 just become reconciled with Pius’ own “running away” marriage. For example.” just as they make them before the final death rituals described in the previous chapter. [she pauses] if I was just going to visit. often undertaken by the woman’s husband or sons. it is significant that from an early age young girls appear to appreciate the impor­ tance o f “becoming a guest” in their natal home. if we had harvested rice.. probably after having a number o f children.” Indeed. rather like pushing through the forest undergrowth without carefully cutting a trail.. For example. child [refer­ ring to me]. and (as we saw in Chapter 1) sisters will mockingly call one another “sister-in-law” (ipar) as they cook together. that was all that I took to do a good turn for the old people who had looked after me in the past. The fact that this woman. A month or so after this event. For those women who are married within Wae Rebo-Kombo. however a mar­ riage begins. Passing by a house one day. As guests crowd into a house where a “collecting” ritual is being held. After a meeting to deter­ mine what sums are to be requested. because. married to a Kombo man.. where she often helped with cooking or chat­ ted with her unmarried sisters. Unlike the bride who leaves on an official padong. I took a chicken. The woman was ushered through into the central corridor o f the house. They had oversized sarongs wrapped around their small bodies. when a man is preparing to marry. aged between three and five. to point out a par­ ticular woman’s “path” to their fellow travellers. presenting gifts to “praise the patience” o f Sisi’s father. and took it to give to mother. child. the groom’s “brothers” set out along the paths o f these married women. women will make these visits less frequently. I’m a guest now. was a frequent informal visitor in her father’s house. Such visits are both emotional reunions and a solidification o f the woman’s transformation into an out-married “sister or daughter” (woé). Here. the landscape o f social relations is seen in the webs formed by these journeys outwards from a center along paths o f alliance. As they are served coffee and cakes by those well known to them. Iné Aga told me: “ . Joking within the village reinforces this: men will often ask girls if they have brought a chicken (the usual gift from out-married women) to give them. These less orderly forms o f marriage still indicate the significance o f mar­ riage as a series o f journeys.” Instead. It is these journeys. many women dwelt on the kinds o f foodstuffs they had taken back along their path to their parents. Later. bringing the requested sums to a large ritual called “collecting up” (ongko). and ceremoniously handed coffee and a plate o f banana cakes. these webs are retraced as male representatives o f the “married sisters/daughters” travel back along their path. and organizing a hur­ ried bridewealth negotiation.

groups o f affines began to gradually arrive in Kombo to join in the ritualized crying. are often considered to be as significant as the movement o f people. claiming that her brothers had “forgotten” her and her path. “Auntie. He said that since he had no sisters there had been no “joining” marriages in his genera­ tion. preparing such goods is as much a part o f journeys along marriage paths as are the actions o f departure. Across the region.9Z : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 93 bowls filled with earth. in the Tanimbar islands.However. 37). After the death o f one young child. although he was extremely fond o f his aunt. this shows that it is not only people who travel along marriage paths but also exchange goods. one often sees people walking along carrying a live chicken in a basket or strap­ ping a trussed-up pig onto the back o f a truck as they set o ff for a marriage event. “path” primarily refers to the direction o f exchange goods: the “path o f beasts and ear pendants goes to wife givers. the main exchange goods given— rice and livestock— connect with the importance o f commensality in Manggarai social life. metaphors such as “planting” prevail (Fox 1971): the mother’s brother may be called the “trunk” . These are called supak and are a key gift from a woman’s natal kin. she refused to attend his final death ritual. paths are overwhelmingly imagined as being travelled by people. men will also make more spontaneous. For Manggarai people. Talis stressed that this was a journey he made only rarely. he hoped that one o f his own daughters would in the future contract such a marriage. travelling creates and renews paths o f alliance. Moreover. As we climbed up out o f Wae Rebo on an overgrown path. walking. W hen news reached one woman that her father had died. when affinal ties are reactivated by a series o f mortuary rituals. Today. and arrival.” Although people travel to a “collecting” ritual in response to a formal request. Although apparently spontaneous. I once walked with Talis and Odi. the parents o f five children. Indeed. W hen I walked with one woman through the forest to her natal village. Talis’ journey was made at a time after harvesting when he was able to take an appropriate gift o f rice. envisaging his j ourney as that o f a loving nephew rather than a “motherfather” (iné-amé) member with a specific request. her father-in-law recalled a time in the past when he had helped to bring a buffalo along the same path. as it is human movement that makes a trail. in order to maintain links with this aunt and so that he could continue to travel along this favorite path. and arrivals and departures lead to communal meals and tears. For the Kodi o f Sumba. they are always cooked small bundles o f rice intricately tied up with palm leaves. As described earlier. Such amne­ sia can occasionally have dangerous consequences. and children as they stop for a rest by the path on their journey home. such acts o f ingestion are closely connected with acts o f release. while the “path o f cloth and pigs” leads to the wife tak­ ers (Needham 1980. the significance o f marriages being paths that are formed by travel is that sometimes they may become overgrown and neglected. male and female valuables flow in opposite directions along exchange pathways (McKinnon I9 9 I> n 3). This demonstrates how Manggarai men feel the paths o f various womenfolk as emotionally resonant trails in their own kinship landscapes. and are often eaten by the woman. Although not con­ tracting a “joining” marriage. in Manggarai. Rather. Moreover. Not only did this man’s journey mirror his daughter’s padong to Kombo. as when one “new path” bride died shortly after her padong to her husband’s village. Memories o f pathways are quite literally fed by communal meals o f rice and meat. but his tears echoed her own crying when she had left her natal vil­ lage long ago. we are becoming guests. W hen I asked them what they were doing they of course replied. W hen married “sisters and daughters” are due to return from a visit to their natal home. particularly the shedding o f tears. her husband. These “rooting” rituals raise the issue o f how the images and actions o f movement that I have described here relate to the botanical idioms common in eastern Indonesian kinship talk. as women’s recollections o f their marriages showed. The flow o f tears along marriage paths is particularly apparent after a death. the groom’s kin should still have respected the origins o f their family’s blood by returning to sacrifice a chicken with their original “mother-father. O f course. The most poignant o f these arrivals was that o f the child’s maternal grandfather. or the money taken for a “collecting” ritual. Throughout eastern Indonesia. who wailed loudly as he entered the village.” Such rituals to “root the feet” in an origin village are also common before marriage rituals or (as described in Chapter 6) before a young person goes away to study. Talis was visiting his deceased fathers sister. it is a mat­ ter o f emphasis: Manggarai paths are always conceived o f as paths o f people rather than exchange goods. Many saw this as the responsibility o f the groom’s kin. emotional journeys along marriage paths. whether valuables or perishables. such livestock are often used to represent groups related through marriage. This is not to say that people in Sumba or Tanimbar do not also pay attention to the movements o f persons along paths o f exchange. never travelling to see her or inform her o f family events. who had failed to “root” the marriage journey with the groom s mother’s natal kin in Wae Rebo. However. Similarly. As with Iné A gas recollections o f taking chickens to her mother. such movements o f exchange goods. to a village northwest o f Wae Rebo.

Such an approach to marriage is crucial if one is to show women as more than simply the channel for male relationships. Tsing 1993. Moreover. Failing to “feed” and remember these roots will inevitably damage the prosperity and fertility o f the woman. Ethnographically. who are in turn conceived as shoots or “sprouts” (McKinnon 1991. A woman is rather like a forest climber as. her husband. suggesting the existence o f a number o f possible routes. and men as more than simply the givers or takers of women. this is why it is important to translate the Manggarai term in é-am é as “mother-father. by comparison.” Indeed. this is not to deny that there are key differences between men and women with regard to mobility and identity throughout the life cycle.” rather than “wife-givers. and following a common southeast Asian pattern of male travel and migration (Rosaldo 1980. blurs the boundaries between real and symbolic trails. and those involved in an alliance connection must travel. she does not travel with them but stays behind to “root” their journey. however far she may travel along her marriage path. will sometimes say “Well. women divide their time and allegiances between two places and two sets of kin. some more correct than others. including th e. as they struggle to establish a new household while travelling back with gifts for their parents. or even travel as far as Malaysia. it also involves a number o f actual journeys. In Manggarai. this chapter has revealed more individual. perhaps receiving land in their natal villages. Moreover. though travelling an old.” a concept widespread in eastern Indonesia. By arguing that travelling paths constitutes kinship and marriage. and informal visits to remembered aunts. For. Such paths are kept open through active remember­ ing. because the notion o f a path implies both a beginning point and an end point (Parmentier 1987.” and ransomed journeys held at alliance events. as do the kinds o f gifts that might be appreci­ ated. Thus. with textiles presented to “place” and “accompany. paths are avenues o f communication that have to be found. They may work for cash on regional road-building projects. no marriage path can be assumed to be fixed and unchang­ ing. once a married woman has reached old age. 464) o f his sisters children. it is worth noting that path imagery also appears in other contexts o f Manggarai life. The Manggarai marriage process is surrounded by the spatial symbolism o f ritual metaphors. nuanced. newly married Manggarai wives could be said to be “women in between. elders sitting down with chickens. 132). goods that open up lines o f communication at rituals— most notably money and chickens— may be described as “paths. When newly married. in day-to-day life. alliance relationships are often neglected or forgotten. an older married woman no longer appears “in between. Such a use o f path imagery connects with the more risky aspects o f alliance relationships in Manggarai.” By contrast. Despite dire predictions of the fatal consequences of doing so. These journeys constitute marriage paths as both trails through the landscape and historical connec­ tions between families. the source o f her reproductive capacity and labor always remains in her roots o f origin. and informal aspects of eastern Indonesian life. Unlike women. the undergrowth reclaiming a route to history. such that when her own children marry. Mang­ garai men have more freedom to travel beyond the local to gain access to outside power. Hicks 1984). she will have become very much an “insider” in her husband’s village. Their “outsider” sisters.” More intriguingly.94 : CHAPTER 3 P A T H S OF M A R R I A G E : 95 (Barnes 1974. W ith time. botanical images o f “rooting” connect with the significance o f origins. However. However. For example. Such unmarried women sometimes say that they have not married because they “love the land. by contrast with the cosmological stress of traditional Leiden School ethnography. In Marilyn Strathern’s (1972) apt phrase. journeys along marriage paths by affines acknowledge the (hierarchical) connection o f “roots” and stretchy plants. seeking wealth and experience. journeys to death rituals. Thus.” they have not focused on the transformative power of time and reproduction in this way. G E N D E R E D M O V E M E N T A N D T H E L A N D S C A P E OF RELATEDNESS This chapter has shown how the Manggarai concept o f a marriage “path. let’s find the right path!” Here. 149) or “ground” (Beatty 1990. her mother is considered a core member of the clan branch that ensures her safe passage to the groom’s kin. in ).” since when a daughter marries. tungku path is rela­ tively easy.” Indeed. forging a new connection is more difficult: the twists and turns o f the way remain unpredictable. an outsider bride becomes a mother who is central to the figuration of alliance relationships. ready to begin a ritual. Although other ethnographers have described the asymmetries involved in the relation­ ship between groups described as “mother-father” and “sister/daughter. may choose to show independence by not travelling in marriage. this chapter has challenged those approaches that would see eastern Indonesian marriage alliance as constituted only by rules and classifications (Need­ ham 1966. it is literally “outsider” women who keep the . bringing with them stories. and foodstuffs. gifts.padong. 192. 127-128). and their children.

as well as for other mysterious phenomena. the more disorientated one becomes. houses. However. A n older man thought such disorientation was the work o f forest spirits (darat). Water The Animate Landscape In March 1999. Those sitting near me in the house stressed that when a person becomes lost in the forest it is often the work o f a spirit. Stone. he returned to the village the next day) is just one example o f a range o f narratives and practices by which people in southern Manggarai reflect on and engage with a landscape that to them is profoundly animate. As the discussion broke up. affinal ties are not free-floating connections. and paths are connected with pro­ . there was alarm that one o f the garden-huts in a far-off field was on fire. and dancing. These activities all give the cumulative landscape o f kinship a potent role in evoking memories o f births. Yet the landscape is not only one o f lively sociality. songs. this chapter has focused on the experience and memory o f marriage as a path connect­ ing dwellings and villages. It then emerged that the flames were from the torches o f villagers who had gone to look for Lorens. a young man called Lorens went missing in the forests around Wae Rebo after going there to gather rattan. pigs. Manggarai kin­ ship and marriage is intimately connected with the landscape. A t first. 4 Earth. and its own dangers. was “really/actually the land” (tana muing). Similarly. current. but others were not sure this would be effective. I have explored the ways in which rooms. this agricultural landscape also evokes memo­ ries— o f raising children. the power o f a lively house or an old. walking round and round in a circle. a kind o f spirit that appears as a walking ball o f fire on paths through fields or forests. The more the spirit does this. so that when you think you are walking towards the mountains. and engage with. As we have seen. as well as a woman’s ability to bear healthy children. its own desires. who often kidnap human children. and chickens. A Mang­ garai dwelling makes little sense (and indeed is sterile) without the paths o f married women leading to and away from it. Such a spirit changes the direction o f the land.kaka-tana). It is also produced by everyday practices in and out o f houses— calling out to children in a neighboring house. but are “rooted” in an origin place. people feel. If Chapters i and i emphasized the entanglement o f people with rooms and the movements o f households between different houses. The story o f Lorens’ disappearance (happily. when villag­ ers had gathered in my house for food. it is also a fertile maze o f past. News o f his disappearance emerged on the evening o f my own leaving party. the potency o f the landscape as a realm o f kinship is not simply a product o f the agency o f such key places. tapping into outside powers while retaining a land-based identity. As we shall see.1 In the previous three chapters. this “land” has its own concerns. but this land­ scape is not separate from travel or movement. can all be influenced by the agency o f household rooms. The significance o f paths to the constitution o f Manggarai kinship and marriage demonstrates the problems with taking for granted the “house-based” nature o f eastern Indonesian sociality. and future fields where crops are grown. In addition. deaths. and as the next chapter will reveal. a num­ ber o f people stated that the reason for such disappearances. well-trodden path. Throughout their lives. who provide the domestic anchor that allows a village to negotiate a balance o f dwelling and travelling. or o f escaping from noisy (and nosey) village life. later depositing them at the top o f a cliff or in some other inaccessible place. you are actually walking towards the sea. relationships between a husband and wife or between a mother-in-law and her son’s bride. cooking cassava in a saucepan. Someone sug­ gested that the only way to make the spirit leave such areas o f the forest might be to build a church there. A woman whispered that it might be the api-ja.c)6 : CHAPTER 3 home fires burning. One woman said that the spirit that had caused Lorens’ disappearance was probably the “land-creature” (. sharing a ciga­ rette while sitting on guest-mats— and by a historical sequence o f movements along a marriage path. and marriages. Someone coming in from outside reported that they had seen flames on the mountain slopes to the east.

of varying shapes and sizes. bananas. cassava. People say that it is the “heat” of a new field that makes it fertile. or gathering forest products. I discuss how best to analyze peoples engagements with the land as a powerful agent. and that by the time of its third or fourth years it has become “cold. Therefore. various beans. although coffee and other crops including cloves. and vanilla plants. candlenut. W hat is striking in southern Manggarai is that. carefully burnt off. Yet. while a num­ ber also grow hill-rice. citrus fruits. and a wider vari­ ety of tubers and vegetables. families farm small plots of sawah. can be used to plant a wider variety of crops than during subsequent years of farming. one important ecological benefit of a two-placed village is that people are able to grow a wide range of different plants and crops. marquisa fruit. In general. orange and lime trees. the marks o f which accumulate in fields and on stone platforms.2This is largely subsistence cultivation. maize. means that small sections of highland gardens will continue to be visited in order to pick coffee fruit. even when the surrounding field lies fallow. follow­ ing the appropriate ritual procedure. ground nuts. wedge-shaped gardens (moho). which can be roughly translated as “wherever there was a lodok before. and paths. despite the importance o f Catholicism to other areas o f life (such as marriage practices). In this chapter. both to ensure the ongoing presence o f beneficial forces and to protect human activities from amoral or malevolent energies. cloves. In the next chapter. In dry fields in Wae Rebo. crops grow more quickly in the hot lowlands. all have permanent names. this environment also gains value from the performance o f ritual. we saw how both “blood on feet” and “praising” rituals create the presence o f rooms as ancestral agents. the inhabitants of Wae Rebo-Kombo continue to depend for their livelihoods on agricul­ ture. a number of people based fairly permanently in Kombo have sold highland gardens to villagers based in Wae Rebo. Throughout Mangga- . however. it has had relatively little influence on understandings o f the animate landscape. houses. “spider s web” pattern on the land. WATER: THE ANIMATE LAN DSC APE : 99 cesses o f kinship and marriage. this “ownership” entailed a sense of people belonging to certain plots of land but lacking the right to alienate that garden. Such an environment gains value and is enlivened by everyday activities such as planting and weeding crops. They may also maintain. yams. while rituals for “living in” (wee) a house explicitly ask the lands help in making a house a protective shelter. kole lingko. Ownership of individual gardens within these fields is based roughly on a system of patrilineal inheri­ tance. The system of shifting cultivation in Wae Rebo-Kombo is referred to as olo olo lodok. FIELDS AND TH E A G R I C U L T U R A L CYCL E Like the overwhelming majority of Manggarai people. the “lived-in environment” (Ingold 2000. In Sebu. Thus. as well as the wider impact o f state resettlement policies. These connections follow a common Mangga­ rai logic. and vegetables in dry fields near to Kombo and have jackfruit and mango trees near their Kombo house. others near houses. I have also considered the ways in which ritual performances make aspects o f place that may not always emerge in everyday practices explicit. some a good hike away from the village center. Historically. papaya.” Some fields near Kombo also have names. a development that has made many nervous and has brought to the fore the difficulties of maintain­ ing interests in both highland and lowland sites.” The planting of coffee trees. in recent years. partly because most farming efforts in the low­ lands are concentrated on the rice fields in Sebu. after describing the agricultural and other activities that give value to the land. At the center of this circular field is the lodok or ritual center. but may also be personal and contingent. Fields (um a ) fan out in all directions around Wae Rebo. cucumbers. it is first cleared and then. through a consideration o f the differences between Wae Rebo and Kombo. fetching water.98 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. Here. around which carousel the individually owned. when it is referred to as an uma lokang. and how this is connected to understandings o f Manggarai “custom” (adat). sweet potatoes. I turn my attention to the wider landscape. forests. such as “crab water field” and “boil a pig field. Rituals are significant in explicitly acknowledging the existence o f a spiritual landscape beyond the visible land. water sources. as with rooms. When a dry field is due to be reopened. and vanilla are sold in markets for cash. However. but more frequent rains and cooler temperatures in the highlands support coffee. STONE. pumpkins. means that most households farm a variety of crops in a variety of locations. together with the ownership of governmentdonated wet-rice fields (sawah) in Sebu near the coast. The split of the village between two sites. and leafy vegetables. These fields. and stone platforms. families plant red hill-rice.” Traditional Manggarai fields are called lingko and form a circular. maize. in fields or small gardens near to houses. I trace out some o f the links between people and the land. sugar palms (tuak). with fathers dividing up their gardens among those sons who remain in the village. A newly opened field is referred to as an uma rana in its first year of planting and. there will be a lingko again. though these are less well known by residents. 168) o f fields. picking coffee. enriched by wood ash. coffee.

it becomes difficult to see very far at all.” Similarly. In this instance. not simply the work one happened to be performing at the time. reestablishing the field boundary. The marking o f time specifically according to the appearance o f the land. let alone to the slopes o f far-off fields. W hen people talk about past events. the time around September was called rasi. xxxi). feeding pigs. This conveys a real sense that it is the land that reflects the time o f day. can also be seen in two further instances.” made more specific by reference to hamlet locations or unusual events (ibid. and harvested. The agricultural cycle. affective bond. often dilapidated gardenhuts. like an odour. whereby “a nut or fruit tree. in Wae Rebo. planted.55-56): not only are fields circular. or returning to their houses after visiting. during the dense. the shape and layout o f circular lingko fields are explicitly compared with circular n ian g houses (Erb 1999. S TON E. they were reminded o f and spoke about the last time they had lived in and farmed that field. which a number o f older people in Wae Rebo continued to use but which have gradually been replaced by the calendar months. It also means that sunlight hits the mountains to the west before it hits the village. and o f new fields as they are burnt. Thus. O f course. and in particular the process o f reopening fal­ low fields after a period o f perhaps twenty years. around which fields will be periodically reopened and then left to become fallow again. Ame Lodo described how he first went to school “when the maize was flowering in the new field. just as the changing appearance o f crops or trees. the very process o f physically being in the field— rebuild­ ing the hut. an intense. The equivalence o f “room” and dwelling in huts makes them a focus for household intimacy. This is very similar to Kiichler s description o f people in New Ireland reencountering places o f memory. low clouding o f the rainy season. The first are the old names for the seasons or months o f the year. and how they view the changing nature o f their surroundings. Ine Sisi told me it was better to raise a young family in a garden-hut because you were close to all kinds o f vegetables and didn’t have to carry heavy loads back to the village. they often do so not simply by refer­ ence to fields that were open at the time but also by indicating the appearance o f crops in those fields. Indeed. the system o f shifting cultivation. has a profound effect on people’s recalling o f their pasts. fundamentally influences local understandings o f time. Because the cycle o f cultivation meant that Mnong Gar returned to cultivate a field after ten or twenty years. where seasonal produce might be claimed by others. these old names refer to the flowering o f particular trees or plants. Jokes about couples who spend . structures the year. In particular. George Condominas described how the Mnong Gar o f Vietnam designate years with the phrase “We ate the forest o f. “Afternoon land!” (M ane tana!). For example. Ine Anas described how her eldest daughter was born “at the time o f the ketang plant field. with old.100).” However. Nevertheless. In a classic ethnography o f southeast Asian shifting cultivators. people packing up a weaving loom.” or a man will describe his father dying “at the time o f the prosperous field. A mother will talk about her child being born “at the time o f the likop stone field. In a similar manner. This gives the village a rather snug feeling. they experience “topophilia” (Tuan 1974). We have already seen how such huts can be places to escape both the stresses o f sharing in communal houses and tensions with other villagers. owing to the flowering o f areca nut trees.IOO : CHAPTER 4 EA RT H. fetching water from a nearby stream— brought back memories o f this time to them. The local description o f shifting agriculture creates a sense o f the perm a n en ce o f rit­ ual centers.’ I noticed that they also frequently looked at the length o f shadows on the mountains around them before deciding whether it was time to visit their gardens or if they could go to bathe before boiling water for early evening coffee. In general. just as houses have a central house-post and are divided into individual rooms. Wae Rebo people designate years by reference to which named fields were opened and farmed at that time.” that is always commented on by new brides. Although people often commented to me that they could tell the time o f day according to the calls o f chickens and other birds. but they have a communal ritual center and are divided into individual gardens. The second instance o f marking time according to the changing appear­ ance o f the land is something that occurs extremely casually. a plant or a piece o f wall.” followed by a place-name (1994 [1957]» xxxi). W hen a couple in their fifties reopened a garden in a field far from Wae Rebo. Condominas states that “the same term serves to denote two years separated by one or two decades. and on a daily basis. and peoples experience o f it. may trigger a recollection o f social relations and o f past social conditions” (1993.. it is surrounded on almost all sides by mountains. Garden-huts or “monkey-huts” (hekangkodeY are the focus for intense place-attachments not only because o f their connections with the opening and closing o f fields but also because life in garden-huts has a rather different tenor or flavor to that in village houses. WATER: T HE A N I M A T E L A N D S C A P E : IOI rai.. the cycle o f shifting cultivation influences not only how people describe the past but also how they reexperience it. will sigh. and lingers for longer on the mountains to the east after sunset. Owing to the village’s location in a dell.” as the tops o f the rice stalks were beginning to droop. when their (now grown-up) children were small. termed “living in a saucepan..

When I visited people in their fields.. but they will not inspect its stomach or throw food to ancestral spirits. particularly since (as the next chapter will show) monkey-huts constructed some distance from a village always carry the potential of becoming a new village site. while at the same time appearing to take a certain nostalgic comfort from using them. and harvesting. Ingolds argument is extremely pertinent to an understand­ ing of Manggarai agricultural activities. only a few people are rumored to be charismatics. highly respected. Freeman 1970. This kind of self-deprecating language is also a common way of discussing agricultural produce. but also from numerous ritual pro­ cedures that are considered essential to the production of a successful crop (cf. saying really.56).1 S ittin g ou tsid e a m o u n ta in m o n ke y -h u t more time in their garden-huts than in shared houses. priest of the parish appears to have had few problems with adat . there is wide variation throughout the Manggarai region in the frequency and manner of sacrificial rituals.” even before presenting me with large bags of beans to take back to my house.159).” from “mytho-religious” activities. in the area of southern Manggarai with which I am familiar. we In the context of a discussion of hunter-gatherers’ perceptions of their environments. not only from weeding. 210). Most others. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LAN DSC APE : 103 should have cucumbers. they always made a big show of apolo­ gizing for these old-fashioned implements. storytelling and the narration of myth” are “ways of dwelling” through which the environment “enters directly into the constitution of per­ sons” (ibid. stressing that such bowls were what were used in the past. understood as part of the cultural “construction of the environment” (2000. the most common way to refer to such charismatics is as people who “don’t eat medicine. many religious teachers (gu ru agam a) are said to practice a form of Catholicism known as karismatik. When visiting one another in gardenhuts. Because respect for “custom” (adat ) and rituals “has varied very much from priest to priest” (Erb 2006. still speak of the fertile power of spirits and ancestors. In both symbolic and practical terms. However. people tend to downplay the success of their crops. people in monkey-huts eat out of gourd bowls (sewak ). This is not to deny that sometimes wild animals do destroy crops. as I shall show. In par­ ishes to the west of my fieldwork sites. but the monkeys have had them all. The previous. is partly concerned with acknowledging unseen presences in the landscape. huts are also associated with fertility. The character of huts also owes much to the kinds of objects used in them. STONE. including regular attendees at the Dengé church.10 2 CHAPTER 4 EARTH. Ingold stresses how both subsistence activities a n d “singing. 57). and were what you ate out of when going to work cooperatively. and the necessity of holding agricultural and other rituals. and drink from easily transportable tin or plastic cups.” even when I knew they had already eaten many cucumbers. as well as comments that some unmarried women made about being visited by suitors in huts. Owing to the reduced storage space. Such “charis­ matic” Catholics might kill a chicken for a life-cycle ritual in a house. By contrast with such an analytical separation. sug­ gest an association between these small buildings and sex. In Wae Rebo-Kombo. AGRICULTURAL RITUAL AND SPEECH-OFFERINGS F i g u r e 4. understood as concerned with “subsistence. as well as the need to keep good crockery in houses for receiving guests. Tim Ingold has problematized the conventional anthropo­ logical separation of “practical-technical” activities. and they are said to hold agricultural rituals that lack sacrifices and focus mainly on prayer.” as they usually reject the efficacy of heal­ ing practices that involve “blowing” spells into roots or water. in which fields gain value. or “we only have a little pro­ duce. planting. but to point to a style of speaking which.

. while wus is a ritual. This is followed by the presentation of eggs as substitute “palm wine” and of rice and cooked meat as “food for the ancestors. further bits of ritual apparatus are placed there: a tall. and is surrounded by prohibitions. m ). WATER: T H E A N I M A T E L A N D S C A P E : 105 ritual procedures so long as people also attended church and had their chil­ dren baptized. Opening up and burning the scrub o f a fallow field may involve anti-rain magic (toka). because in many respects such platforms plant ritual speech in the ground. led by the “head o f the teno stake” (tu’a teno). the field leader plants a thick stake with a rounded top in the ground. As with rituals in houses. as in other contexts where Christianity has not been adopted “under exclusivist constraints” but has become “a matter o f enculturation and education” (Anderson 2003. The burning o f the field is called “the big machete” rather than “fire. a large ritual called males is held to “thrust in” the crops. and who were therefore less concerned with maintaining clear boundaries.104 : CHAPTER 4 EA RTH. to “root the land. more offering stones on a shelf. For example. Thus.” one o f a number o f riddles that. the accumulated evidence of various platforms and offerings is what marks out (to both humans and nonhumans) the ritual center of a field. Keane s own recent work (2007) analyzes a historical clash between the semiotic ideology of Dutch Calvinism—which saw speech and materiality as utterly distinct— and that of ancestral ritualists on the island of Sumba. To re-create the lodok ritual cen­ ter. at the time o f planting. In the Introduction. also seems to have a rather tolerant attitude. so a ritual center looks very different during the various stages in the planting and growth of a new field. signs that steadily accumulate with the progress of the agricultural year.59). at later rituals. A man with “three fingers” physically measures this at the stake at the ritual center. marking the boundary o f his garden with sticks laid out on the ground (lander). evidence of human endeavor and the correct performance of ritual. The wedge-shaped gardens o f individual men are then worked out according to how many “fingers” o f land they have. or damaged crops through falling stones and minor landslides. though as Chapter 6 will discuss. these sticks are explicitly compared with the supporting struts o f a conical niang roof. In line with the parallels drawn between circular fields and houses. This “teno stake” marks the exact center o f the circular field and is the point from which calculations o f individual gardens are made. and a largish piece of wood hung from the offering shelf and used for attaching chicken wing feathers and pig ears. fields are not only connected with houses through spatial arrangements but also through practices of commensality that stress the coming-together of equals (whether individual gardens or rooms). including a ban on women washing saucepans (associated with fire) in the stream. it is worth considering the “semiotic ideology” that may be at play in the context of Manggarai agricultural ritual. many people told me that this priest had encouraged them “not to forget” such ritual practices. as well as the timing o f ritual events. Thus. in order to under­ stand the links between ritual speech and the materiality of the field cen­ ter. peo­ ple remain open to and interested in a variety o f understandings and practices. Though a ritual position. “rooting” is also a key trope of Manggarai kinship and of procedures connected with journeys. those held at the field center involve a ritual speech (tura) before the sacrifice of chickens or a small pig. I noted the important role of phenomenological perspectives in criticizing “representational” or “constructionist” approaches to place and landscape. Next. These offerings. This is certainly the very practical context to this emphasis on “rooting” in agricultural rituals. for whom words and things were not so radically separate. At the reopening. it has been estimated that 70 percent o f all arable land in Flores is found on mountain slopes and hillsides with over a fiftydegree incline (Prior 1988. Indeed. two bare “trees” with spindly branches. since the holder makes decisions about the dividing up o f fields. a large flat “offering rock” is placed on the ground for the ritual presentation o f betel quids. This “making o f the lodok” marks the beginning o f a series o f rituals held before each stage in the agricultural process. wooden dedicating post. 419). Indeed. Communal agricultural rituals are particularly important in ensuring the success o f a new field. Just as the appearance of a field changes as crops grow and are harvested. The current priest. Moreover.” and then by a meal for all participants. are closely connected with ritual speech.128). He then traces lines all the way to the edge o f the field. there is a very real risk o f soil erosion through heavy rain. as we shall see. held once crops have started to grow. individual garden owners will come together to clear it (bula). Once the field has been burnt. the tua teno is aptly described as a “land manager” (Moeliono 2000.” As the major­ ity o f Wae Rebo fields are on extremely steep slopes. and the temporary or stone platforms on which they are placed. STON E. though he is less encouraging and does not attend the sacrificial element o f communal rituals. Thus. acknowledge the unseen pres­ ence o f spirits. Like the offering platforms hung inside houses. the field center receives a teno stake and offering stone. The notion of “semiotic ideology” has been developed by Webb Keane to describe “basic assumptions about what signs are and how they function in the world” (2003. Indeed. a key aspect of agricultural rituals is that they involve leaving marks on the field center. these signs gradually accumulate on the field center.

in the case o f communal rituals. This is seen most obviously by the steady accumulation o f markers and offerings on the field center as the agricultural year progresses. this phenomenological privileging o f bodily experi­ ence over speech threatens to replace one Western ideology (the separation o f nature and culture) with another (the separation o f words from things and subjects). albeit o f the non-human sort” (2005. the correct speech spoken. and platforms hanging in F i g u r e 4 . In Manggarai. listen­ ers to both formal and informal talk. speech is always accompanied by the placing o f offerings.5During rituals.” As Andie Diane Palmer stresses with regard to Secwepemc discourse. offerings are placed on bamboo platforms that hang from the rafters.. on the lodok. Manggarai people see such speech-offerings as acknowledging and ensuring the continued presence o f ancestral and other spirits. I was told that these platforms and offerings provide “material evidence” to ancestral and other spirits that the correct rituals have been held. thought that ritual words gained efficacy by resting on the “base” provided by material objects. and after rituals in fields they are placed on spe­ cially constructed tripods o f sticks and stones6 or. Moreover. or as texts or discourses” (ibid. By creating hybrid speechobjects in this way. though. ancestral and other spirits are “interlocutors” in this sense. wooden tripods in fields eventually fall apart. 28) steers the analyst away from regarding landscapes as “systems o f signs. However. O f course. most offerings are fairly impermanent: betel quids rot or are blown away. a hearer. Ritual speech is therefore not separate from the material offerings it involves. although offerings may also include eggs. Sumba. the objects they leave behind continue to influence ancestral actors. STONE. Rather. These usu­ ally consist o f betel quids and small amounts o f rice and cooked meat (“food for the ancestors”). Let us therefore now consider such spirits in more detail. and viewers o f emplaced offerings. such offerings emplace speech: they are “speech-offerings” that actively and materially constitute ritual sites in the landscape. argues that a methodological focus on how land­ scapes are “synaesthetically experienced through the body” (2004. the term interlocutor “refers to one who is engaged in conversation. However. This is why Keanes notion o f “semiotic ideology” is so helpful for understanding the role o f speech in the making o f place. 17). WATER: THE ANIMATE LAN DSC APE : 1 07 Tilley. it is never­ theless the case that talk frequently involves a distinctive materiality. Such a phenomenological emphasis on the body is also seen in Caseys exhortation to “get back into place” through our lived bod­ ies (1996. even once the ritual participants have returned to their houses.1 Throwing the “food for the ancestors” at an agricultural ritual houses must be continually replaced. or both” and may involve “oth­ ers considered to be Persons. Keane (1997) described how followers o f ancestral rituals in Anakalang. Indeed. 21). SPIRITS AND TH E SPIRI TUA L L AND SC APE Most Manggarai people I know take seriously the existence o f a range o f spirits and invisible energies. for example. before the throwing o f “food for the ancestors. wing feathers o f chicken. 31). unlike stone platforms. In houses.” ritual speakers usually speak at the same time that they mix up the rice and meat mixture with one hand. That is. as we shall see. spirit-beings merge with spirit-places and are often a shorthand for discussing the power o f the . Manggarai people ensure that their conversations with ancestral spirits have what Latour calls “temporal and spatial extension (1996b. “ancestral food” is soon eaten by dogs and cats. as though their words are liter­ ally being mixed into the food. or a pig’s foot. 239).IO6 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. In his earlier book. as a speaker. ritual speech is primarily conceived as addressing nonhuman “interlocutors. W hile the Manggarai peo­ ple I know do not express a “semiotic ideology” as explicit as this.

or when a place is thought to be particularly potent—it may be best to avoid such sites altogether by taking detours that “carve out a negative space” (Munn 1996. and practical consequences. Their deaths were universally interpreted as the result o f the actions o f the stream’s spirit.sumang) with an unseen forest. People say o f such spirits that they can see us. However. conceptualized as unseen interlocutors. is often said to have had a “meeting” (. “magic” (mbeko) is thought to be passed on from ancestral or other spirits in dreams. told me that this spirit was “really the land. it is impor­ tant not to separate “spirit-beings” from the wider landscape o f places and pathways.1 0 Similarly. a person who becomes tired or ill after visiting certain fields. This spiritual landscape o f seen and unseen realms has everyday conse­ quences for humans who engage with it as a lived-in world. They are also believed to have once lived together with humans. the “other side” o f our daily exis­ tence (cf. Both the recent dead and distant ancestors are described as “people on the mountainside” (ata . behind. and therefore harming it would put a person at risk o f spiritual attack. as among the Nagé.173). particularly those through which streams flow. the relationship with such a landscape is not one o f thoughtful reflection or idle cosmology (Atkinson 1989. just as the land gains value from human activities like agriculture. Talk about spirits may often be a kind o f front. and not letting chil­ dren play there. or seek to turn human adults into their spouses.38). amoral interest in human beings and may sometimes kidnap human children. many people went on to stress to me that they were “really/actually the land” (tana muing). However. 452). who will then make protective medicine. so that spirits could still walk along it without disturbing us. not drinking water from the stream.” implying that the land and its places have a force o f their own. Thus. For. cf. including ancestral spirits. and a number o f people told me stories about dreams in which a spirit had tested them by trying to give them “ bad magic. Such spirits may have their own paths through fields that require ritual blocking at harvest-time. Nonhuman persons are often referred to as “people on the other side” (atapalé-sina) and. 218. animate and merge with a material landscape o f energies. or immanent within the visible earth. In line with this. Fear o f offending these spirits or spirit-places often necessitates avoidance behavior such as not exclaiming or shouting loudly. or going to the spring at dusk. can be said to have acquired a reputation (Forth 1998. people seemed to be suggesting that an eel might be the temporary material form taken by a particular placespirit.” People mostly use the generic term poti to refer to spirits. as such. as one middleaged woman put it. To understand Manggarai engagements with spirits. such as dwarves associated with rocks (jing) and spirits who travel at night in search o f heads (empo-déhong)7 Darat are spirits o f the forest and sea. the teacher who discovered the children. 83-87). from humans. but they can only be safely seen in dreams. a devout Catholic who often leads the hymns in church. but also often represented as living in cities. Though I never received an explicit explanation o f this. Rafael 1993.8 These spirits retain a curious. but is instead pragmatic and prac­ tical (Harvey 2001. with all manner o f modern conveniences. but we can’t see them. are rather gen­ erally associated with harmful spirits and. or a shorthand. When we were resting during one exhausting walk to the highlands. effects. At times—for example when a woman is pregnant. in 2001. and invisibly. I want to draw out the ways in which spirits and spiritplaces are entwined in a distinctive spiritual landscape (Allerton 2009). with various hidden realms lying beyond.” Spirits. 509). However. A Manggarai person who accidentally injures a wild animal—particularly an eel—is always encouraged to confess this to a healer. but various myths tell o f how human actions led these spir­ its to choose to live separately. rather than focusing on spirit classification as part o f an overarching Mang­ garai cosmology.” One may become aware o f spirits through sound and smell. what is significant is that. However. 8 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. 199. so it is also believed to have a potency in and o f itself—a potency that can be both beneficial and harmful.9For example. two schoolgirls drowned in a relatively shallow lowland stream. then. my friend Nina told me not to sit right on the path but to one side. As in many societ­ ies.” a form o f definition common through­ out Southeast Asia (Barraud 1990. Scott 2007. Certain named fields. Connections between variously defined or acknowledged spirits (who might sometimes be said to “really” be the land) and the landscape are also seen with regard to different kinds o f ancestral spirit. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE : 10 9 land. 111-115 . Povinelli 1995. thought to live in places uninhabitable to humans. are thought to occupy a different dimension.or other place-spirit. for talking about an energy that belongs to the land itself. the counterpart to human life on this side. at other times they are more interested in speak­ ing o f specific types o f beings. Such everyday invisibility is the case even though. Cannell 1999. having described the kinds o f precautions that should be taken against such spirits. spirits “live as close together with us as a maize leaf and a maize cob. a human person must die in the human world in order to live with a darat spouse on “the other side. 66). The boundary between spirits and spirit-places is not clear-cut.

As such. when work was first begun on the Wae Awéng dam in the 1970s. and in Chapter z we saw how death practices begin the process o f ori­ enting the deceased to the side o f the mountain (le). the source o f many “powerful beings” in other. During certain phases o f the Manggarai agricultural cycle. and the fertility of the land. Human ancestors (empo). water flowing down from Wae Rebo is diverted towards the wetrice fields constructed in a 1970s state development project and today shared among various lowland villages. the ances­ tors on this side. o f the unseen spirits and agents to whom one is advised to pay respect. a large boulder obstructed the proposed path o f a water channel. and personnel for a large communal ritual to renew the fertility o f this water source following years o f declining productivity in the rice fields. one should be careful not to “call the exact name” o f an animal. Her brother remarked on another occasion that the ances­ tors o f the land were rather like “officials” (pegawai) who “guard” key sites in the landscape.” described by Kammerer and Tannenbaum as “part o f the Southeast Asian matrix o f cultural possi­ bilities that reflects widespread beliefs in spirit ownership o f territory and control o f fertility and prosperity” (2003. This unwieldy object could only be moved after the original (human) owner o f the land promised to sacrifice a buffalo in the future. any specification o f a landscape.” pigs “unspun rope. Barnes 1974. 61). told me that the “ancestors o f the land” were different from “ancestors who are dead people” but that she didn’t exactly know how. and the oil o f that water becomes human beings. One young woman.” such as the descendants o f the original owner being repeatedly bitten by ticks and the . water (wae) is associated with a kind o f life-giving “oil” (mind). To do so might be interpreted as arrogance by the spirits and result in negative consequences. rice. and a number o f chickens. then. Gibson 1986. Here.” Like paths.” Such speech demonstrates the speaker’s awareness o f a landscape beyond land. these villages gathered live­ stock. 7) argues that Austronesian societies regard water as “fundamental to. According to my informants. Regi. the word tana (land) refers not simply to earth and rocks but also to riv­ ers and streams. Spyer 2000. 8). rhe­ torically. 86. many felt that this debt was finally being called in by the land. This use o f the language o f the state to describe guardian spirits is intriguing. as does the sea. Particularly when harvesting. a large cross marks the site o f a small concrete dam and chan­ nels. Moreover. streams and rivers draw our atten­ tion to the flows and movement o f the landscape. to the southeast o f Kombo. and can be compared with deference and avoidance in taboo languages or ritual speech found elsewhere in the region (Dix Grimes 1997. In rituals. saucepans. 25. and there are fewer ties o f memory with a deceased person. Similarly. These spirit owners are addressed in rituals held in fields and forests or near water sources. in Mang­ garai. speakers some­ times addressed “the ancestors on the other side o f the mountains. and in many instances coterminus with. It is as though. Spirits similar to Manggarai “ancestors o f the land” are found through­ out Southeast Asia (see Hicks 1976. STO N ES.108-109). cf. In the lowlands. one old man asked. STONE. they frequently become blurred with spirits known as the “ancestors o f the land” (empo de tana) or the “owners/lords o f the land” (mori de tana). In 2001. Water is intrinsic to the Manggarai landscape.” Yet despite the life-giving nature o f water (cf. joined by the Camat (head o f the subdistrict. these are water sources and stones (whether large boulders or stone platforms). “Where do people come from?” and then answered. Like other rituals in fields or forest. AND P O T E N C Y Two kinds o f places in particular are most often associated with spirits and potency in Manggarai.173-174) and are one form taken by the phenomenon o f “founders’ cults. “We are alive because we drink water. Keane 1997. In April 2001. and at the side o f the river o f Wae Awéng. Fox (1997a.” One man told me that the former were those who had been dead for a long time. They were watched by a large crowd o f villagers standing on the banks o f the river. it is felt important to use riddles or code names (1 bundu) as a sign o f respect for the spirit owners o f animals and the land. tend not to be named individually but are a generalized category connected with the mountains. particularly as there is almost no use o f the language o f the church in such contexts. or during other significant phases. Kecamatan) and other state officials. this event was described as being “what the land wants” (ngoéng de tana). This necessitates calling goats “on-top-of-a-stone. the protection afforded by certain places such as rooms. they move farther towards the interior o f Manggarai. most obviously the death o f any domestic livestock.IIO : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. while the latter were the more recently deceased. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE bele). When discussing ritual events at water sources with me. 14 4 -14 6 ).” horses “round foot. This was shown by a number o f “signs. listened to a ritual speech and witnessed the sacrifice o f a buffalo.” and chickens “wing” in order to show that one is both humble and “polite. its fertility—like that o f the earth—requires ritual recognition and renewal. as time passes. more seaward-oriented eastern Indonesian contexts (Pannell 2007. Upstream from the cross and dam. W A TER . several pigs. 126-127. a group o f male elders.

11 As in Belau.” connecting with the pan-Austronesian significance o f “sources” and water (see Lewis 1988. Here. swaying dance before placing a betel quid on top o f the stones and singing a kind o f trilled chorus (renggas or piak) to awaken ancestral and other agents. Although women do not always take an active part in other. Following the ritual at the main water source. while also ensuring the continued presence o f various place-agents. The declining productivity o f the rice fields was directly linked with the fail­ ure in the past to hold this ritual. This is partly in recognition of their daily roles in collecting and transporting water. penti no longer involves a “report at the spring. . As such. particularly during the annual festival o f penti. Ine Anas told me that in her natal village to the west. The latter association is most strongly apparent in one o f the many meanings o f wae. the ancestral graves. or generation. a stone platform extend­ ing out from the entrance to the drum house. vaguely conceived figures.” because the advent o f a standing-pipe means that people “don’t precisely know” the source o f water. Chickens were sacrificed in the rice fields to invite the “spirits” from the individual plots to attend the ritual at the river. Whenever I was told this history. These are the oka. thereby making a claim to ancestral connection with this important village. although these ancestors are buried in the mountains. a large stone up on a hill associated with the past grazing pastures o f horses and cattle. Michael Scott has described how among Arosi in Southeast Solomon Islands even a “spontane­ ous partial allusion” to a matrilineage narrative “performatively reproduces a lineage as inseparably wedded to a particular territory” (2007. This is a large-scale ritual event.”'1 Procedures for the Wae Aweng ritual engaged with a spiritual landscape o f multiple agents and energies.” They are like “monuments” in the Wae Rebo landscape. the village whose leaders were appointed to the position o f raja of Manggarai in the nineteenth century. it was forbidden to enter the rice fields. Here. small rituals were also held outside family rooms in each house in the villages involved. or because it contains “secrets” or ancestral graves. previously held at the end o f the agricultural year. though recog­ nizing the improvements they brought to village health and women’s work. The history of Wae Rebo describes how the village’s ancestors planted the founding stone o f Todo. including Kombo. Such sources are also linked with stones. STONE. the sompang is thought to have a mysterious. I want to stress the way in which penti.112 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. the “offering stones” on the village yard where “sins” were once discussed. Elders and ritual speakers who came from Wae Rebo described themselves as bringing down with them “the souls o f the old ancestors in the past and stressed that. and finally.” one man told me. descendant. circular. but now more frequently performed at the start o f the new calendar year. site-specific rituals for penti. “now we need to give respect. unspecific potency. penti continues with a suc­ cession o f other speeches and sacrifices performed at key sites around Wae Rebo. the significance o f which I will return to. for the three days after the ritual. or we fear the land will be dry and hot. The latter is a large. Tahiti. as a place o f origin. 1 stress the significance o f penti in reestablishing the drum house. men sing and perform a short. In Chapter 5. stone platform found in the center o f all old Manggarai villages. which. both renews the potency o f key sites and reproduces their presence as agents. because during this time ancestral and other spirits would be “going to do farming work. even when climbed over by children or used for practical purposes like drying coffee. Like the like. as these might be ancestors on their way to the ritual. that ostensibly focus on the renewal o f ancestral potency. penti can be compared to other rituals. nonetheless connect with the past actions o f ancestors and other. The night before the buffalo sacrifice.” to ensure that no human souls followed the spirits or the buffalo to “the other side.” This water ritual. the speaker would stress that the Todo stone was still standing. In addition. It was perhaps because o f the importance o f springs and sources that a number o f people. perhaps because it was built by spirits or slaves.” People were also warned not to kill any eels in rivers or streams at this time. the sompang. but also o f the spring as the source o f health and fertility. 163-164). including “praising” events in rooms. “We’ve been eating food from this land for a long time. and its rooms. Penti involves a series o f sacrificial rituals at key village sites culminating in an evening o f drumming and dancing in the drum house. Thomas 1997). WATER: THE A NIM ATE LAND SCAPE : 113 leaders o f the different rice fields falling ill. the association of these stone platforms with a distant or mythic past makes them what Parmentier (1987. it is considered important that they should attend the ritual at the wae. they will travel to the lowlands for significant events. These “signs” convinced various ritual leaders o f the need to honor the earlier promise o f a buffalo sacrifice. as a ritual performance. The purpose o f these was to “collect together souls. expressed uneasiness about the standing-pipes that are slowly becoming a feature o f Manggarai villages. shows the clear links that are drawn between the fertility o f the land and o f water sources. which is “child. and other Austronesian societies. Penti in Wae Rebo begins with a procession o f formally attired men and women to the “offering stones” near to the main water source (wae).11) calls “signs o f history. and most sig­ nificantly.

and at other times is personified as a kind o f place-agent that may join in lively events in the drum house. the som­ pang platform is addressed as an agent with the power to protect the village from conflict and bad luck.180) in Manggarai fields that are forever shifting. In the case o f garden-huts.115-116). it is not the focus for any large gather­ ings or prayer meetings. reiterates their claim to “prece­ dence” over these villages. and wood. LAND. in so doing. stone platforms have a kind o f animate energy that connects with the wider fertility and potency o f the agricultural landscape. as we have seen. Moreover. is thus at times spoken of as a material place. it is not clear that all Austronesian societies follow the Zafi­ maniry in denying vitality or agency to stones. However. In the case o f field centers. has described how the first inhabitants o f Tanna. like other spirit-places. this may be by helping to plant ritual speech in the land. The sompang. changing. they but have the potential to make history. In Manggarai. Kahn 1996. the whole community of Wae Rebo-Kombo—including platforms and other sites—is invited into the drum house. 73). like “history objects” in Kodi. 80. Although the grotto is admired by young people for its prettiness. a sign o f history. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE : 115 Zafimaniry o f Madagascar. these places are more than simply signs o f his­ tory. Sumba. in contrast to the “growing” permanence o f human life in villages. AND A N T I S Y N C R E T I S M Similarly. a small. these mini-monuments pro­ duce a certain (ritual and physical) “heaviness” (Munn 1986. and occa­ sionally has candles lit inside it during the Months o f the Virgin Mary (Bulan Bunda M aria ) in October and April. One further named place in Wae Rebo is the grotto ( gua ). speaking o f their ancestors’ role in the creation o f topographical features in other villages.3 Collecting on the stone sompang platform at penti E N C U L T U R A T IO N . which originates in a living thing (ibid. and stone platforms. a number o f people told me that at the end o f the site-specific rituals at penti. the steadily accumulated ritual paraphernalia o f the center o f a new field—including a flat stone— aim to “thrust in” and “root” crops into that field. The landscape bears the marks and signs o f human history in its garden-huts. I was told that the purpose o f the ritual speech and the offerings left on an elaborately decorated. Indeed. and containing a stone platform housing a statue o f the Virgin Mary. Bloch argues that these monuments construct a permanence that. the Wae Rebo stone platform is not simply a “sign o f history” but can “even help to make his­ tory” (Hoskins 1993. field centers. cf. were thought to be magical stones who travelled noisily about the island. Vanuatu. which is eternal but has never been alive. for example. is absolute (1995b. In a discussion o f the significance o f megalithic stone monuments to the It should be clear by now that inhabitants o f Wae Rebo-Kombo imag­ ine and engage with a landscape full o f spirits and energies. woven platform is to “per­ suade” ( reku) the stone sompang itself..114 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH.119). waging war with each other and. He portrays the Zafimaniry as having a rather ambiguous view o f megaliths that is based on what he considers to be a common Austronesian contrast between stone. and is certainly never incorporated into events at penti. for Wae Rebo-Kombo residents. Bonnemaison. STONE. particularly when these features are heavy and immobile stones. fenced patch o f land planted with trees. creating the land and its roads (1994. F ig u r e 4. As with stones in Gawan fields. to minimize the displeasure o f spirits and ensure the future flow o f fertility. During the new year ritual performance. However. This raises the issue o f what influence Catholicism has had on people’s . However. or slipping down the mountainside. this may be by helping nurture and mend troubled relationships away from the prying eyes and ears o f co-villagers. 73).

the most successful initiative has been the production o f a book o f Chris­ tian songs.” o f which Catholic inculturation” strategies are clearly an example. claimed in a number o f books and papers to have “proved” the original mono­ theism o f various Florenese people. since its study would lead to traces o f belief in the “Supreme Being. 36). Amin” at the end o f rituals. 7).. In addition. the founder o f the journal Anthropos (Dietrich 1992-.. its energies and fertility. W ATER: T H E A N I M A T E L A N D S C A P E : 117 understandings o f the animate landscape. 61). Indeed. as not applicable to practices concerned with the land. 403). Graham 1994a. he sees Catholicism as “coming from outside” and. which fused Catholicism with traditional sacrifice. ethnicity. Erb 2006. and was equally keen to demon­ strate the monotheism o f his parishioners (see Verheijen 1951). beyond the existence o f the lowland church. Catholic signs have been incorporated into the wider landscape. 143). or Society o f the Divine Word). Paul Arndt. circular house. 176). As Stewart and Shaw discuss.1 3 This is why he also rejects changes to ritual practice that have occurred in other villages. and locality (Orta 2004). 125-126. but not. affirmative chorus o f Ehhhh. and its promotion o f printing “as a serious business” (Huber 1988.558). 212-213).” However. What is interesting is that Ame Dorus is a relatively devout Catholic. Stewart and Shaw argue that we should give as much emphasis to what they term “anti­ syncretism. Missionary projects o f “inculturation” on Flores attempt to be “more accommodating and toler­ ant towards local customs and practices” (Molnar 1997. 25). Ame Dorus. a missionary society noted for its study o f local languages and cultures. He implied that they were putting themselves at risk o f illness and infertility engendered by the displeasure o f ancestral and other spirits. which use the Manggarai language and follow the rhythms and cadences o f traditional singing (see Kartomi 1995. 167). part o f a “radical minority. 5-6). He was. the impact o f Vatican Two has seen a number o f initia­ tives by the Catholic church on Flores to “deepen the faith” through pro­ cesses o f “inculturation” or “contextualization.. When I talked with him about the plans in Lamba. 213). involving a complex series o f conversations with notions o f culture. complete with drums hanging from a central post. such as water sources. In Flores. a completely negative factor” (ibid. or the opposition to religious synthesis shown by those “con­ cerned with the defence o f religious boundaries” (1994. Steenbrinks history o f Catholics in Indonesia describes the SVD as “pragmatic organiz­ ers. arguing that the Lamba villagers would regret such a move in the future. The missionaries who first converted the population o f Manggarai were members o f the SVD (Societas Verbi Divini. since drums are used in communal rituals to awaken ancestral and other spirits. people have so far resisted any such attempts to create syncretic places. crosses have been built at some key sites.” who put less emphasis than other missions on a “specific type o f spiri­ tuality” (1007.” involving the “pastoral pruning” or “purifying” o f local practices (Orta 2006. The ritual leader (tua adat) o f the community. since it has often been used to imply either confusion or “deviance” from a “given” tradition (1994. Dere Serani. This notion o f anti-syncretism” is extremely helpful in understanding the attitude o f Ame Dorus and others who. Nevertheless. unlike the East Timorese villagers described by . therefore. who regularly attends prayer meetings and was once also a “religious teacher.” integrating the Gospel with local “culture” (Barnes 1992. the SVD fathers considered what they called the “traditional religion” to be “a deficient religion.” and other priests were more forthright in viewing sacrificial practices as “un-Catholic” (Erb 2006. 112).Il6 : CHAPTER 4 EA R T H . they suggest the recast­ ing o f syncretism as “the politics o f religious synthesis. such as pronouncing “Yesus Kristus. the concept o f syncretism has a somewhat contentious history within religious studies. and when I visited the village o f Lamba. STONE. embracing the terms contentiousness. like many others. however.” For example. For example. rather than the usual. the first Bishop o f Manggarai. some people told me that they wished to build a separate chapel in which to hold prayer meetings. thus allowing for the use o f local divinity terms for the Christian God (Prior 1988. there have also been moves to create Catholic places that draw heavily on local material culture. In Manggarai. and whether. “inculturation” is still “an ideology o f conversion. he reacted angrily and unfavourably. In Wae Rebo-Kombo. However. in the coastal village o f Borik in southern Manggarai. Such initiatives mirror post-Vatican Two strategies throughout the Catholic world (Cannell 2006. The most notorious utilization of local culture to translate and make meaningful Cath­ olic practices was the “Buffalo Mass” instituted by Monsignor Wilhelmus van Bekkum. because they feel uncom­ fortable holding these in the drum house. young people told me excitedly o f their plans to construct a Catholic grotto on top o f their stone sompang platform. Since the 1960s. Though this chapel interests local people. a chapel has been built in the style o f a traditional. has very strong opinions about the mixing o f reli­ gion (agama) and “custom” (adat) in this manner. an SVD priest and disciple of Pater Schmit. 171. many o f my informants seem puzzled by the presence o f drums in a Catholic place. More contentiously. This theme was also central to the writings o f Father Verheijen. who conducted extensive research on the many dialects o f the Manggarai language. Moreover.

Ame Dorus explicitly connects the name o f the “land o f Manggarai. and traditional priest-leader. “was because of all those customs. with the practice of ritual sacrifice. call themselves “half-half people. However. maintaining a separation between “religion” (Catholicism) and prac­ tices o f ritual and naming that are pragmatic and rooted in a historical land­ scape. this area of Manggarai. which demands recognition. one man told me that separating adat speech from Catholic talk was right since priests taught that “you must not mix pagan talk with that o f the angels. and for all that we receive from him each day. aestheticized cat­ egory o f “tradition” (adat) (Acciaioli 1985. and some money in gratitude for holding a Mass at such an event. what most engaged the attention o f those I was accompanying was not the Catholic thanksgiving.” I said. Thus. Indeed.” and “tradition” (Howell 2001.” people have not necessarily accepted an aestheticized (or purified) version o f the former. 145). That’s why it is called Manggarai. who had overseen the dam’s construction. Again.” I said. where chairs and benches had been lined up beneath a temporary struc­ ture o f bamboo and tarpaulin. a retired school­ teacher. people would become ill since they could no longer count on the protection o f the ancestors and o f the powerful “energy o f the land” (ghas de tana). rather. then I will not agree. Some people I know.” If such ritu­ als were stopped.Il8 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. is not a question o f policing the boundaries between two “religious” traditions but. don’t do it. change the names of the rivers. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE : 119 Bovensiepen (1009) have not integrated Catholic figures into their spiritual landscape. Ame Dorus was opposed to such a move and described his opposition as follows: What I said at that meeting. spoke o f the “pagan religion” (agama kafir) and “the religion o f only a few days. Ame Dorus once described to me a church meeting in the past at which the then priest and various teachers had called for what he described as a “Catholic Organisation. but would have to change the names o f the land.” I said. Many authors have argued that the politically constrained definition of religion [agama) in Indonesia has led most o f the country’s ethnic groups to reconceptualize ritual practices in terms o f a folkloristic. and such boundary-maintenance may partly explain many Manggarai people’s distaste for attempts to integrate Catholicism with adat practices. “I will agree with a Catholic Organisation. . was this.” “government. “We must use them both!” Another man. adat practices retain a strong moral and spiritual force. crowds o f villagers walked to a large clear­ ing. therefore making it a completely different (non-Manggarai) landscape. In keeping matters o f adat separate from those o f “religion. The rejection. references a holistic phenomenon that is part o f the very land itself. which included a speech by Ame de Sana. as I will describe in more detail below. Martinus. “no. devout Catholic. Martinus clearly has much in common with Ame Dorus. Howell (p. in southern Manggarai. How­ ever. Adat. Ame de Sana also presented the priest with a white chicken.” Further east in Flores. the name o f the land con­ nects with the potent agency o f the land. Indeed. the descendant o f the original owner o f the lowland fields. then I’ll agree with a Catholic Organisation.” This Organisation was to have demanded an end to certain ritual practices.” as well as the names o f its many villages and rivers. Ame Dorus abhors the use o f Catholic language in rituals held in fields and houses. o f overt attempts at synthe­ sising “religion” and adat means that Catholic rites are often simply added-on to events concerned with the spiritual landscape. for Ame Dorus. teacher. But if not.14 His rejection o f syncretic practices. such as throwing food for ancestors after a sacri­ fice. To have a fully Catholic landscape.” A few others take the separa­ tion o f Catholicism and adat to imply that there are actually “two religions” and that. who had not attended the sacrificial ritual. Kipp and Rodgers 1987). one would not only need to stop throwing food for the ancestors. held an open-air Mass. STONE. but had died before the buffalo sacrifice could be held. The reason why it was called Manggarai in the past. the northern Lio are said to “creatively embrace the tripartite categorization o f socio-political life” into the domains o f “religion. rice. This speech gave thanks to God for water. somewhat unusually. but the section o f Ame de Sana’s speech in which his eyes filled with tears as he remembered his father.” Following the Wae Aweng ritual described above. we must not underestimate the signifi­ cance here o f clashing “semiotic ideologies” regarding the “real” relationship o f words to places and persons. in the words o f one older man. change the flat lands. child. the local priest. sacrificial rituals are said to be held because they are “what the land wants. aware that Catholicism does not encompass all aspects o f their life. For Ame Dorus. according to Ame Dorus. Here. change all the villages.” Here. “if you change the name of this land of Manggarai. who seems to per­ sonify the “scrupulous” attempt at maintaining the boundaries between such domains. among most o f those I know. Though he enjoys Manggarai hymns. 148) describes one man. Change the name of this area of Manggarai. They told me that this was no doubt because being at the dam site evoked strong memories o f his father. such as placing crosses on old stone platforms. If you cannot change that.

What is interesting is that Catholic prayers and objects are included in prac­ tices protecting people from harmful place-energies. These and other cases show both the influence of Catholic notions regarding holy water and the power o f Catholic blessing as protection against spiritual harm. arguing against the characterization o f animism as a “system o f beliefs. and not merely as a passive representation o f it” (Pedersen 2003. but also by marking our foreheads with the sign o f the cross. told me that the penti ritual was held at the spring so that God would not forget to bless (berkat) the water that the village uses every day. the existence or nature of spirits. have particular political implications (Povinelli 1995). Nevertheless. In particular. As in the rest o f this region.120 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. though people find Catholic holy water powerful. the same man who so vociferously rejects syncretic practices. she believed these objects would protect her against various spirits. in the case o f fourth-world communities. Though water sources are often places associated with malevolent spirits. but confirms both the personal power o f priests (who are often said to have strong magic) over spirits. ideas about the potency o f water that influenced the Wae Aweng ritual have been particularly ripe ground for Catholic reinterpreta­ tions and blessings. Though many o f the people I know reject explicitly syncretic places.g. I described how the main spring is one o f the key sites for sacrifice at the new year ritual of penti. intellectualist understandings towards both a more phenomenological approach and a focus on the environmental sensitivities and relationships that animism implies.175). and the more general power o f Catholi­ cism as a highly-effective means o f protection against the spiritual dangers immanent in the landscape.” They described one area o f rocks that had been impossible for the workers to get through. As described in Chapter 3.116). For Bird-David (1999.. or the consequences o f failing to hold sacrificial rituals. or whatever else has “rela­ tional affordances” for the people concerned. This story does not question the existence o f land spirits. to its inhabitants. or between human agents and animals (or objects). 10) describes animism as a “condition o f being in” the world.” Ingold (2006. a “two-way responsive relatedness” with trees. villagers told me that the main water source in Wae Rebo was safe since it had been blessed by a priest. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE Though this kind o f structured event. it is hard to imag­ ine its substitution for chicken blood in communal rituals. 77). and saw them as more appropriate and more powerful than traditional medicines prepared by healers. Recent anthropological approaches to the resurgent topic o f “animism” have urged a shift away from earlier. She and other informants were fond o f telling me the story o f a European priest who had been involved with the building o f the stone road connecting this area o f Manggarai with the “ Trans-Flores Highway. I think it is clear that theirs is a resilient. Thus. A G R I C U L T U R A L A N I M I S M A N D T H E E N E R G Y OF T H E LAND Villagers in southern Manggarai do not hold one point o f view on such issues as the relevance o f Catholicism to agriculture. fail to comprehend hunters’ conceptions o f the world (Nadasdy 2007) and. elephants. to an environment that is always in flux.” Earlier. stressed the potency o f her bible and rosario as pro­ tective devices. STONE. maintains an anti-syncretic boundary between “cul­ ture/tradition” and “religion. Rather than seeing Manggarai understandings o f the spiritual landscape as a matter o f what ethnographers o f other societies on Flores call “traditional religion” (e. Significantly. as has occurred in Lamalera (Barnes 1992. Similarly. almost seethes with spirits and energies. Ame Dorus. We have seen how the southern Manggarai land­ scape is one that. an attitude o f anti-syncretism is neither universal nor clear-cut. their foreheads marked with water as someone intones “this is your house. children entering a house for the first time are often subject to an informal house baptism. a diversity o f attitudes and practices exist. Surprisingly. in which adat talk is followed by Catholic speech. who lived by herself in a field-hut. rocks. o f being sensitive and responsive “in perception and action. I prefer to follow some o f the leads afforded by .243).” This work has stressed how distinctions between nature and culture. David Anderson has described the “mutual interrelation” o f Evenki people and place in terms o f a “sentient ecology” by which hunters act in a manner that is conscious o f the reactions o f both animals and the tundra itself (2000. placating the evil spirits who had been obstructing the work. so the new theorists o f animism stress that ani­ mism is “best analysed as an active way o f being in the world. and that only became passable after the priest held a Mass at the site. dense.” in non-ritual contexts such a boundary is not always considered important. animism is a kind o f “conversation” with the environment. Meren. Just as phenomenologi­ cal approaches to landscape critique the notion o f landscape-as-representation or cultural construct. For example. Molnar 1997). Before my friend and I embarked on a journey through the forest to the west. and powerful spiritual land­ scape that has only marginally been affected by their Catholic identity. at other times they utilise the power o f Catholic blessings to protect them from spirit-places. her father ensured our spiritual protection by infusing ginger with his “magic” for us to eat.

they will receive health and good harvests. it might cry. or material signs o f the ritual speech spoken. and because clear distinctions are not always made between human ances­ tors and “ancestors o f the land. This spider is one form taken by the “lord/owner o f the land. if the land is dug in order to build a new house without the appropriate rituals being held. One old man explicitly told me that it was because .” By contrast with the benefi­ cial aspects o f the fertile landscape. BirdDavid has herself acknowledged that “[a] diversity o f animisms exists. he emphatically replied. Rather.” accusations that could take the material form o f human sickness and death.” Though rituals are occasionally held for forest spir­ its. It does. As we have seen. including that for Wae Awéng. history and structure” (1999.” At times. Here. Its appetite. something on which humans rely. : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. in the days after this ritual. people also described a kind o f intrinsic potency o f the landscape. if they do satisfy its specific wants and needs. the spider proceeds to walk round and round in a circle. as communicative offerings. which have tended to be the default focus o f recent work on animism. Har­ rison 1979. “It can talk. STONE. humans need to be vigilant to this more dangerous “energy. as “what the land wants. I was told that fields should be regularly planted “in case the land should cry. they will be “scared o f the accusations o f the land. an agricultural festival involving significant sacrifices and the opening up o f new fields. and which they must also renew. pig feet and chicken wings were left on a post by the river.” avoiding it at key times (such as dusk at water sources) or attempting to stem its flow. He stressed that this fungus is “the vegetable o f that energy” and eating it makes people fatally “drunk.” agricultural fertility flows when all forms o f ancestors are remembered. an elder who is the leader o f a particular field. buffalo horns. Afterwards. if humans do maintain a conversation with the “land” (which includes its water sources and stone platforms). as well as its ability to “talk. as when one woman interpreted the strange swaying o f a tree as a sign o f her husbands impending death. something that they usually called the “energy o f the land” (gbas de tana). In contrast to people’s conversations with this energetic landscape o f spirits. a small hole was dug into which both betel quids and an egg were put. However. After an agricultural ritual in Wae Rebo called oli. talk o f spirits often turns into talk about the power o f the landscape. the land has agency. their purpose described as to “impede” (kepet) “all the spirits and ghosts” that might “go into the field” and disrupt the growth o f crops. 79). a number o f people had died after eating a particular “earlobe fungus” growing on timber they had felled. the concrete cross next to the dam seems somewhat static. and stress how both everyday and ritual activities imply an openness to conversation with the environment as an animate realm o f multiple agents. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE : 123 this literature on animism. The problem for many Manggarai people with the idea o f a “Catholic landscape” is that Catholicism does not acknowl­ edge the (beneficial) agency o f the land itself. the landscape is thought to communicate signs or omens o f impending human misfortune (cf. the landscape gives signs o f its own needs.” However. small platforms (hanggar) for offerings were set up on the paths into the field." For Ame Dorus and others.” People say that if they don’t hold rituals. The ancestral element to this agricultural animism is worth stressing: because the ancestors are buried in the ground. Following the sacrifices at the Wae Awéng ritual. it is predominantly as manifesta­ tions o f ancestral or land spirits. that the land doesn’t have an appetite. Don’t let anyone say this. Ame Dorus told me that this egg was to prevent people becoming “hot. and the connected health o f humans. For example. “What are you doing? Why are you injuring me?” When I asked Ame Dorus if the land could really talk like this. the potency o f the landscape is cen­ tral to its fertility. or a forest where people get lost. Moreover. Moreover. in the past.122. This Manggarai focus on the land and its fertility offers a Southeast Asian agricultural contrast to relationships between animals and hunter-gatherers. it assumes an essentially passive environment in which protective signs and symbols can be planted. although on a couple o f occasions this was called the rang or “exalted spirit” o f the land (Verheijen 1967.” since the land has “an energy that is no good. without ensuring the continued potency o f the land. Manggarai “conversations” with the environment constitute what might be called a kind o f “agricultural animism.” and its circular movements are a “sign” that the land wants to have an uma randang. expressed here in terms o f its “appetite” (nafsu ). the primary conversations that take place in this context are focused on the fertility o f land and water. 60). in terms o f a spirit. In addition.” Similarly. various forms o f ancestors were said to be doing “agricultural work” in the rice-fields. whilst people need to pragmatically guard against the harm that the “energy o f the land” can cause. 528). By contrast.” He added that. might notice a spider appearing on the field’s ritual center. they often later state that such spirits are “really the land. In contrast to the hunter-gatherer animism her own article outlines. During a ritual for planting the posts of the new Wae Rebo drum house. when people do engage with wild animals. These speech-offerings are spiritual barricades. Among many Manggarai people. An understanding that the land has agency is seen in people’s descriptions o f sacrificial rituals. The appetite o f the land. each animistic project with its local status. or o f weak crops and a poor harvest. People initially explain places such as a hot spring.

There are no church graveyards. STONE. but may involve the reassertion o f ritual procedures (cf.” The “land” in southern Manggarai is linked in innumerable ways with the people who drink its water. in rituals. 49). and bury their kin in its ground. unlike in Gayo.” Though there have been no serious land conflicts in southern Manggarai during my fieldwork visits. WATER: THE ANIM ATE LANDSCAPE the souls (wakar) o f the ancestors were in the ground that they were asked. as Bird-David’s comment suggests. He described . agricultural rituals are “ best construed as entirely social and technical. disputes over land are thought to make it “hot. However. and because wet-rice cultiva­ tion (as a recently introduced technology) lacks the ancestral connections of upland. Thus. which relies on the cultivation o f “coolness. ritual events have been relatively rare in lowland fields. and to the (church and state) view o f ritual as a matter o f “traditional culture. the ritual has a rather different significance and shows how perceptions of the landscape and its needs are not unchanging. for their help in ensuring agricultural fertility. since such accusations have led to violent conflict in other areas o f Manggarai.194). such as “the fate o f the land. the own­ ership and agricultural techniques o f which had their origin in a government development project. where Islam is central to the places and processes o f death. when Kombo was established.” and the fields would dry up. in continuing to assert the potency o f the land. are never conducted in Indonesian. the importance o f cooperation and the avoidance o f conflict.12. for most villagers.” Though Manggarai “agricultural animism” remains strong it does. both through attendance and through financial and other contributions. high-ranking. there were aspects o f the organisation o f the Wae Awéng ritual that would support a view o f it as a technology o f cooperation and coordi­ nation. were constructed by the local Manggarai government in a development project in 1972. it also constituted a new conversation with the land and the “ancestors o f the land” in the lowlands. now appeared to be undergoing a réévaluation. Formal “letters o f invitation” were typed for all teachers and other officials in the local area. and that had to a great extent been devoid o f ritual. wet-rice fields. Does “animism” explain their presence? John Bowen (1993. left out o f the reciprocal rela­ tions between the living and the dead that are necessary for fertility. The inspi­ ration for the ritual came after a number o f “signs” appeared to the original owners o f the land. For these state officials. which involves not only anti-syncretic responses to Catholicism. This sit­ uation offers a strong contrast to the Sasak village described by Telle (2009). villagers are mounting a subtle. one elderly man told me o f how he had recently gone to a subdistrict office elsewhere in Manggarai to act as a witness in a land dispute. swidden agriculture. Participation in the ritual. At their speeches (in Indonesian) fol­ lowing the Mass. but also accommodations with state-sponsored resettlement and agricultural development. However.1-2. marked a turning point in ritual activity in the lowlands. therefore. political and moral response both to the issues posed by resettlement. Moreover. People were told not to block water when it was scheduled to flow into a neighbor s field. Both because lowland villages are resettled villages. have a specific history. for many people. though they were respectful towards its partici­ pants and interested in its “cultural” aspects.ISThis project was connected with the earlier resettlement program in the mid-1960s. fields. The Wae Awéng ritual not only asserted the ability o f ancestral spirits to travel from the mountains. During a visit to his married daughter in Wae Rebo. It is therefore note­ worthy. with the goal o f coordinating farm labor. The Wae Awéng ritual.001. 263-269. therefore. the land would become “hot.” some­ thing that has worrying implications for human health.” Though the somewhat mysterious “energy o f the land” can cause human illness and death. These fields. this ritual was also attended by sev­ eral. It was felt that if these signs were ignored any longer. and where the ancestral landscape cannot. given the “anti-syncretism” o f the spiritual landscape. 180) notes that for many modernist town-dwellers in the Gayo highlands o f Sumatra. human actions can in turn have consequences for the health and “fate” o f the land itself. be so easily separated from “religion. In particular. Bowen 1993. my informants are aware of more violent disputes elsewhere in the region (see Erb 2007. the Wae Awéng ritual was held to renew the rapidly declining fertility o f lowland. They were also told to be very careful about accusing others o f steal­ ing land. land is healthy. that the church has left matters o f death and burial largely to villagers (cf. The church is. the Wae Awéng ritual was clearly a chance to re-educate the local population in the techniques o f sawah farm­ ing.” Though rituals in southern Manggarai. plant its soil with crops.29 -30). This is seen by a number of ritual phrases that men and women quote even outside o f ritual contexts. Moeliono 2000. and the priest has little involvement with most death practices. and the dam which ensures the flow o f water into them. Even those “charismatic” Catho­ lics who would not normally organise their own sacrificial events were still required to contribute to the event. was compulsory for all fami­ lies with wet-rice fields fed by Wae Awéng. As mentioned. the fate o f the people” and “bodies are healthy. uniformed state officials. Howell 2.4 : CHAPTER 4 EARTH. the Camat and other state officials stressed the need for harmony and cooperation between those farming the wet-rice fields.

he was preceded by a number o f “ances­ tors o f the land. and many have become adept at exploiting the various economic opportunities in each. Most Wae ReboKombo people have houses in both sites.” Although the community’s political leader lives in Kombo. 5 Drum Houses and Village Resettlement Ame Dorus. don’t. However. This accords well with the understanding o f many Manggarai people that the power o f the land and its spirits remains relevant to the contemporary context. D on’t bury me in Kombo. Am^ Dorus has strong opinions about the connection between rituals and the land. the constituent sites o f a single community. it is in Wae Rebo that Ame Dorus.1Drums are potent ancestral heirlooms used to awaken and communicate with spirits and spirit-places. Ame Dorus contributes to the constant flow o f personnel between Wae Rebo and Kombo. despite vil­ lagers’ everyday movements between them. As we have seen. the home o f two o f his other sons. but when he plays the drums or sings tales o f past warfare between villages. Wae Rebo and Kombo are very different kinds o f places. wherever I die. as he walked towards the office. The traditional division o f power therefore now has an added spatial element. its ritual leader. In his occasional movements between highlands and lowlands. where he sees his grandchildren and visits old friends before returning to the mountains. The agency o f the animate landscape has long explained the desirability o f holding sacrificial rituals.126 : CHAPTER 4 how. Nevertheless. and about the necessity o f keeping such adat matters separate from those o f “religion. Ame Dorus does occa­ sionally travel to Kombo. authority in southern Manggarai is traditionally divided between a political leader known as the “head o f the hill/village” (tu’ a golo) and a ritual leader known as the “head o f the drums” (tua gendang). the clan “drum house. the ritual leader o f Wae Rebo-Kombo. spends most o f his time and where one o f his sons lives. Ame Dorus may visit Kombo regularly. For the Wae ReboKombo community. he becomes lively and animated. but he once vehemently insisted: “When I die. The food that we .” As in much o f eastern Indonesia. cuts a stern and imposing figure. but it is also central to understanding and dealing with both land con­ flicts and involvement with state officials. all drums are stored in the highland site.” who walked slowly in front o f him. I must be brought back here to Wae Rebo to be buried. Because Wae Rebo is the land that feeds me and that fed my father. the ritual leader being located in the highlands and the political leader in the lowlands.

and its views o f the differences between highlands and lowlands.” though when I asked why this should be better. the government opened up wet-rice fields in an area near to the coast known as Sebu.1 These new sites were then incorporated into one administrative vil­ lage. However. Nikeng. The new villages in this area all consisted o f two lines o f houses (not sup­ posed to house more than two families) on either side o f the rough lowland road.” Talk o f the government being “scared” to hike up the mountains to Wae Rebo is a common way to describe this history. Ai. Dutch colonial policies aimed at “pacification” and implicated in the creation of . looking for flat land. perceptions o f villages as places are individual and nuanced. but we can’t live on it. partly dependent on personal connections and biographies. its movements between two sites.n8 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND V IL L A G E R E S E T T L E M E N T : 129 get from Kombo just fills our stomachs. identity.” In Manggarai. combined with a state program o f village resettlement. Across Flores.” In this chapter. in James Scott’s terms. means that people engage seriously with questions concerning the meaning o f villages as places or the connections between land. Many have also buried their relatives in Kombo and express no desire to be buried in the highlands. and that the village was “made official by the government” in 1967. A i. In 1972. “make a society legible” (1998. They only came here to the lowlands. it is in many respects the existence o f a drum house that marks a setdement as an independent ritual community.” a hut in a field from which to guard crops. By what means do people make villages into valued places ? Do all settlements permit the same kinds o f activities? More specifically. A number o f people told me that construction o f Kombo as the new lowland site for Wae Rebo villagers began in 1965. and one desa area often contains a number o f settlements that might be called “villages. they were scared o f going to the mountains. with the focus on roadside houses and a move away from the inaccessible forest. and Wongka—were established from the mid. given the potency o f the named land. their significance shaped by a range o f factors. most shrugged their shoulders and said “Who knows?” I have also heard a number o f people describe this resetdement as “transmigration. Like many places dense with history and poli­ tics. It is partly because o f the link between the establishment o f Kombo and the creation o f a new desa unit that some people talk o f the move to the lowlands as being initiated by the need to “hear the talk o f the head. giving a standard-size plot to all adult males and further orienting people in this area away from the highlands and towards the lowlands. when these communities gradually abandoned previous highland sites. I consider this and other such statements in order to draw out people’s perceptions o f the differences between these two sites. Yet what factors influence the decision to build a drum house? How might the significance o f such a house be transformed when its building is sponsored by the local government ? Like Amé Dorus. Paka.. All o f Kombo’s nearest neighbors—Lenggos. The desa is the smallest unit o f bureaucracy and gov­ ernance in the Indonesian state. and authority.”3 The establishment o f Kombo and other lowland villages. and coastal market.” When I asked the political leader of Wae Rebo-Kombo the reason behind the village move he said: “Ai. for whom (as we saw in Chapter 1) village “renovation” involved the dismantling o f large housing structures and the building o f new forms to be occupied by a maximum o f three families (Nooteboom 1939. near to church. can people create a thriving adat community on land that has been donated by others ? As we shall see. the term beo is used to refer to a named “village” community with its own ritual and political leaders. school. 224). while the Indonesian term desa refers to the local administrative area with an elected “head” (kepala). Many people are happy to live in Kombo and say that they feel rest­ less in the highlands. many Wae Rebo-Kombo inhabitants describe their lowland site as “just a monkey-hut. So that we Wae Rebo people were on the flat lands. these two villages are “multilayered” and “multivocal” (Rodman 1991).. People continually stress the government’s insistence that villages should be built on “flat land. have been—and continue to be—heavily influenced by state development policies. Not everyone would say that the food in Kombo is less nurturing to their own or their children’s late-i96os. As we shall see. many villages in southern Manggarai were encouraged to move down from their highland sites to specially built sites in the lowlands. 2). Yet state policy alone cannot explain the contemporary significance o f Wae Rebo and Kombo as settlements or the various ways in which people respond to the dilemmas o f being split between two sites.. an attempt by the state to. As we shall see. that was what the government did in the past. Desa Satar Lenda. at the start o f Indonesia’s “New Order” regime. MOVING VILLAGES In the mid-1960s. It is just a monkey-hut. the history o f village expansion and movement in southern Mangga­ rai. appears to be a classic exercise in state surveillance. the govern­ ment. the history o f this community. Such resettlements followed a pattern established by the Dutch colonial government in Manggarai.

Drumming and drumming songs (mbata) are described as the “voice o f the village. the resettlement does pose some problems with regard to ritual authority. However. away from cosmologically important hilltop sites (Metzner 1982. stressing the advantages of having houses near to the school.330-331. People in Nikeng. Dispersed populations from Kalimantan to Flores have been settled in so-called model villages (Erb 1987. Duncan zooz. izs)However. Drums are the most significant form o f “heir­ loom” object in Manggarai. Some say that the isolation o f Wae Rebo (which became more pronounced as other villages relocated) made it hard for state officials to enforce complete resettlement and easier for the people there to “endure. near to the economic and bureaucratic advantages o f lowland roads (Gordon 1975. 94). the government’s relocation strategy partially failed. The second point to stress is that. and although such strate­ gies have often been backed by force in Indonesia. Whatever its architectural style. village section. Atkinson 1989. this was partly because he himself argued that it would be better to kill all o f the residents o f Wae Rebo than to move them from their lands. while high­ land communities have continued to be resettled in the lowlands. although the establishment o f Kombo can be seen as part o f a strategy o f “legibility” by the local government.130 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R ESE T T LE M E N T : 131 the island’s forest reserves often involved the resettlement o f villages in val­ leys. but in many respects Kombo’s existence has been normalized. distant. Wae Rebo’s village yard is dominated by its imposing drum house. and be invested in.4 Initially. is referred to as a temporary dwelling. in the specific case o f Wae Rebo. of being able to access roads more easily. Although Kombo was built. though not in the case o f other villages. Tsing 1993. Paka. In contrast. These drums give the drum house its name but are also what animate it. Kombo is the only lowland site in this administrative area that has retained its highland site as a place to live and work. but again failed. referred to both by the Manggarai word mbaté and the Indonesian pusaka. using the Manggarai word béo.” More than any other material artifact. the central house-post o f a drum house is always hung with a collection o f drums and gongs. Lewis 1988. 65-66. and other lowland sites refer to their lowland villages as real villages. Some people told me this was because o f brave opposition from local leaders. According to Ame Gaba. as we saw in Amé Dorus’ description.” Ame Gaba told me that. DRUMS AND DRUM HOUSES The drum house is the largest and most significant dwelling o f any Manggarai village or. and although a number o f families moved there. the local government became worried about preserving the forest around Wae Rebo and about pre­ venting the drying up o f a river feeding lowland rice fields. 41. where elders remained in sacrificial sites following colonial resettlement (Schulte Nordholt 1971. Wae Rebo-Kombo villagers only ever speak o f Wae Rebo as a béo. Whatever the specific reasons for Wae Rebo’s continued existence. Pressure on Wae Rebo residents to move was therefore reexerted. in the 1970s. While Wae Rebo’s continued existence in the highlands is in many respects a kind o f victory over earlier. 54). some old people from other villages remained in their highland sites. the constant movements of its residents between two sites appear to have left it in a position very differ­ ent from those o f other relocated communities. but particularly during the early years o f state expansion under the New Order. hence the designation o f the ritual leader as the “head o f the drums. state officials were unsuccess­ ful in their attempt to persuade residents to abandon Wae Rebo entirely.’’ Ritual authority is seen to derive from.” Indeed. today these former sites are simply places to harvest fruit from old trees or to open up an occasional. This continued a long southeast Asian practice. zealous policies o f relocation. often initiated by Christian missionaries. all Wae Rebo-Kombo people talk o f the estab­ lishment o f Kombo in a generally positive manner. and are rumored to play by themselves. and o f farming wet-rice fields near the coast. drums. One woman in a relocated village to the west told me that it was not only a government reset­ tlement program that had led her community to abandon its old site but also . Indeed. drums are in many respects like ancestral agents. and whose residents travel regu­ larly between highlands and lowlands. it is the drum that is most closely associated with the ancestors. Since Indonesian independence.45. a “monkey-hut. Graham 1994. One o f the major differences between the sites— a difference with significant implications—is that only Wae Rebo has a drum house. Kombo. As we shall see. First. the taken-for-granted use o f these terms in daily life continues to constitute each site as a very different kind o f settlement. local governments have continued these practices o f sociospatial transformation. garden. I want to make two initial points that should caution against an overly simplistic analysis o f the impli­ cations o f resettlement. 348-349). z. Ame Dorus himself claims to have argued strongly against pressures to move away or burn the houses o f the ancestors. since some villages may have more than one such house.” or the village’s “spirit” (semangat). a situation similar to that among the Atoni o f Timor. 16). o f regrouping highland villages in the lowlands (Reid 1988. the ridgepole o f which is decorated with wood carved in the shape o f buffalo horns.

124). Moeliono 2000. Gongs. drums are used everywhere in Manggarai “to add lustre to festivities and celebrations” (1942. As the drums were taken down. the ridgepole is said to become the “head” (ha’i ) o f the village. in Manggarai. When the central ridgepole (ngando) o f a new drum house is carried into a village. certain marriages can and do occur. the acknowledged mistresses o f the art. cradling the drums across their laps. as the drum house is constructed and the house-posts are raised. and hitting them forcefully. according to Errington. eastern Indonesian societies contract mar­ riages between Houses (1989. 241). would coax youngsters into practicing. in a triumphant song.” Certainly.” and neither.155. the drums had first to be moved temporarily to a neighboring house. . whose spirit companions are instructed. Drum houses share some features with the kinds o f “great houses” that are central to Lévi-Strauss’ theory o f “house-based societies. In her characterization o f the “Exchange Archi­ pelago.. Her characterization o f Lio Houses as “life-promoting communities” (ibid. cf. “patri-groups” and “Houses” may sometimes “overlap. rect­ angular drum house in Wae Rebo could be dismantled. marriages occur between fluidly organized but ideally patrilineal groups. some men asked whether any spiders could be seen inside them. as revealed in its construction. crea­ tures whose appearance may. Such in-House marriage is clearly not “sociologically impossible. the pole is a captured (roko) bride. and look up at the hillside to see who might be coming into the village. and unsuited to west Flores in particular.” However. Sig­ nificantly.” Errington argues that the eastern Indonesian House functions as a “node to mobilize valuables to exchange at marriage” (1989. recalls his com­ ments about the centrality o f marriage to great houses (Lévi-Strauss 1987. On such occasions. the drum house as a collective institution is not in fact central to the organi­ zation o f human marriages. However. as we have seen. Before the old. If a child is kidnapped by forest spirits. older women. is it “mythologically horrifying” (Errington 1989.131 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R E SE TT LEM EN T 133 f . Bloch 1995a). Drums make events lively for both humans and nonhumans (cf. 154) is a more revealing and appropriate description o f Manggarai drum houses than Erringtons “Exchange Archipelago” House. far from being treated with reverential delicacy. In other words. particularly on rainy days or Sunday afternoons. As Kunst noted in his midtwentieth-century survey o f music on Flores. have you seen our child here ?” Drums are so closely connected with the drum house that they may not be taken out o f it without the correct ritual procedures. Within Wae ReboKombo. 269). it is ritually greeted as a “mountain bride” in exactly the same manner as is a human bride at the end o f her marriage journey. shout to neighbors. also have a spiritual potency. a community that is united as one drum house. Similarly. the symbolism o f the drum house. 152). while the tambor is a roll-drum beaten with sticks. Howell has argued that among the Lio o f north-central Flores.” but they “do not do the same thing” (1995. women and men engaged in domestic tasks come out o f their houses. the drums in Wae Rebo were frequently taken down for a spot o f impromptu drum­ ming. he or she can be found by banging a gong loudly in the forest and calling out “O-o-oh. be interpreted as an ancestral “sign. which are played and stored together with drums.1 Dancing around the drums atpenti the highly disconcerting way in which the village’s drums would often beat by themselves in the middle o f the night. sitting cross-legged. to “return to the mountains. although the ridgepole is initially personified as a mountain bride. F ig u r e 5. 236). When they hear drumming.6 Yet. a protector o f its land and inhabitants.” Later. Erringtons characterization o f eastern Indonesian Houses is therefore over­ drawn. These hand-played drums are referred to as tembong. judging from the happiness o f many such couples and their families.113) and are played when a new bride approaches Wae Rebo at the end o f her marriage journey.

after holding sacrifices outside their ancestral room. It is also the place where any community meetings are held and where. or to “hold the drums. the Wae Rebo drum house is used as a normal home by those who occupy its rooms. as we saw in the last chapter. drum houses are also crucially implicated in processes o f village growth and in the transformation o f tem­ porary settlements into permanent sites. Huber. The last.134 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R ESE T T L EM EN T : 135 A Manggarai drum house also has a significant role (both real and sym­ bolic) to play in social organization. shuf­ fling from side to side and edging slowly forward. thus demonstrating the growth o f the family. People say that they take their ancestors with them from the drum house to show them their house moves. Over time. people gather for Christian prayers.” can only be claimed by those descended from the village’s first or original clan. The move­ ments o f these communities away from Wae Rebo are spoken o f in terms of people who “went to find maize and rice” and therefore built a monkey-hut in a faraway field. Like the family mom described in Chapter i. Moreover. these huts became houses. and it looked likely that in the future his family would sacrifice a chicken outside the room o f her husbands family. One elderly man. and is answered by the crowd. As is the usual pattern with Manggarai songs. More widely. However. These rooms are occupied as dwellings by branch representatives. although the drum house is presented as a place o f unity through patrilineal descent. this ritual ensures future growth by “rinsing the plates” o f the ancestors outside the relevant room o f origin in the drum house. the annual ritual o f renewal. Huber’s daughter had recently married within the village. which represent the eight ancestral branches o f Empo Maro’s descendants. the drum house comes alive with a series o f songs and dances that lasts all through the night. living and dead. they are propelled outwards. though practical circumstances often make this impossible. At penti. broadly patrilineal groups known as wa’u. and eventually each community sought to establish itself as a real village by founding a new drum house. the connection between building a drum house and establishing a new . Its drum house has eight rooms. Closely observing and considering such processes will allow us to further understand the challenge that partial resettlement in Kombo presents. The noise o f the drums is believed to awaken the ancestors and the spirits associated with key places. whose members share a single food taboo (seki). and most communal. and.” then. Carsten and Hugh-Jones 1995. in daily life. Wae Rebo not only is connected with Kombo but also is the origin site o f a number o f communities farther to the west. It is as though. a drum house encompasses people connected through a range o f kinship relations. many villages have more than one drum house. the new com­ munity must begin a ritual separation from its village o f origin by holding a praising” ritual (mora) in Wae Rebo’s drum house. people form a large circle and move in a kind o f “conga” around the central house-post and the hearth. However. whose family did not seem to have a room in the drum house. reflecting complex histories o f clan origin and migration. cf. Amé Sebas. Later that evening. a group o f men take the dance out onto the stone platform (like) in front o f the drum house. both human and nonhuman.184. In common with other “great houses. each Wae Rebo household sacrifices a chicken outside the drum house room o f its ancestral branch.7 Wae Rebo. o f these is the sanda. ideally the eldest son o f an eldest brother (known as wae tu’ a ). because as an orphaned child he moved to Wae Rebo to live with this married sister. ORIGINS AND V ILLA G E G RO W TH As an old village. These events for the new year demonstrate the significance o f the drum house as a building that can potentially house all members o f the commu­ nity. where they mark the end o f penti by performing a trilling call for the ancestors. having reaffirmed their origins in the clan house. it was difficult to gather information on why that was. Such principles of membership are (as Lévi-Strauss argues) “incompatible” only if we “expect to classify societies by consistent ‘kinship’ ‘types’ ” (Errington 1989. In this dance. Lévi-Strauss 1983. a male or female leader sings a refrain asking for growth and fertility. Such houses are the collective property o f one or more clans—large. Some said that Huber’s family were not original clan mem­ bers but had moved to the village. More­ over.238. In many Manggarai villages. Yet. considers itself a single-clan vil­ lage by virtue o f the community’s common descent from Empo Maro. At dawn. perhaps revealingly. on Sunday mornings. However. even before this building can be constructed. I only knew o f one man. the right to ritual authority. the founding ancestor. Indeed. these places themselves—such as stone platforms and the village spring— are invited into the drum house to join the celebrations. retracing their subsequent moves to indi­ vidual rooms and houses. people immediately return to their individual household room to offer a chicken to their ancestors.19). At penti. sac­ rifices a chicken at penti in front o f the ancestral room o f his deceased sister’s husband. Others said that he had no room because his descent line was “extinct” and he was the only member left. somewhat unusually. many Wae Rebo residents are members o f the drum house through relationships o f marriage alliance.

and the lower status o f the former is reflected in this “ritual dependence. cf. paying respect to a “mother-father” group is rather different from the ritual dependence o f one entire village on another. clans are based on “great villages” founded by the earliest ancestors and marked by accumulated tombs. particularly since— as ethnographers o f asymmetric alliance have long noted—that affinal group is itself in the position o f “sister/daughter” to another group. or the need for “rooting” a journey in an origin place. Throughout eastern Indonesia. though. The Weyewa o f Sumba speak o f lesser.1x3).” a temporary dwelling in a field. O f course. once a Manggarai satellite village has built a drum house it does not remain in such a heavily subordinate position in relation to its origin village. Village “praising” rituals enable a new village to celebrate the new year on its own terms but are also part o f a process (termed “chopping up same-sex siblings”) that allows particular clan branches to change bonds o f siblingship into relationships o f marriage alliance. the satellite might be seen as a kind o f offshoot or seedling. cf. and most o f their involvement with Wae Rebo is now structured by relationships o f marriage alliance.17).2 The mountain village ofWae Rebo village emphasizes the necessity o f linking the ethnography o f the house with that o f the wider landscape. 8).136 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R ESE TT LEM EN T 137 F ig u r e 5. In part. However. Fox has argued that “analogic identification o f life processes in a botanic idiom” is one o f a number o f distinguishing features o f eastern Indo­ nesian societies (1988. and impermanence” (ibid. Crucially. Members o f “branched” settlements must return to the altars and house sites o f the great villages for large rituals. and botanical imagery o f a central “trunk” village and its “branches” is particularly significant for the description o f the strati­ fication o f villages. an acknowledgment o f ancestral origin rather than an expression o f a subordinate status. as it is after all a “monkey-hut. it is the descen­ dants o f an older sibling in the origin village who become the “mother-father (source o f brides) to the descendants o f a younger sibling in the new village. and while the precise nature o f the genealogical connections with these communities may no longer be remembered. For example. However. a num­ ber ofWae Rebo women married Nandong men. and Kuipers describes how these satellite villages remain in a position o f ritual dependency and marginality. with lesser settlements and garden hamlets conceived as “ branches” o f these ancestral sites (Keane 1997. In Anakalang. Sumba. acknowledging a place o f origin implies a certain element o f hierarchy. While Nandong people still acknowledge their origins in Wae Rebo. Although botanical metaphors are to be found in descriptions o f the clan “branches” in Wae Rebo.” a new site becomes a full “village” (bio) in its own right. Representatives o f this diaspora should be . Wae Rebo has a number o f offshoot villages. Mambai origin villages were “only intermittently inhabited” sites for performing life-cycle and agricultural rituals that united scattered group members in their origin place (Traube 1986.. Returns to the origin village after this time are. this is because Manggarai is a far less hierarchical society than many o f those found on Timor and Sumba. xii). In the early phases o f founding a new village. their names are. following a “praising” ritual in the village o f Nandong. once a “praising” ritual has been held and the hierarchical connection o f sibling­ ship with the origin village is “chopped up. Smedal 1994. ethnographers have described similar processes o f community expansion and historical relationships between satel­ lite and origin villages. Traube described how. “even if people have lived there for decades” (1998. 50. 49). Dix Grimes 1997. historical recentness. they have gained almost total ritual independence from the origin village. offshoot villages as “tendrils” in contrast to the “source/base” that is the ancestral village. like family “praising” events.71. in East Timor. as these relationships are transformed into affinal ones.

Wae Rebo’s land is closely associated with its founding ancestors. saying that this is why the song for welcoming the central house-post and ridgepole asks them to “bite angry people. ANCESTORS. Don’t you say. That’s to the east. so does slowly pronouncing village names temporarily sum­ mon the souls o f their inhabitants back to Wae Rebo. To the west! Nandong! Some in Pela.” the ritual speaker reassures the ancestors that representatives o f all their dispersed descendants are present. For example. Watu Weri.” As we saw in Chapter 1. and the land. and since they maintain houses in each site. Although Kombo residents own their land in the legal sense o f it being their property. Moreover. one teacher had built a house on land he had purchased near to the school where he taught. Ngara is a term that can simply mean “owner” but most often refers to a particular kind o f ancestral connection.138 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM H O U S E S A N D V ILLA G E R E S E T T L E M E N T 139 invited to all large communal rituals. They are all in on this. there is another reason why Kombo cannot easily build a drum house and become a “village. In proclaiming “they are all in on this here. Significantly. for the Wae Rebo people who live on it as their “decreed/inherited place” (bate pede). because it was crowded in Langgur. or ritual ownership.” Because Kombo is not really a separate community from Wae Rebo. a lowland village standing in a relationship o f younger “siblingship” to Wae Rebo (based on a now-forgotten ancestral connection). it was constructed on land given by Lenggos. Kombo continues to be described as a “monkey-hut. Remembering this death. the nearby villages o f Nikeng and Paka both built drum houses on the new sites to which they were relocated by the government. Langgur. both spiritually and materially. When the ritual was held for moving into this house. its occupants. For example. even if that land has been sold or given to another person or group. Acknowledging the “owner” o f the land helps make this connection. ancestors. Some in Bea-Raja. Kombo’s unique situation makes following older processes o f village growth and ritual fission difficult. connected with Wae Rebo. In the previous chapter. which is able to recognize those who are most legitimately connected with it. they are all in on this here. By contrast. the name o f which can be called injrituals. The ngara o f an area o f land has to be acknowledged in ritual. However. the “moving-in” ritual establishes a connection between a house. this Wae Rebo has grown. when Kombo was built in the 1960s. many o f those I know in Wae Rebo feel rather uneasy about Kondor as an uninhabited ritual center. and so long as the correct rituals are held. Wae Liang. How­ ever. However. everyday activities and talk inside houses are equally significant. original link. Although Kombo people have built houses on the land and live there with their families. one o f the state officials who visited Wae Rebo in the 1970s to try once again to persuade the community to move from its highland site was said to have later been killed by the “energy o f the land” (ghas de tana)— an energy that took offence at his plans. he made a point o f inviting “those who are the owners o f the land. Others connected his death with procedures for building a drum house. just as calling the names o f stone platforms summons them into the drum house. the speaker made great show o f listing these villages: Ai. I described how Manggarai people often attri­ bute agency to the land. Kombo is still closely . The village o f Lenggos had a rather different solution to its relocation by retaining a drum house in its old village site o f Kondor. Because members of the community travel frequently between Wae Rebo and Kombo. the land protects and provides. Lenggos people are still considered to be the “owners o f the land” (ngara tana). “Where are some of those from the past?” That’s what I’m saying. and it is these that the empty Kondor drum house lacks. As such. they are not con- RITUAL ABSENCE. The growth from Langgur. the notion o f “owner o f the land” further evokes the agency o f the land. AND LAND “ RIG HTS” The 1960s development project to relocate Manggarai communities has left Wae Rebo-Kombo villagers in the unusual position o f continually mov­ ing between highlands and lowlands. at the ritual to plant the posts o f Wae Rebo’s new drum house. The farming work that was started in the past. Moreover. Although rituals are one important way in which a house—including a drum house—becomes “lively” (ramé). and residents continue to travel to Wae Rebo for important communal rituals such aspenti.” a temporary site o f dwelling. it is unable to gain status as a “real” village. Ritual pronouncements o f the past growth o f new villages away from and out o f Wae Rebo further highlight the uniqueness o f Kombo as a perma­ nent “monkey-hut. one old man told me that the official should have been more wary o f the spirit that guards the village. In general terms.” As an ancestral site.” and this has to do with the land on which it is built. Thus. an agency partly connected with the ancestors but also seen as a potent energy in its own right. as well as with the many people who have been buried in its graves.

7). Though Wae Rebo and Kombo have dif­ ferent historical and ritual significance. However. A new bride arriving in Kombo can be introduced to her room and land there but will soon be taken to Wae Rebo to “see the village. understandings o f the differences between these two sites continue to change and develop. authentic place and Kombo as an example o f imposed “colonial space. why its establishment had certain ritual implications. because the “right” to do so is only held by people from Lenggos. or that such spirits cannot appear to Kombo residents in dreams. the lack o f a more profound connection with its land has certain ritual implications. the story that people tell is that Kombo is just “the government’s house. even if his/her corpse must remain in Kombo. and no communal rituals. concepts o f the powerful agency o f ancestral land pose a chal­ lenge to the state’s legalistic understandings o f land rights. Indeed. some Kombo residents nevertheless have a sense o f the village as relatively temporary.” How­ . it emerged that nearly every household had wet-rice fields down near the coast. and why. when I first attempted to conduct a survey. it is still described as a temporary “monkey-hut. and although Kombo has seen many births and deaths. both as the local government has become more interested in Wae Rebo and as certain families have established a more permanent base in Kombo. Kombo people are living on donated land. although the reverse is not required. as it was not originally the land o f their ancestors. Nevertheless. and although the local desa office keeps records o f who owns which house plots or other plots o f land. we must avoid any easy juxtaposition o f these two sites in terms o f what Barbara Bender describes as the common “opposition between a rooted sense o f belonging and the alienating forces o f modernity” (2.” This is why a drum house cannot be built in the lowland village. this is not to say that ancestral spirits (who are used to walking) cannot be called down to the lowlands to attend specific events.9 B U I L D I N G T H E B U P A T l ’S H O U S E It should now be clear why Kombo is a rather different site from Wae Rebo.001. The lack o f ancestral connection with the land in Kombo is one o f the reasons why. he once explicitly told me that there were not any ancestors associated with the site in Kombo because Wae Rebo-Kombo people do not have the “right” to the land. Despite the importance o f the lowland wet-rice fields and the school that Wae Rebo chil­ dren attend. This seems to be a way o f merging this soil with the ances­ trally charged land in Wae Rebo— a way o f burying a person’s spirit in Wae Rebo. on which they have property but over which they have no “rights. In contrast. Although many members o f the community live in Kombo more or less permanently.” However. and several also had swidden fields near to Kombo. and is why he wants to be buried. Sasi whip fighting— a traditional contest often played at alliance rituals and connected with the power o f the drums—can only be played in Wae Rebo. some o f the soil from the grave should always be taken to Wae Rebo.” where the welcoming rituals are again per­ formed. Subsequently.140 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM H O U SE S AND V ILLA G E R E SE T T L E M E N T : 141 sidered to have any ritual “rights” (hak) over the land. It would be easy to write o f Wae Rebo as a traditional. In other words. every person stated that they didn’t have any land in Kombo.” a place where there are no fields. I think this also explains why Ame Dorus does not consider the food from Kombo as truly nurturing (because it is not grown in ancestral land). Although Kombo was founded at the government’s insistence. despite having been inhabited for over forty years. like his ancestors. a new bride who first arrives in Wae Rebo does not need to be ritually introduced in Kombo.8After a corpse is buried in Kombo. no ancestors. in Wae Rebo.

one of his reasons for visiting Wae Rebo is that it has many of the customs of Manggarai people which have already changed as a consequence of recent development.12. was rebuilt as a niang house. As Edward Casey has stressed. “I wish to discover again the authen­ tic culture of Manggarai people in Wae Rebo.1. Maybe it is just right for “hiking” or “adventure. Picard. The foremost newspaper in this region o f Indonesia. maps in pro­ vincial offices. twenty-six rumah adat representing the “genuine customary architectural style” o f Indonesia’s twenty-six provinces present an ^historical image o f Indonesia’s “Unity in Diversity” (Pemberton 1994. in rationalized form. at Jakarta’s Taman Mini theme park. the highland village was visited by the Bupati or district head o f Manggarai. and preparations—including a frenzied race to dig latrines—took up much o f people’s time and energy. reported the visit and the Bupati s aims as follows: According to Bupati Ehok. 26)." However. for example. thus clearly had what Urry (1990) calls the “tourist gaze” very much in mind (see Allerton 2003). I don’t want Manggarai peo­ ple to lose their authentic culture. than it became anxious about certain incomplete aspects o f its authenticity. Wae Rebo-Kombo people continued to experience the state as both strong and local.” is his hope. Another niang house was also to be built in place of a large.” it is “something for which we continually have to discover or invent new forms o f understanding” (1996. The project to remodel Wae Rebo as a tourist site showed the changing . news reached Wae Rebo o f his plans to sponsor the rebuilding o f the drum house in the niang style. the drum house o f Wae Rebo was a large rectangular building raised up on stones. In 1997. m -113 . notably the Polish parish priest and a Swiss development agency involved in road construction throughout Manggarai (see Erb 1998). the Bupati arrived with a large group o f over forty state officials and teachers to see for himself what he and his staff immediately began to call the most “authentic” (BI asli) of Manggarai villages.7). One key catchphrase o f Suharto’s New Order was “the preservation o f national culture” (BI kelestarian kebudayaan nasional). the rebuilding project meant that during this period. In particular. The Todo project had been instigated and funded by Westerners. he also wishes to see the potential for what could be devel­ oped for Wae Rebo. Adams 1984. and tourist brochures (cf. Within Mang­ garai. Most explicitly. PosKupang.” states Ehok. (Pos Kupang. paradoxically. if Wae Rebo had retained traditional housing it must. “I am expecting from my visit there. at the time o f the Bupati s visit.142 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R E SE TT LEM EN T 143 ever.” it was a classic “New Order” cultural project (Hitchcock 1998. that there are still left-over authentic Manggarai values.197). 1997. appearing in school adases. Moreover. 1993. while intended to preserve its uniqueness as a place o f authentic architecture. However.” but all of this is dependent on the results of the visit. de facto. handicrafts.98) An official visit on such a scale was an extremely unusual event for a remote village such as Wae Rebo. No sooner had the local govern­ ment “discovered” Wae Rebo and become interested in the values that might be “left over” in the village. Tourism. Some three weeks after his visit. The rebuilding o f the Wae Rebo drum house began in 1998 and was com­ pleted in 1999. although the building o f the Wae Rebo drum house was completed after the fall o f Suharto’s government with its appeals to “traditional values. by contrast with Todo. The remodelling o f Wae Rebo. a village whose leaders had been appointed to the position o f raja or king o f Manggarai by the Dutch colonialists. It is for that reason that I am trying to give a warning about culture. the rebuilding o f the Wae Rebo drum house not only took place against the backdrop of four preexisting niang houses but was entirely funded (to the sum o f 30 mil­ lion rupiah) by the local Manggarai government. as well as what can be called the normalization o f life in a twoplaced village. the new and shiny roof o f which was thought to produce an unattractive gleam in photographs o f this cultural curio. The fairly explicit reasoning behind the visit was that. In addition.10 Although 1998-1999 was a time of acute economic and political instability in Indonesia. 476). Alerted by previous foreign visitors that Wae Rebo still contained four old niang houses. a place is not “a mere patch of ground. just one month after I had arrived to undertake field­ work in Wae Rebo-Kombo.152). This was not the first project in Manggarai to rebuild tradi­ tional housing. rectangular house in the village yard. A few years earlier the drum house o f Todo. to do so would be to ignore the subtle influence o f outside interest in Wae Rebo. However. “customary/ traditional houses” (rumah adat) have enormous importance in state-sponsored representations o f Indonesia. and other mar­ ketable objects”—was only a small part o f what anthropologists would term culture (Kipp. what the state chose to preserve—houses. In November 1997. ritual costumes. Ehok hopes from his visit to obtain symbolic values which have begun to disappear in Manggarai. 3. o f more significance for the village’s future was the development project con­ ceived in the aftermath of the Bupati’s visit. on the shoulder patches o f local officials and teachers. pictures o f traditional niang houses appear. have preserved other “tra­ ditional” aspects o f Manggarai life.

Marsel apparently became angry at what he perceived as a criticism o f local knowledge. She notes that a number o f key intellectuals and figures from the town o f Ruteng have long been interested in organizing cultural displays that create an idea o f “pan-Manggaraian culture” (2007. Nevertheless.. people gathered together in one o f the older niang houses to sing drumming songs. However. and contains three guest bedrooms. metal roof. and he has therefore typed up infor­ mation sheets about this “authentic Manggarai village. With their rebuilding o f traditional housing. and emphasis was primarily given to niang architecture as a marker o f Manggarai ethnicity. As the focus for kinship and ritual that I have already outlined. the “nostalgia about culture and adat” (2007. 251-252). reworked for tourists. rectangular drum house in Wae Rebo was a “customary” adat center. and indeed consciously rearranged ritual participants in order to create a more photogenic scene for his camera. along with staged “performances” o f sasi whip fighting (Erb 2001). there were inevitably tensions surrounding the work. 255) that she describes appears to be predominantly. 247). Indeed.” The Bupati’s rebuilding project was thus an attempt to make sure that the drum house became an Indonesian rumah adat in the full sense o f the term. The teacher s intention is for his house to become a reception area for the occasional group o f tourists who come to visit Wae Rebo. though not exclusively. Ame Bertolo told Marsel that in the past there were only woven hats and hats made from gourds. and the ritual inaugurations held. A general feeling among the latter was that the rebuilding project was being rushed through too quickly. before the end o f the Bupati’s term o f office in May 1999. Although the Indonesian word adat gener­ ally signifies “customs”— and is used rather robustly by many rural Manggarai people to refer to a range o f practices—when used as an adjective it increas­ ingly implies what is “traditional” in the sense o f no longer regularly used but necessary to “preserve” as a mark o f cultural identity. and who was Marsel to say what was authentic when he was so young? On another occasion during the rebuilding process. Although the rebuilding project was in general positively embraced. where many people main­ tain a holistic (rather than aesthetic) and relatively unselfconscious under­ standing o f adat. echoing the shape o f circular houses.144 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLA GE R E SE T T L E M E N T 145 significance o f such adat houses. Ame Bertolo. Further. serves to situate the Toba Batak “as a ‘legitimate ethnic group within the framework o f Indonesian nationalism” (1995.” since Manggarai culture was all “the same. This extension has a conical. seen as an impatient hothead and rumored to practice a more charismatic style o f Catholicism. is a somewhat controversial fig­ ure in the community. the Kombo man chosen to liaise with officials in Ruteng (pri­ marily because o f his fluency in Indonesian). Marsel became agitated.” Hutajulu has argued that Toba Batak tradition. town nostalgia clearly played an important role in the rebuilding o f the Wae Rebo drum house. as ritual. Moeliono 2000.1 1 Marsel. Later. He also insisted that key participants should wear carefully starched headscarves as part o f the correct ritual costume. Marsel was also capable o f criticizing state officials whom he saw as imposing their views and interpretations on villagers. Manggarai as a region has long been lacking in the necessary cultural “objects” to entice tourists off their buses as they travel from Komodo to the regency o f Ngada. Marsel acted as an official photographer. as did discourses on “panManggarai” culture. In the process. 639). the old village sites o f which are a highlighted feature in guidebooks on eastern Indonesia (see Cole 2007). Certainly. The Bupati’s officials who liaised with representatives from Wae Rebo wanted the house finished.” However. though. a town phenomenon (cf. in architectural or aesthetic terms it was not “traditional. 59-60). This is an important point with regard to the political significance o f house building and echoes Wood’s arguments that “touristic space can offer an opportunity for assert­ ing local identities and rights against other groups” (1992. I have heard relatively few laments about the “loss” o f culture in Wae Rebo-Kombo. the old. a Wae Rebo man who teaches at the school in Denge built an extension onto his house. insisting that people “must not talk about differences. and these often cen­ tered on a clash between town schedules and procedures and the understand­ ings o f village elders. one undoubted consequence is that it has stimulated greater local reflection on what it is to be “Indonesian” in a remote area. On the day o f the greeting o f the ridgepole. the ritual speaker. was sporting his usual woven hat (jongkongbila) and therefore attracted considerable criticism from Marsel. the significance o f the house as an institution was overshadowed. “the Manggarai” have a stronger claim to being considered a legitimate eth­ nic group within the “diversity” o f the nation. and in the context o f institutions o f political authority and control over land. not batik headscarves. Erb (2007) has described three ways in which adat has been “revived in western Flores in the post-Suharto era of local autonomy: as material culture and display. This put both men and women (who had to take primary respon­ . When visitors from another village suggested that their songs were differ­ ent from those o f Wae Rebo. though the rebuild­ ing project emphasized the particularity o f Wae Rebo and Manggarai. when one o f the Bupati’s officials described how a particular ritual was performed differently in his home village. A few years after the rebuilding project.

Despite its round niang houses. leading to a certain romanticization. this notion o f authenticity ignores Wae Rebo s entanglement with Kombo. Thus. P. village elders often argued for greater flexibility with work schedules.” However. By contrast. In particular. it was state officials and educated young men who were most likely to pronounce on the meaning o f the house or to become angry at poor ritual attendance. Significantly. which several villagers referred to.” o f being asli. but also went against the notion (stressed by elders) o f a drum house being built with (voluntary) communal labour. Wae Rebo’s isolation becomes a sign o f its apparent “authenticity.146 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND V I L L A G E R E S E T T L E M E N T : 147 sibility for agriculture during the rebuilding) under considerable pressure. stressing the necessity o f a willing. at which new fields had been divided up for the whole community. As we saw at the beginning o f this chapter. many o f my informants now regard niang houses as structures that can be built only with outside help.000. and they researched new cash crops to plant in fertile highland soils. Ruteng. a small plaque was erected above the door o f the new niang bearing the inscription “made official by the Bupati of Manggarai. or (as emerged in a recent visit) money from foreigners. since the rebuilding project.179 The local government in Manggarai.” but as the “house o f the Bupati. so that they could “listen to the government’s speech. This authenticity has nothing to do with local ideas about the agency o f the land and its connection with people. and those who missed a scheduled day of communal work (often in heavy rain) without prior warning were fined a sum o f Rp 5. along with peo­ ple’s awareness o f the large sums o f money spent on the project. original Manggarai culture. Ehok. This isolation is undoubtedly part of the reason for the survival o f niang housing in the village. and occasionally cut short discussions o f adat. Wae Rebo’s geographical isolation became pronounced in the 1960s when various other highland sites were relocated to the lowlands. 32. The state-sponsored rebuilding o f Wae Rebos drum house marked a new phase in the historical development o f Wae Rebo-Kombo. the subsequent interest o f the local government in Wae Rebos niang houses means that people now see a need for greater government involvement in the highland site. After the inau­ guration o f the Wae Rebo drum house.14 In addition. not only created tensions between different households with greater or smaller pools of labor. contributed to an uneasiness about the status of the new building. Labor for the felling and transporting o f timber was organized on the basis o f eight work teams. it is Wae Rebo. ironically. However. Older inhabitants told me that when Kombo was first built it was referred to as the “govern­ ments house.-33) argue that Indonesian notions of adat have always contained an element of “wishful thinking. Yet.” That is. This was because. locality must be maintained carefully against various kinds of odds. emphasize the village’s “authen­ tic” and traditional nature. They note that “city-dwellers looking outwards at the countryside” often confuse the ideal and the actuality o f adat. and o f payments for certain tasks. Wae Rebo residents were not isolated from wider processes o f change in southern Manggarai. o f how things “ought” to be done.”'3 Kombo may have been established so that Wae Rebo residents could be incorporated into a new. but is defined by a fabricated notion of a true.” This sign. geographically isolated situ­ ations. the randang festival was held in accordance with the tempo and appetite o f the land. A number o f people also compared the drum house rebuilding with the uma randang festival held several years before. while the drum house was being built on the orders o f the government. collective workforce. . NORM ALIZING SPATIAL TRANSFORM ATION Even in the most intimate. and various tourist guides who now organize occasional trips to Wae Rebo. partic­ ularly in rural areas. Henley and Davidson (2007. Certainly. whether from the government. which has had closer dealings with the government. Many were concerned that the frequent arguments and raised voices occur­ ring in the course o f organizing work and events might alarm the ancestors. not as the “drum house. despite this. adat is often a vision o f the ideal. Dr G. the very niang houses that are interpreted as a sign o f Wae Rebo’s authenticity have become something with which outsiders and the local government are neces­ sarily entangled and involved. spatially confined. Their children moved to the lowlands to attend school. not Kombo.” and therefore more satisfying. 13 July 1999.” However. as we have seen. some people told me that the uma randang rituals had been “more lively. —Appadurai 1996. its drum house and village center were in fact substantially remodelled in the Bupati’s building project. they farmed new wet-rice fields near the coast. The introduction o f these fines. dur­ ing the Wae Rebo drum house rebuilding. Yet with the rebuilding project. Wae Rebo is no more “authentic” (for which read “unchanged”) than are the lowland villages founded by the government. the site to which an earlier government moved many o f its inhabitants. wealthy Indonesians. more “legible” village unit. rather than a description o f everyday practice.

contested and enforced” (1991. This book has described how human rites o f passage create or strengthen the entanglement o f persons and places or pathways.148 : CHAPTER 5 DRUM HOUSES AND VILLAGE R ESE TT LEM EN T : 149 Although the highland village was not abandoned in the 1960s. we have seen how people are concerned with the historical connections between places and people. though Kombo is a home to many people—a place where they are happy to bring up their children and plant chocolate or jackfruit trees—it has not been able to become a real “vil­ lage.004. imagined. it is pos­ sible to argue that one o f the impacts of resettlement for this community has been a strengthened self-consciousness regarding connections with the land. Such imaginings draw on local Manggarai discourses on the connections between place and culture. it needs to go through certain rites o f passage. it has never­ theless been profoundly affected by the practical and ritual consequences of resettlement. we saw how Ame Dorus emphasizes the connection between the places o f the named land and the “custom” o f ritual practice in order to reject explicit strategies o f enculturation. rites o f passage are not only tech­ niques for the production o f subjects but are also “ways to embody locality as well as to locate bodies in socially and spatially defined communities” (1996. not only in their construction. It is only after living a life o f such rites that a room becomes the kind o f place where a “praising” ritual can be held. 3)While a phenomenological perspective is crucial to drawing out the signifi­ cance o f houses as centers o f “liveliness. However. Indeed. I think we can take the connection between places and rites o f passage even further. it has not been able to follow this ideal sequence through which it might emerge as a “village. I argued that ordinary houses were made as par­ ticular kinds o f valued places. in this chapter we have seen that for a village to emerge as a beo. However. with different connections to adat.” To become such a historically dense place. during my second fieldwork in 2001.” or peoples dealings with an animate landscape. As sites founded in contrasting historical cir­ cumstances. and with the ways these can be utilized or transformed to ensure future growth. Death rituals also acknowledge the involvement o f the deceased with a house of origin and gently point their soul towards the mountainside of the ancestors. for some people. Earlier in this book. I was told that building a drum house in Kombo was impossible. it is worth emphasizing that this ritual sequence for the emer­ gence o f a real “village” is an ideal. it must return to its origin village to conduct a large-scale “prais­ ing” event. through rituals to “collect up souls” it emerges as a place o f spiritual shelter. undergo such rites. As Stephan Feuchtwang has argued. Through birth prac­ tices it is made into a nurturing womb for babies. a household room newly built for a married couple. it cannot furnish a full understanding o f what makes a village a meaningful place.” Gupta and Ferguson critique the anthro­ pological assumption o f a natural connection between place and culture. and that people continue to search for new ways to understand and develop the lowland site. There are different scales o f entanglement between people and places. Such a room is not yet the kind o f origin place in which a patrilineal ancestor might be ritually “praised. Similarly. In this chapter. so we might also say that places. Partly as a consequence o f the close involvement between Lenggos .” However. Marriage rituals highlight the creation or remembrance o f a path in the land­ scape and end by symbolizing the couple’s entanglement with their marital room. has grown and developed.” to build a drum house and hold a celebration of penti. in the course o f their social lives. Though Kombo. Take. for example.” However.” This is why. As Appadurai has stressed. This is also why.” the experience o f travelling marriage “paths. It must grow from a collection o f garden-huts to a collection o f houses. During my first period o f fieldwork in Wae Rebo-Kombo. and Wae ReboKombo residents’ entanglements with their two village sites include their responses to state-sponsored resettlement and rebuilding. Thus. but this can only be tapped into by those who are the true “owners o f the land. 179). 1 was surprised to hear the beginnings o f a very different story. in the previous chapter. as a place. places may also be made (and contested) through more self-conscious acts that reference larger projects o f place making. Instead. birth rituals involve the temporary transformation o f a room into a protective womb. through marriage rituals it is personified as an entity that ensures fertility. The impetus for this new perspective was the Wae Aweng ritual. In a well-known article on the culture concept and the limitations o f focusing on a bounded “field. described in the previous chapter. they argue for increased attention to shared historical processes. Thus. and it must build its own drum house and hold its own new-year celebration. phenomenological accounts o f place have tended to remain at the micro-level o f “small-scale events” and have tended to ignore larger-scale events that may “destroy and abstract” local places (2. its health and fertility may be compromised. 17-18). A landscape infused with ancestral and other spirits has a particular potency or agency. Wae Rebo and Kombo are imagined as very different kinds of villages. and as a historically dense origin place. and to the ways in which “spaces and places are made. but through myriad everyday practices that were not explicitly concerned with “making place. a room must be transformed by various rites. Just as humans undergo rites o f passage through the life cycle.

and o f her elder brother. Giving some o f the Kondor drums to Kombo was connected with wider plans for land rituals in the lowlands. one key aspect o f the normalization o f difference between Wae Rebo and Kombo has been the incorporation o f travel between highlands and lowlands. After finishing school. 6 Roots and Mobility Tanta Tin is an unmarried woman in her late forties. I feel very sad. That’s how I feel when he goes. This paraffin is bought in a small town several hours’ walk to the west and regularly carried through the forest by Tanta Tin’s sister s son. These tentative plans to honor the land in the lowlands and to build a drum house in Kombo show how the resettlement program o f the 1960s. the creation o f this two-placed village has in fact been mostly beneficial for its inhabitants. As Tim Ingold has stressed. unusu­ ally tall and with a reputation as a talented weaver. Maka. After the deaths o f her parents. indeed. into the rhythms o f daily life. the ritual leader o f Lenggos indicated that he might be able to give some o f the drums from their drum house in Kondor to people in Kombo. Tanta Tin runs a small business refilling botdes o f paraffin for her fellow villagers. “the landscape is never complete. living with various different relatives and returning to the highlands at weekends. But if it is like this.. in many other respects the differences between the highland and lowland sites have been normalized. I don’t see him go. This gift would have to be “answered” with a buffalo. As the next chapter explores. Fear o f slave raiding was one reason why.. have yet to come to fruition. and o f the movements o f goods and news. Indeed. I don’t feel so sad when he goes. she attended school four hours’ walk away in the lowlands. As a child. as Maka has “replaced his father’s face” in her affections. It would also mean (contrary to most previous discussions I had heard) that the ritual “right” to the land could be transferred to people in Kombo. a i. and would necessitate drawing distinctions between people who lived more or less permanently in Kombo and those who spend more time in Wae Rebo. she can only cope with his journeys away from the village if he first takes his leave from her: “I’m like this with him__ if he is going far away an d . she lived for a three-year period with her sister in the west. whether willingly or not. The resettled and rebuilt landscape ofWae Rebo-Kombo is the result o f earlier state policies o f “legibility” and more recent concerns with “authentic­ ity. An area o f present-day Jakarta is still called Manggarai.. Manggarai villages were built in the mountainous interior o f the region. if he goes anywhere. Resettlement during the New Order era relocated many highland . unlike more harmful state visions (Scott 1998). The lowland site could then become a real “village. if he first takes his leave from me. she herself also spent much o f her youth travelling between villages. she faces no stigma due to her unmarried state but is respected for her economic and practical contributions to her household and wider kin group.. 199). One old man told me that an uma randang (a large agricultural festival involving buffalo sacrifice) needed to be instituted in the lowlands to satisfy the appe­ tite o f the land.. However. were not men­ tioned to me in 2005 or 2008.150 : CHAPTER 5 (as the original “owners o f the land”) and Wae Rebo elders in the run-up to this event. journeying to and fro with food­ stuffs for her parents. while many elders such as Ame Dorus continue to be concerned about the ritual emptiness in Kombo. and the later construction o f wet-rice fields. Tanta Tin says that. if he goes for a friend’s marriage.” able to celebrate penti. as he went to work on various road-building projects in Manggarai. From her house in Wae Rebo.” However. This may explain why the plans for the Kombo drum house were not supported by everyone in 2001. to travel.. it is perpetually under construction” (2000. until Indonesian inde­ pendence.” People in Manggarai have always travelled. but it would mean that a drum house could be built in Kombo. and. Though Tanta Tin relies on the mobility o f this nephew for their small business. Now it was the turn o f her broth­ er s son. Like most older spinsters in southern Manggarai. so named after the slaves taken from Flores to western Indonesia from the seventeenth century onward. she stayed in Wae Rebo more permanently. both he and others stressed that this ritual process would be lengthy and expensive. diversifying their economy and protecting them from some o f the more vio­ lent land conflicts raging elsewhere in the region. continue to pose challenges to understandings of land and village places.

they are very different from cardinal points that remain the same no matter where a person is. which. borderlands. Her critique o f the bias towards “roots” inherent in the culture concept echoes the work o f James Clifford. we cannot prejudge its implications or significance in any particular context. whose philosophical project o f “Nomadology” involves a similar rejection o f rooted histories (1987. I often became frustrated by my inability to utter even the simplest o f sentences. as the discipline focuses increasingly on migration.” The terms awo and halé. and the theoretical and practical signifi­ cance o f “multisited” fieldwork (Gupta and Ferguson 1992.3). : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY : 153 populations to lower-lying areas. or to the classification o f “uprooted” refu­ gees as people “torn loose from their culture” (Malkki 1997. schooling. 51). what Manggarai people are eager to “root” in origin places is not culture or history but their feet. since the use o f these terms relates both to topographical features and to the movements o f a person. they claim. However. These terms are used to refer to a place within the village. or work as migrant laborers.1Like similar terms in other eastern Indonesian languages. for whom common notions of culture assume that dwelling is “the local ground o f collective life. such as “I am going to the village center” or “I am going to my house. This explains why I was constantly being asked to describe how the sun rose in England and how it travelled across the sky. diasporic communities. lé roughly denotes “north” and lau “south. I also describe how Manggarai people are troubled by the dangers posed by certain journeys and seek to overcome such dangers in part through events that “root” people s travel in a place o f origin. or rootstock. in many other respects. mobility.53). 7). have dominated Western thought.” provide a second axis o f direction. Deleuze and Guattari propose devoting greater attention to the notion o f the rhizome. As we have seen. 65). Malkki is partic­ ularly concerned with the implications o f such ways o f thinking for the study o f refugees and others who are “chronically mobile and routinely displaced” (ibid. four main axes or pairs o f direction terms can be discerned. These terms have a shifting and contextual connection with the mountainward/sea­ ward axis. However. these terms for direction function as adverbs. 139). when my efforts were mainly devoted to learning the local language.. Travel.. whether in search o f magical knowl­ edge. but also to refer to other villages occupying a relatively lower or higher position. the most fundamental o f these is the distinction made between “upstream/mountainward” (lé) and “downstream/seaward” (lau). the existence o f two economically and ecologically distinct sites has been quite advantageous for this community. lé roughly corresponds with “south. Both mythical and everyday jour­ neys create a dynamic network o f places and pathways.” I soon found a focus for this frustration: the Manggarai direction terms that must always be used when referring to the position of. and genealogies. adjectives. travel and “paths” are central to the process o f Manggarai marriage. or direction o f movement towards.” while travel is a mere “supplement” to it (1997. A third direction axis is the opposition between “up/above” (éta) and “down/below” (wa or hilt. . and prepositions (Forth 1991b. Yet mobility also plays a wider role beyond marriage journeys in constituting the lived-in environment.” In contrast. and displacement have become key themes in contem­ porary anthropology. As we shall see. Manggarai people also undertake more extraordinary journeys. a place.152. and necessitate vari­ ous protective measures or ritual acknowledgments. Moreover. which correspond to “east/sunrise” and “west/sunset. I consider Manggarai travelling practices and the ways in which these constitute not only the paths and roads o f the landscape but also its apparently stable places. such as a field or stream. Bahasa Manggarai. and people are fascinated by the appearance o f the sun and the way it seems to travel differendy in relation to different topographical features.z In southern Manggarai. which engages principles o f “con­ nection and heterogeneity” (ibid. sometimes combined to create hilwa).” Though the notion o f “roots” may in various places lead to ethnic violence and chauvinism.2.5). Scholars who emphasize mobility do so in part to challenge what Liisa Malkki describes as “taken -fo r-gran ced ways o f chinking about identity and territory” that see “peoples” and cultures as naturally rooted in place (1997. and why people stressed that the sun appeared differently on the plains o f Lembor to the west. In common with other inhabitants o f mountainous Indone­ sian islands. but in the case o f Wae Rebo-Kombo has been only partial and has led to a kind o f ritual inequality between the two sites. roots. In this chapter I shall explore how everyday and temporally defined acts o f travel between these sites continue to normalize the condition o f living in two vil­ lages.). More­ over. In place o f trees. in the town o f Ruteng and along the northern coast o f Manggarai. ORIENTATION AND MOVEMENT In the first months o f fieldwork. This “rooting” is o f a rather different kind to that imagined by Deleuze and Guattari or criticized by those anthropologists who are influenced by their “Nomadology. Malkki draws explic­ itly on the writings o f Deleuze and Guattari. In what follows. Along the coast o f southern Manggarai.

3 A fourth and final pair of direction terms are used somewhat differently.” Many places in Indonesia. or the imagina­ tion o f movement. Ingold 1000. “You’re returning from the spring?” Meeting someone travelling on a path towards the coast. Fox i997a>6). are also described as “seaward” (lau). particularly the old and less educated. Direction terms are also used to describe the weather. while friends in Ruteng would ask me what I had been doing “ below” (hilt) in the Wae Rebo region. the essence o f these terms is movement. or guests. one might say. their reception is often a litde tense. 693-694). when in less familiar sur­ roundings. persons setting out from Wae Rebo to Kombo simply say they are going “seaward” (lau ). people become accustomed to using direction axes in specific combinations and with reference to a particular landscape. Thus. Direction terms are also central to everyday social inter­ actions.” while one man described his return journey to Manggarai from Malaysia in terms o f “going inside. one woman asked where the demonstrators “from outside” were from and was shocked to be told they were “Indonesians like us. They gain knowledge o f the use of these terms by moving about within such a landscape (cf. people liv­ ing on the hill up from the village center talk o f going “mountainward down to the stream” or “down east to the likop field. be close to one another. As noted with regard to the axis o f sunrise/sunset. as we shall see with regard to walking along paths. Indeed. frequently assume that those lands that are “outside” o f Manggarai must. Significantly. as when one woman painstakingly described to me the directions o f different winds. direction terms often substitute for the place-names o f frequently visited or well-known loca­ tions.” During the Indonesian political crisis o f 1998. This explains why. One elderly woman once asked me “Is this Malaysia close to England or what?” to which her great-nephew replied. some people. Manggarai Directional Terms lé lau halé awo éta wa or hili oné peang mountainward/upstream seaward/downstream direction o f sunset direction o f sunrise up. towards others (cf.” mostly unknown. Within Wae Rebo. Jakarta. including Java. When somebody arrives unexpectedly in a village. “No. “inside” (one) and “outside” (peang) are used to speak o f entering and exit­ ing houses. that Malaysia is towards here. people like to know as much as possible about the arrivals and departures o f neighbors.1. kin. where other household members are. and Sumatra. mother. people speak o f men they know who are working “outside in Kalimantan. England is farther outside.4 Thus. finding it hard to remember locations or give directions (cf. “west down in Labuan” or “up in Ruteng. locations. one asks. and the connected warmth or coldness. This was because in Ruteng the “sunrise/sunset” axis was very differently oriented with the mountainward/ seaward” axis. but also to contrast the land o f Manggarai (which is “here” and “inside”) with a range o f “outside. “You’re going towards the sea?” Upon encountering a visitor from another village. Though the use o f direc­ tion terms as shorthands for place-names might imply a relatively fixed sys­ tem o f orientation.”5 I have described direction terms in some detail because they are a crucial starting point for understanding the ways in which people express and imagine travel within and beyond Manggarai. a term used to refer to unknown or faraway places.” Whereas an unknown Manggarai person will initially be described as a “person from anywhere” (ata band). those from other countries or other Indonesian islands are classified together as “people from outside.” People also use direction terms to locate those living in other towns and villages in Manggarai—for example. Indeed.154 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY : 155 Table 6. above down.230). or when certain events are occurring take up a good deal o f everyday conversation. Some said they felt confused when they visited the town o f Ruteng. at different times o f the year in the lowlands. the most frequent greeting is to ask something such as “When did you come downstream from the west?” Questions and discussions about precise details o f journeys. by definition. Rather than expressing directions o f movement within a specific landscape. They might be greeted with a question such as “You’ve arrived in the . weather fundamentally changes the appear­ ance and experience o f the Manggarai landscape. people I knew often expressed disorientation or asked others to clarify particular directions. Wassman and Dasen 1998. Passing someone returning from bathing at the spring. below inside outside These three pairs o f direction terms are those used most commonly to refer to places and movements in Manggarai. In particular. in which questions about actions and direction o f travel serve as greet­ ings.

” At the time o f the Bupati’s visit. despite everyday uses o f direction terms. the path begins to climb steeply up through the forest towards the mountains. for example.” Indeed. the ability to “strongly walk” up the mountains. climbing steadily past the villages o f Nikeng and Paka. Moreover. whose residents are also the “owners” (ngara) o f the land. In writing o f the mobility o f the inhabitants o f the Meratus mountains in Kali­ mantan. pigs tied up in baskets. in everyday life. where young children will be given packets o f rice to eat. From Wae Lomba. and static “authenticity” o f Wae Rebo turns a blind eye to the (historical and contemporary) reality o f travel to. 33. whether of illness or death. the state focus on the isolated. which emphasizes the profound connection between land. or until someone reluctantly asks. a range o f other places. The local government’s view o f Wae Rebo as a fixed. Indeed. However. This has several implications for the temporal flows o f persons between the two sites and explains why at the time of the new year ritual of penti the low­ lands are almost empty. Knowing where someone is going locates them in a dynamic and profoundly social landscape. 139). it is interesting that a frequent criticism o f both church and state voiced by those in Wae Rebo is that their representatives are somehow unable. when meeting some­ one on a path or seeing someone walk past one’s house the most common greeting is the simple question “Where are you going?” (Ngo niat). or too frightened. whose inhabitants are not. or cradling children in a sarong on their backs. “There isn’t any news?” “News” in this context always refers to bad news. Kahn 1990. and o f how to move towards them. spirits. the best place . After an hour or more o f climbing. I have heard people explain the lack o f visits to the highlands by both the lowland priest and the health worker in terms o f their “ big stom­ achs” and “fear o f walking. this is why unexpected arrivals are greeted ner­ vously. and authen­ tic village center ignores the actuality o f the many journeys undertaken by its residents. for such a visitor may sometimes be an “informing person” (ata wero) bringing news of a death. Here. the notion o f ngara. whether involving journeys to attend first communions and wedding parties. Indeed. or to renew rice stocks in the highlands. and in particular their regular travels between Wae Rebo and Kombo. and Kombo. since 2008. people search (often in vain) for “Ruteng. when large numbers o f people travel from Wae Rebo to attend services at the lowland church. The people who don’t have a precise location are various spirits. and where people drink water and fill up small plastic bottles. For example.” as this station carries telegram-like news o f local deaths and other events. always involves an awareness o f the positioning and movements o f others. This is one o f the main resting-places on the path to Wae Rebo and is where women will stop to share betel nut quids. has become a characteristic that marks Wae Rebo-Kombo people in the local. WALKING BETW EEN HIGHLANDS AND LOWLANDS The difference between Wae Rebo.” neglecting the complex reality o f differentia­ tions between social landscapes and travellers (1993. The rarity with which my informants (compared with myself) used the directionless term sina demonstrates their consider­ able ability to remember the various directions of. before eventually reaching the cool waters o f Wae Lomba. In this respect. particularly for those carrying heavy sacks. Gib­ son 1986. the highlands often empty out at signifi­ cant times in the Catholic calendar. and original human occupants. to visit a sick relative. and school buildings at Denge. 46). As the path climbs higher. it travels near to the sites o f former villages. In particular. lies behind the lack o f a drum house in Kombo and the necessity for its residents to travel to Wae Rebo for large-scale ritual events. whose unknown positioning accords well with their ambiguous nature. the road ends and the journey continues along a stony pathway through land planted with coconut and clove trees. and pass­ ing the large concrete church. to travel. other people’s fields or coffee trees. resettled area. Forth 1991b. This section o f the journey is hard work. the ritual or political differences between these two sites matter little when compared with people’s practical needs and desires. a number o f state officials were unable to complete the steep journey on foot. Anna Tsing has described how state actors stereotype Meratus travel as free-ranging and “nomadic. though hardly unusual in Flores. By contrast. localized. another resting-place and.156 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY : 157 afternoon?” but usually there is no further attempt at conversation until they describe the reason for their visit. 62. in the context o f resettlement these questions have become central to social organization. leading many vil­ lagers to comment gleefully that these officials were “not fit to walk. and links with. has important ritual and political implications. often described as “people on the other side” (ata pale-sina). By contrast. as is evident in most greetings. This form o f greeting is ubiquitous throughout the Austronesian world (cf. isolated. It also explains why. as I shall now describe. Daily life for Manggarai people. when tuning in to their radios. such as Easter. From Kombo in the lowlands. the journey to Wae Rebo initially follows the road. crossing the stream and rocks of Wae Ntijo. the peak known as Poso Roko is reached. health worker’s office.

People worry a great deal about growing hungry while walking and never set off on a journey with an empty stomach or having had only a snack. When mothers o f babies are called to the immuniza­ tion clinic in the lowlands they all set o ff together. involv­ ing the movements o f personnel. others will immediately mutter dia dia. will send dogs into the forest to chase it. and information along a historically significant path. Men’s walking is animated by the rattling o f their encased machetes. “That’s enough. songs. and. Because the trails that can be traced from these knots are “lines o f wayfaring. and lighthearted conversation as they move along. which they frequently take out to cut back undergrowth or to fashion a walking stick for a fellow traveller. tem­ poral movements o f goods and people continually reproduce the highland and lowland sites as different kinds o f places. most important. Nina became (in her own words) my “walking friend” and would try to accompany me on my movements between highlands and lowlands. the better to grip the ground with their toes. or a skirt. ‘productive’ acts” (2001. replete with named stopping points. On the other hand. From Poso Roko. or travel farther afield. and when they do.100). in Kombo she kept her smarter clothes and sarongs. bags o f sugar. 17). as nodes. Because o f the ecological and economic differences between Wae Rebo and Kombo. During my field­ work. until reaching a junction o f paths known as Ponto Nao. Any edible fruit. and if a person trips or stumbles. sacks o f rice. set in a dell surrounded by mountains. From there. When trav­ elling down to Kombo. if a monkey is spotted. or leaves are gathered and often consumed along the way.7Certain sections o f the path have a tendency to become extremely slip­ pery. the sight o f a person falling over. Indeed. leading one o f my compan­ ions to say.6 When travelling up from the lowlands. even a pregnant woman. it is rare for people to make the journey between the two sites without bringing something for other household mem­ bers. as well as supplies o f coffee.158 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M O BILITY : 159 to receive mobile phone reception (though only one villager had a phone at that time). people will often take off their flip-flops. place-making travel is very different from one o f the main kinds o f travel that the local government acknowledges to Wae Rebo. In particular.” Despite this concern. 101). wearing blouses and skirts and carrying umbrellas. is crucial to the smooth operation o f household affairs. she kept older clothes for work in the fields. but transportation o f coffee beans is entirely dependent on the strength o f household members. Coffee has become the prin­ ciple cash crop grown in the highlands. where she was mainly based. as well as her everyday sarongs and her clothes for walking. People enjoy identifying the calls o f different birds and. make it a little brighter. they dress up for travelling. looking down at their feet. earth. including the short but significant query “What have you brought?” (Apa bat). Ingold has argued that while places are often thought o f as containers or. and during a prolonged shower people may look up to the sky and call out. Such productive. As a villager walks into Wae Rebo they will be greeted with a number o f questions. I noticed that she kept certain posses­ sions in one site rather than the other. In his recent history o f lines. This is clearly evident in the case o f Wae Rebo and Kombo. Rain is one o f the enduring problems o f walking in the mountains. In Wae Rebo. areca nuts.” They enjoy jokes. including matching nylon tops and skirts . goods. in many respects. down for wet-rice weeding.” Once. when I was walking to the lowlands in the rain with a group o f women. Wae Rebo. Knowing where different household members are. is to eat a full meal o f rice. shorts. which are made as places in part through the movements o f people and goods along paths. people bring coconuts. dried fish. or when it begins to rain. earth. Over the months that I journeyed with her. and rarely stop to take in “views. many Wae Rebo-Kombo households today rather cleverly exploit the economic opportunities o f highlands and lowlands. up for swidden clearance. The path then descends into the village past fields and garden-huts. Travel between Wae Rebo and Kombo is thus highly productive. with forested ravines to either side. Wae Rebo-Kombo people in gen­ eral walk fast. please!” One o f the key ways to prepare for a journey between highlands and low­ lands. As Weiner has pointed out for the Foi o f Papua New Guinea. Indeed. Another way in which people prepare for walking is to change out o f the sarongs they wear in daily life into smarter T-shirts and trousers. such journeying is “never a matter o f merely getting from one point to another” and often entails “casual. “That’s right. the path continues to climb. they are better imagined as knots in a “meshwork” o f trails (2007. can finally be glimpsed. moving their labor power down for rice planting. up for coffee harvesting. as walking safely and sure-footedly is to some extent the mark o f a “mountain person” (ata poso). and as people draw near to the village they may collect some firewood. and so on. or “be safe. People walk very close to those in front o f them. Thus. is usually met with laughter.. in their representation on maps. fungi. those arriving from highlands or lowlands are given messages to pass on or are quizzed by others about the travel plans o f their household members. their babies cradled on their backs. the rain clouds appeared to be beginning to lift. and when they are planning to travel. people take seasonal fruit and vegetables unavailable in the lowlands.” movement along a trail is therefore always implicated in the making o f place (ibid. the “hiking” o f tourists through the forest.

who in turn may not always be such frequent travellers as young and middle-aged men. the American author J. The journey between Kombo and Wae Rebo. Despite the common ways in which people travel between highlands and lowlands. married and older women travel far less regularly than unmarried or younger women. one should always sit up on a bank or a tree root. depending on the weather. This stone road.alamat) of his father’s impending death. this unsettling encounter was interpreted as a “sign” (. ritual sense. Certainly. a large party composed o f his sons. in general. The fear o f encountering such spirits is one o f the reasons why. sometimes begrudgingly. which starts at Dintor on the coast and reaches as far as the church at Denge. or even freedom. this example again highlights how different kinds o f journeys continually constitute the high­ land and lowland sites as different kinds o f places. people rarely travel alone. for Americans. Jackson. Jackson also called atten­ tion to the ways in which they could stand for an “intense experience” o f new relationships. social process was central to the concerns o f one o f the pio­ neers o f landscape studies.” Later. and the final arrival in either site. The family members are in many ways accompany­ ing the soul o f the deceased back to the mountains and. Some men who pursue agricultural tasks in both villages are spoken o f as “really swinging” between the sites. you who are going seaward to Kombo. however well they know the path. this is always interpreted as evidence of travelling spirits. though they may rest by the side o f the path. part o f the normalization o f the dif­ ferences between Wae Rebo and Kombo is a somewhat differentiated mate­ rial culture. and after a meal and a rest. should not visit any other houses or villages along the way. Following his burial in Kombo. their wives. to keep the path clear for passing spirits. Schoolchildren who live in Kombo during the week. this is your path. arguing that. As we entered the highland village. When we arrived in Kombo. is therefore experi­ enced quite differently depending on the context o f travel. If a smell o f perfume or cigarette smoke is unex­ pectedly encountered along the way. it seemed unusually empty. and main source o f difference from. and you who are going to the west. this is your path. some o f his brothers. There are also bridges. roads did not merely lead to places but were places in themselves (1997.160 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M O B ILITY : 161 for attending church. Giving attention to the regularity o f travel thus reveals how a “twoplaced village” is maintained both by those who “swing” each week between the sites and by those who tend to remain fairly permanently in only one place. plus old photographs o f her family. will walk up to Wae Rebo most Saturday afternoons in small. then the latter s advantage over. where a person should present a speech-offering to spirits in order to pass. For example.” In particular. The complex and potent spiritual landscape with which people engage in agricultural practices (including rituals) is also encountered in travelling practices. carefully unfolding them. Thus. the former is its road. before replacing them in her chest. their parents in the highlands and a brother and his children in the lowlands. unmarried women who spend equal amounts o f time with. So. and grandchildren walked from the lowlands to Wae Rebo. accompa­ nied by those heading down to the Monday coastal market. with objects associated with church going and travel being stored in Kombo.B . though younger women sometimes go to buy cotton or to sell woven sarongs. lively groups. Moreover. although roads served pragmatic purposes. The return journey to Wae Rebo after such a death is rather solemn and processional. Jackson analyzed the everyday significance o f what he called America’s “vernacular landscape. 249154). not all people undertake this journey with the same regular­ ity. or paths over water. Anxious to delineate a separation between his travel and that o f spirits. we saw how. some o f the soil from the grave should always be taken to Wae Rebo. Coming down the hill towards the village yard. for example. In a series of writings from the 1950s onward. this is your path below. when stopping for a rest. ROADS AND TR U CK S The argument that mobility and movement are central to the landscape as an ongoing. as dirt from graves in Wae Rebo would never be taken to Kombo. In 1997. Indeed. if Wae Rebo is thought by many to be a more dense spiritual and ritual place than Kombo. she would often open up her wooden chest by our bed and bring out these smart clothes. because Wae Rebo-Kombo people do not “own” the land in Kombo in a full. new beginnings. and no one called out to us in greeting. a very elderly man called Ame Beda died in Kombo after a long illness. after a person dies and is buried in Kombo. a sound o f wailing and sobbing rose from the drum house. where most villagers had gathered. In the previous chapter. was gradu­ . One elderly woman described how her son had once been frightened by spirits when walking in the forest. Men are more likely to take down goods such as coffee beans or oranges to sell in the market. as are younger. They return the next afternoon. children. he addressed them directly with the words: “You who are going to Wae Rebo. he focused on the significance to this landscape o f roads.

as one o f the attractions o f Wae Rebo for tourists is presumed to be sporty “hiking. and trucks along the road. though it has never been o f the same quality as the road from Todo to Dintor. Far from complaining about the building o f the stone road. Roads have been analyzed as a destructive influence (Fairhead 1992). to the hospital in town. By contrast. calling out to people as they walked down the road. road building so far seems to have had a universally positive reception and has genuinely expanded people’s worlds. in particu­ . both trucks and four-wheel-drive vehicles were able to travel along the Kombo road. the village has continually improved its path to the lowlands. since road-building programs elsewhere in the region have been one o f the main F i g u r e 6. One young man stated this succinctly. Thus. and particularly to facilitate the transportation o f the coffee crop to the town o f Ruteng. and as material entities that man­ ifest both the presence and the absence o f state power (Harvey 2005). the problem with Kombo is that it doesn’t have an economy.1 Boys w alking down the low land road to school “projects” ( proyék) for which rural. However. At least twice a day. On several occasions. looking out through their door. which was constructed in a low-cost. As road-building projects draw more asphalted lines across the earth. Swissfunded development project (see Beusch et al. Nevertheless. many Wae Rebo residents are obsessed with the “problem” o f how a road to the mountains could ever be built to help people travel more eas­ ily. The build­ ing o f the stone road through Kombo in the 1990s enabled people to take coffee and other cash crops to town markets and stores. and people will rush to see if they recognize any o f its passengers. Roads are also connected with mobility in less obvious ways. they miss the sight o f these movements. life in Kombo is centered on movements up and down the road. and has brought traders to the local market seeking good-quality sarongs or particular fruits or vegetables. Children walk to school together early in the morning in large. the permeable houses that are a feature o f Manggarai villages make it easy to observe the traffic o f people. singing and joking. most people say that its trucks make life more “lively. Colombian 2002. allowing groups o f people—particularly those who might not be strong enough to walk—to travel in trucks to attend alliance events. and many Kombo residents describe how.” Whereas life in Wae Rebo is often centered on the drum house. despite its potholes and boulders. O’Hanlon and Frankland 2003). anthropologists are gradually turning their attention to the significance o f roads and the vehicles that travel along them (Miller 2001. a wooden truck passes through Kombo. As most lowland houses are built on either side o f the road. contrasting Kombo’s road with Wae Rebo’s many cash crops: “The problem with Wae Rebo is that it doesn’t have a road. pointing out objects and animals. when they are in Wae Rebo. Roads have also revitalized kinship connections with villages farther afield. people enjoy watching others walk­ ing down to their rice fields near the coast or taking a buffalo to a new grazing spot. The middle-aged couple who lived in the house where I stayed in Kombo would often sit in the room at the front. usually single-sex groups. Young boys.l6l : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY 163 ally constructed by local labor.” His friend added that “the only road you’ll see in Wae Rebo is in a dream!” Over the years that I have been visiting Wae Rebo. In southern Manggarai. people have been able to commandeer trucks to drive very sick people. as ambiguous technologies o f control enabling the neoliberal economy (Wilson 2004). including women enduring difficult labors.” villagers have gradu­ ally realized that the local government is unlikely to pay for the construction o f a road to the mountain village. 1997). male labor has been recruited. animals. and explaining to me any kinship or marriage connections with these travellers. gradually making it wider and routing it away from very steep sections that previously required one to climb by grabbing for roots with one’s hands.

with their clove cigarettes and cassettes o f Indonesian pop music. This story is a narrative o f a long. and those to many destinations to the west. positive appreciation o f the road’s benefits may be tempered by fears o f its dangers. Manggarai marriage paths are therefore frequently audible paths. I sat with others in a lowland house listening to the gradual approach o f such a truck on its way to a wedding in the east. Previously. when I paid a brief visit to Wae Rebo-Kombo. the ancestors slept on a mountainside and stayed there while they discussed which path to follow. Once. seats on the wooden bench are given to women and older men. the road had been a place where children might play. or when the driver calls to his young male helpers (konjak). and gather round to watch when anyone gets off.11) o f roads and paths through the landscape is also developed as they attempt to sit on wooden benches in trucks. because motorbikes travel far more quickly. people fear for children’s safety. When people recounted journeys to attend marriage rituals in far-off villages. the lowland road. sleeping in the forest and going from Wae Bangka to Besi to Deket to Perang. They made shelters to live in. though. Rather. in addition to hearing versions from other villagers. or on the way in which a particular person couldn’t endure the journey and kept being sick. as in other contexts that emphasize ancestral journeys. Nevertheless. and ill health before eventually settling in Wae Rebo. the story that describes the founding o f Wae Rebo is one o f ancestral movements from place to place. . people’s “muscular consciousness” (Bachelard 1964. they excitedly call out “Where are you going?” In September 1008. as trucks could be heard slowly approaching long before they arrived in Kombo. Now. Trucks going up to the town o f Ruteng sometimes left Kombo as early as three or four o’clock in the morning. A couple o f enterprising men from other villages had bought motorbikes and were charging to taxi people down to the market and rice fields and then back home with their produce. before they left travellers would still be cooked a full rice meal by their relatives. episodic journey from a place o f warfare to an eventual place o f safety. where the Wae Rebo ancestors lived for a long time. and made a big house.” Inside trucks. Whether the sound that moves through the landscape is such taped music or the crying o f the bride. If people spot someone they know inside a truck. and discussed hav­ ing a lodok [ritual center] for a field. warfare. And then they arrived in Liho (Wontong). was in the final stages o f being asphalted. and escap­ ing political intrigue.8 They moved from village to village. Although the journey between Wae Rebo and Kombo. narratives o f ancestral journeys are also central to constituting the landscape as one of paths and mobility. and with less warning. where they stopped safely for a time. Trucks are often hired wholesale by people going to attend alliance rituals in other villages. The drivers o f these trucks. For example. then woken up and told to “eat until you are full. Passengers are forced to put their feet up on sacks o f candlenut or to endure the smell o f dried fish being taken up to the market in town. establishing a founding stone in one. When I asked various schoolchil­ dren to draw pictures o f Wae Rebo and Kombo. after describing how the ancestors had to leave one site in the middle o f the night because it was under siege. Then they headed west. Like many Manggarai narratives recounting the “origins” o f a village. These motorbikes seemed to be changing people’s relationship with the road. for so long a bumpy stone track. evidence o f large-scale “lively” events.14).IÓ4 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY : 165 lar. asking him to deliver it to another village or school. The trucks roof was covered with jubilant young men holding a loudspeaker from which blasted taped Manggarai music. As they travel along. the historical landscape can be described as “a network o f places j oined by various ancestral routes” (Munn 1970. are romantic fig­ ures both to young boys and to young women o f marriageable age. love to guess which truck is approaching by the sound o f its engine and music. most boys drew a colorful truck on their picture o f the lowland site. while younger men may have to hang off the sides or sit on the roof. Amé Dorus’ history continued as follows: That night. Empo Maro was born in Liho. along the road through the village. they often dwelt on the length o f time they were in the truck. It seems likely that in the future. The story tells o f how the original ancestors first arrived in Mang­ garai from Minangkabau in Sumatra. arriving in Wae Ntawang. a banyan tree in another. I recorded broadly similar versions o f this story from both the ritual and the political leaders o f the community. Along the road. people may come out o f houses to hand a letter to the driver. ANCESTRAL JOURNEYS In addition to everyday travelling practices on foot or in trucks. in which unusual topographical features provide evidence o f past ancestral and spirit activity. is still undertaken on foot. The contemporary roles o f roads and trucks should not tempt us towards the erroneous conclusion that mobility is a “modern” phe­ nomenon. people enjoy commenting on the condition of wet-rice fields or pointing out temporary awnings near to houses.

with the naming o f only Empo Maro. there is a kind o f mutual feedback between topogenies as mnemonic devices and the “mnemonic pegs” o f landscape features (ibid. narratives can lead to the memory o f specific landscape features.” Rooting procedures normally involve the sacrifice o f a chicken and a large. Rooting can therefore be seen as continuous with other practices. these journeys need to be made safe by being “rooted” in a place o f origin. and the descendants o f slaves (Traube 1986. Significantly. 62. whether o f an ances­ tor. during my first weeks o f fieldwork. As such. like topogeny. Though it is clearly connected with the kinds o f botanical kinship idioms common in east­ ern Indonesia (Fox 1971). before Teres left Wae Rebo to attend university. other kinds o f journeys—particularly those connected with new marriage paths and with migration for work or study— are considered more hazardous. I want to stress both its specificity (and not simply its connection with images o f branching or tips and trunks) as well as its role in constituting the historical landscape. whereas the ancestors are spoken o f in mostly general terms. communal meal. but often involve travelling back to the village or house o f a family’s origin source o f brides. and o f the morality o f remembering a landscape o f historical connections. In addi­ tion. Both this summarized version and the longer historical narratives that I recorded can be seen as examples o f what James Fox has called a topogeny. to informally “root” his final journey to Kupang for graduation. cf. an origin group. topogeny functions to establish succession in space (ibid. Rooting stresses where you come from.” It is noteworthy that in the narrative o f the his­ tory o f Wae Rebo. Topogeny is a particularly apt historical form for southern Manggarai. It was felt that Teres’ journey away from Manggarai in search o f education should start in the place that was the source o f her mother. commoners. He stresses that. and while this journeying involves the hazards o f hunger or meeting with a spirit. an “ordered succession o f place names” (1997b. a rooting ritual was held in her mother’s natal village o f Kakor. While Fox sees topogenies as establishing succession in “space. or the ways in which people claim a number o f differ­ ent dwellings as their “own house. In recounting their history as an ancestral journey from place to place spurred on by fights between brothers and the actions o f animals.” I prefer to see the performance o f topogenies as a practice constituting a temporal. the names o f sites that the ancestors travelled through. inform an important set o f practices concerned with making less ordinary journeys safe.30). Fox sees topogenies as “mnemonic devices.. who had also partly funded his education. in general (and largely because the path itself is full o f familiar. Moreover.. as when the story o f a female ancestor who planted a banyan tree in Modo to tie her pigs to recalls the still-standing tree in that village. Wae Rebo-Kombo people spend much o f their lives walking between highlands and lowlands. a journey by truck to sell coffee in Ruteng is fraught only with economic and practical dilemmas. Traube 1986. while genealogy functions to establish succession in time. McKinnon 1991. I was given a shortened version o f this history consisting of simply a list o f place-names. or “mother-father. Such events may be held in a persons natal home.1 66 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY 167 Here. where there is very little interest in lengthy or elaborate genealogies and there is no clear boundary between ancestors and other spirits sometimes described as “ancestors o f the land. Ame Gaba’s sister’s son made a point o f visiting Ame Gaba. As we have seen. Wae Rebo-Kombo people create a sense o f a distinctive moral and historical landscape that can be continually reimagined and revisited (cf. Similarly. Rooting rituals. Moreover. from whom all Wae Rebo-Kombo people claim to be descended. pro­ cessional landscape formed o f both places and journeys. this lack o f differentiation resonates with the relative lack o f hierarchy in Manggarai as compared with other areas o f eastern Indonesia that distinguish between nobles. such as the return to origin rooms for “praising” rituals. or where they “stopped safely for a time. Fox argues that in eastern Indone­ sia topogenies generally assume the form o f a journey. “Rooting” is an extremely profound notion in Manggarai. Indeed. as we have already seen. named places) it does not involve any significant physical or spiritual dangers. Failing to properly “root” an important journey in this way jeopardizes . Keane 1997).” are given particular prominence. collec­ tive group o f ancestors connected with Wae Rebo as a named place. 91. By contrast. Basso 1996). 101). Rosaldo 1980. travelling past such features can lead to the telling of narratives. or an object. in order that you may travel safely and productively. cf. 55-56)* In southern Manggarai. the calling o f place-names in the performance o f a topogeny is significant because. This practice allows for an undifferentiated. In turn. Simi­ larly.” Thus. are con­ cerned with origins in place and time. MAKING JO URN EYS SAFE These notions o f origin. and therefore o f herself. individual sites are named even if they were only passed through. pronouncing such names can be a powerful activity.” prominent means for ordering and transmitting knowledge among Austronesian populations and directly compares the recitation o f a topogeny with the recitation o f a genealogy.

Don’t be met by the sun. In general.” Such a root is therefore always the beginning o f a line o f movement. the sig­ nificance o f “source” villages. These list the dangers the speaker hopes the trav­ eller will circumvent—practical dangers that also symbolize spiritual hazards: Oh child. more important. for example. or “rooting the feet. Moreover. protective measures for journeys employ kinds o f syncretic language and practices that are not seen in other areas o f life: one man told me that “rooting” rituals were held “so that God’s thoughts walk together with us. one elderly woman stressed to me that all those Wae Rebo people who had high-status jobs out­ side Flores had been “rooted by a white chicken. spitting out the juice into my palms. the accompanied journey made by a newly married couple. and I was continually told that for a person to “just go” on an important journey would be extremely unsatisfac­ tory. a short speech—is required. some form of formal leave-taking— a shared meal. a parent or elder may try to ensure the spiritual protection o f both travelling people and goods through a range o f measures. people can be rather nervous about visits to affinal villages. particularly children. including prayers.” their salutations and caresses can make the living. Ame Tranus said that this had a similar effect to making the sign o f the cross. Like a “rooting” ritual. In addition to “rooting” procedures.” The acknowledgment o f origins and o f historical links between specific places is also seen in a common practice when passing through or entering other Manggarai villages. they fear that they and their possessions will be vulnerable to jealous witchcraft attacks. These examples all show the analytical problem in assuming. walk carefully. For example.16 8 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY 16 9 its chances o f success. spells. she insisted that I visit her father. However. Wae Rebo-Kombo people are themselves interested in roots and worried by the consequences o f failing to acknowledge. then touching a little o f it on my chest. Mary Helms has shown how for a wide range of societies geographi­ . Don’t be embraced by clouds. as seen in Tanta Tin’s description o f how she is only happy about the travels o f her nephew Maka if he first “takes his leave from me. certain ancestors (an aunt in this case) may be delighted to see their living relatives and may stroke and caress them. child. both bride and groom may be given a range o f protective medicines to ensure their safe passage through marriage rituals and journeys. The gift o f a betel quid acknowledges both the ancestors’ connec­ tion with a place and their desire to show affection to descendants. One prayer. It is rooting that makes growth away from origins possible. As a village is approached. as well as protecting my camera against a possible witchcraft attack. Ame Tranus. Away from the protective land and ancestors o f home.” This reflects widespread under­ standings that. However. before I travelled with Nina to a church wedding in Rotok. ensuring that a person may both travel freely and return safely. acknowledges the landscape’s hidden interlocutors. Before setting out with Nina. which I was told to carry with me at all times. Don’t let any wood fall. that an interest in “roots” reflects merely the genealogical or hierarchical obsessions o f Western thought. Even for shorter journeys.” Failure to hold a correct “rooting” event also makes people susceptible to a deadly sickness known as itang (which can also be caused by reversing marriage connections or break­ ing taboos). a village to the east. and charms.” Ame Tranus also blew a prayer into a handkerchief. I ’ll meet you when you return again. special medicines. as do anthropologists who follow Deleuze and Guattari (1987). spoken to a younger person to secure safe travel. Indeed. for protective medicine. particularly when sleeping. Whether or not a person succeeds in education or gains a job can be influenced by rooting. the base o f my throat. like other ritual actions. but is in essence a request for distance from the living. but also. Rooting is what makes travel possible and. For example. don’t call out in surprise! Don’t stroke us! Just look at us. I followed her exam­ ple by chewing some o f this coconut. follows ritual speech in its use o f paired phrases. Don’t have a slippery path.” It is the retelling and remembering o f such connections that make marital and other journeys safe. the Manggarai concern with rooting only makes sense in the context o f a landscape o f movement. a member o f a travel­ ling party will always take care to stop and “offer a betel quid” to the ances­ tors o f that place. and the back o f my neck. the death o f one new bride was thought to be due to a failure to “root” her marriage journey with her grooms family’s original “mother-father. for instance. placing it on a rock and saying: “Oh aunt. unwell. as the ancestors are “people on the other side. when a person enters an ancestral domain. safe. Although not a baptized Catholic. It is worth recalling that the phrase used to describe such events is wuat wa’i. giv­ ing betel to ancestors encountered in this manner in the course o f a journey materially constitutes the landscape as one o f historical connections. A similar prayer may be said before apadong. He gave me a piece o f dried coconut.

when those whom people leave behind may think about or miss them too much. prestige. However. [He describes how in the past a rockfellfro m the mountainside and should “really” have hit him. Fabianus left Wae Rebo and his family to travel throughout Mang­ garai. This explains why those travelling faraway are advised to “think only about your journey. Fabianus was an imposing man in his forties. one moves towards places and people that are increasingly “different. is asso­ ciated with his magic and his protective “angel”: This place here. In our conversations. but access to new experiences.30). “I just didn’t. God forbade the rock to fall here.” He stresses that his house. Moreover. the product of his powerful ability to travel safely through the lands o f strangers.” that he returned to his family in Wae Rebo. 60-68). never mind. 4). in southern Manggarai. if I’m here then rocks will not fall.” Moreover. I’m still on this earth. those who go to university or school. that’s why I made a house here. those men with the ability to travel freely in other villages are often thought to be pow­ erful “people with magic. he said. and a very successful coffee farmer. travel is sometimes thought to be dangerous for rather different reasons. and that he was also looking for healing spells and medicine. This secretive “prayer just o f my very own is now the central element in Fabianus’ healing. Because for most people journeying is full o f spiritual dangers. causing them to become unwell. such as a 1001 rumor that a certain “medicine” had been buried next to the path leading down to Kombo and would negatively influence the fate o f anyone who touched or went near it. 4). or to work on distant building sites. stating philosophically that he went to “search for the best way o f making a living” and to “gain experience.” When I first knew him. ] But no. So. or others considered to be in danger o f spiritual attack. never mind if there’s a steep ravine above.” and there­ fore regarded as increasingly mythical and powerful (1988. Fabianus’ story o f his travels through the Manggarai landscape can be read as an individual claim to power and knowledge that obscures as much as it reveals. he indicated that this travel was motivated by some kind o f command from a guardian spirit or angel. up high in the steep fields above Wae Rebo. an increasing number o f Indone­ sians—many o f them undocumented—have migrated to work in other coun­ tries.” Fabianus’ vague account o f his travels is well known in the village. such that as one moves away geographically from a social center. Never­ theless. It was when he found this. for example. recent patterns o f migration by young people away from Mangga­ rai introduce more complexity to this picture. Towards the end o f my first period o f fieldwork.9 One o f the main reasons why Helms considers contact with a geographically distant “unknown” comparable to contact with distant spirit levels is because of the “ritual procedures and protection” that may be adopted by “travellers or resource seekers” (1988. the father o f six children. if I travel. Fabianus was intriguingly vague about how he had spent these years o f travel. As I shall now describe. and other forms o f identity. “My schedule wasn’t finished. because “God doesn’t agree with me dying. Between 1980 and 1990. particularly Malaysia (Hugo 2008. throughout my fieldwork I was aware o f rumors and stories that revolved around the unknown dangers o f travel. the kinds of procedures often undergone before a journey away from regular places and pathways are extremely similar to the “medicine” given to pregnant women who might encounter ancestral spirits.170 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M O B ILITY : 171 cal distance is frequently thought to correspond with “supernatural” dis­ tance. a gap o f ten years between his second and third oldest children indicated his rather unusual life history.” and why those left behind take great pains to know the exact date o f a traveller’s scheduled arrival (after which it is safer to think o f them). as that accorded political-religious specialists or elites in general” (1988. emphasizing the connection with his/her household room. as. m igr atio n sto ries Since Indonesia’s economic and political crises o f the late 1990s. I don’t have fear. which is acknowledged by all in the village as highly efficacious. or rather when it was “just given. which led to a rapid fall in value of the rupiah. people were increasingly talking about and deal­ . and he himself asserts that his healing powers protect him from harm. I’m not scared. However. In addition. it was a rock this big! It just stopped here on this hill. Fabianus’ travels seem to confirm the second part o f Mary Helms’ thesis that (since the foreign is equated with a powerful “supernatural” realm) those who travel to geographically distant places “may be accorded an aura o f pres­ tige and awe approaching the same order. acquire.” When I asked him if he forgot his family. When I asked him why he never came back to Wae Rebo dur­ ing his travels. he simply said. not spiritual prowess. Certainly. if not always the same magnitude. despite attempts to make journeys safe. an important healer. rooting a person in an origin place shares cer­ tain similarities with rituals to “collect up the soul” o f a person who has been unwell. in 1999. money.

some go to study and work as teachers. These kinds o f rumors o f exploitation and predation produce much anxiety among the families o f men who have gone to work in other countries or on other Indonesian islands and have not been heard from for many years. other migration tales reveal a more ambiva­ lent attitude towards Malaysia. Indeed. and in the morning only their shoes and clothes would be left. However. falling out with her mother-in-law. though she said she spent much o f her income on renting a room. living in camps subject to sudden police raids.. she said. In Surabaya. One was Stefan. Tsing 1993. but stressed that he wanted to earn enough to build a house and pay for his childrens future education. “advanced” scenarios they had expected. Some join weaving cooperatives. Stefan was true to his word. their stories feed into rumors that circulate regarding the dangers of working in Malaysia. and a crowd o f young boys gathered near him. his time o f arrival at key ports. He spent only two years in Malaysia. At first she seemed cynical about Stefan’s migration. but most look after the children o f relatives or work in shops. However. inside the house was a hungry python.127-128). In a letter to his father-in-law in Wae Rebo. One afternoon in Kombo in 2001. retaining no further desire . He described frequent fights between men from Flores and those from Madura and Java. in his study o f Batam. Johan Lindquist has recently described how becoming a migrant in Indonesia “appears to offer a route from the village into the economy of development and particular forms o f modernity” (2009. both through being “rooted” in places o f ori­ gin and through charms and other protective measures. She became friends with the owner’s daughter and followed her to Surabaya when the daughter went there to study. an unmarried man who had been working in Malay­ sia for a year. Mius described working on building sites in Malaysia while living in a camp in the forest. He worked as a legal migrant on a tea plantation and regularly sent money back to his family in Manggarai. and how the corpse o f a man who was murdered by another was just left in the forest and not given any mortuary rites. in their daily lives as migrants they are forced to live an uncertain. and the number o f nights he had spent in various places along the way. To the head shaking o f other villagers. 12-13). such conflicts seem to be a key factor that militated against the cultivation o f a pan-“Indonesian” identity during such migrations. When she heard that her father was ill in Kombo she returned to Manggarai and shortly afterwards married her cross-cousin. However.” Many Manggarai men do not realize until they get to Malaysia that they do not have complete papers and thus must work illegally. many migrants experience the shock o f finding that their places o f work and housing are not the middleclass. Stefan harbors no desire to return to Malaysia. van Reenen 1996. This letter was particularly intriguing to me.171 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M O BILITY : 173 ing with the migration o f young men from Manggarai to Malaysia. When I next returned to the region in 2 0 0 1. admiring the material signs (watch. Most migration to work outside Flores is undertaken by men. Stefan’s wife had had a difficult time during the early years o f her marriage. precarious existence “in the forest. a handful of young women have also migrated to work elsewhere in Manggarai or Indone­ sia. she worked in a pharmacy. Mius described how he had seen men killed by falling from buildings. One woman told me that one boss offered to pay men five million rupiah each if they lived in a particular house. either temporarily or permanently.1 heard more stories o f migration and met with several men who had returned. the husband of a Wae Rebo woman living in a village to the west. These fears also reinforce people’s conviction that those who travel to “outside” lands need to be protected spiritually. he asked him not to be angry about his travels. and partly because conditions were crowded and noisy. Though they may man­ age to save up large sums o f money. there was great excitement as a truck stopped in the vil­ lage to set down Mius. Yet. Eta once worked in a Chinese-Indonesian family’s shop in the coastal town of Labuanbajo. becoming ill. saved up considerable sums of money. If Stefan’s story is a success. baseball cap. n). following a common Southeast Asian pattern o f male travel to outside realms (Rosaldo i98o. shortly after the birth of his son. viewing it as another hardship she had to endure.” He said that he had never slept well in this camp. Stefan also sent me a letter from Malaysia that was full o f precise details about his journey. Lindquist notes how. upon arrival. from such travels. shoes) o f his foreign adventures.” When they return. Instead. For example. characterized by those left behind as “the out­ side place where there is apparently lots o f money.116. and now his wife seems less fatalistic and more contented. as I myself was always being asked to pro­ vide such details about my own journeys to and from Flores. and on his return built a large house for his family. They may work on dangerous building sites and often encounter problems both in receiving wages and in sending remittances home. and losing her first daughter when the child was only eight months’ old. including the date he had left. Stefan left for Malaysia in the year 2000. 192. This “shock” is similar to that recounted to me by several Manggarai men who have worked as undocumented migrants. the boss would lock the men inside the house. people arrived to welcome him back. migrants find them­ selves in “wild” (liar) places associated with a kind o f “wild” sociality (ibid. partly because o f fear o f police raids. As he sat in the house o f his married sister.

went to start school and live with such relatives. and did not return to Wae Rebo for nine years. a village girl yearns for her friends who have gone to high school “up in town” where their sandals “flip on their feet. Though there are two primary schools in the lowlands. so far from their family’s fields. Because o f the cost and practicalities o f return visits. These children make a house more “lively” and help out with domestic tasks while enjoying the perceived advantages of a middle-class lifestyle. it is normal for their kin in Wae Rebo-Kombo to send at least one of their children to live with them. and. these children often do not come back to Wae Rebo. However. and everyday mobility allows us to see that pathways and journeys are as significant to bodies and selves as place. stories for parents. personal. or stay in one o f the many boardinghouses (asrama). as he now speaks a slightly different Manggarai dialect. even as it did in the times o f the ancestors. It shifts and changes with time. away from the trucks. and flipping sandals o f her friends at school in town.174 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND M OBILITY : 175 to travel beyond the local area. people have a range o f perspectives on the desirability o f travel. but by the weather— winds that come from particular directions and blow through the permeable house. the nearest middle schools are several hours’ truck drive away from Kombo. part o f this shifting and changing is caused. moved when he was seven to live with his fathers brother. for many years. Eta. I know o f several children who. or even see their parents. a poster) for themselves.007. Noises o f boulders rolling. Such children’s return journeys to school are dominated by the need to pre­ pare enough rice to last until their next visit home. Stefan. Children who are able to continue with their education beyond primary school must live either with relatives in towns or larger villages. beyond the daily movements o f a travelling village. Their departure is particularly poignant. It is no surprise that anti-rain magic is.” This song reminds us that different kinds of movement (and their attendant sounds) are associated with different kinds o f power and status. Aben. Though an absent member o f the Wae Rebo-Kombo community. Parents may also take rice to their children themselves and continually worry about what kind of vegetables these schoolchildren are eating. trails and travel are a fundamental aspect o f place making. chil­ dren in this context also undertake many journeys to attend school or to live with other relatives. small objects o f town life (a ruck­ sack. Moreover. lv)Although it is not always considered “migration” in the literature. bringing with them sweets for younger siblings. Kombo and Wae Rebo become particularly lively. or oranges. The phenomenal differences between village places (associated with the forest) and school places (associated with the town) that are established during childhood remain salient for Manggarai adults and are reflected in the lyrics o f a popular song. Nevertheless. taking special foodstuffs such as sun-dried bananas. as people exploit different economic strategies in highlands and lowlands. clocks. This can be compared with other studies noting that a smaller proportion o f the population o f East Nusa Tenggara migrates permanently relative to other Indonesian provinces (Williams 2. If a person works elsewhere in Flores as a teacher or state official. as we saw with regard to the movements in and out o f a house. not by the journeys o f humans. bring home to this girl the fact that she has remained behind in the village. Many young men I know have very little interest in travelling far and are happy to confine their movements to the path between Wae Rebo and Kombo or the local marriage paths o f friends and relatives. as we saw in Chapter 4. as these children return to their villages. in Todo or Iteng. inevitably. sweet potatoes. L A N D S C A P E S OF M O V E M E N T This chapter has described some o f the travelling practices and stories that constitute the Manggarai landscape as a dynamic network o f places and pathways. a teacher in the west. and it is usually their fathers who go to visit them.” She imagines she hears the noise o f a “rolling truck” and o f a “clock striking.” but these sounds are in fact the movement o f a boulder and the noise o f a monkey. at the age o f seven. he is also considered to have taken on some o f the identity o f the place where he lives. included in the gamut o f Manggarai agricultural practices. storms that cause houses to collapse. In these. does highlight the ways in which paths o f travel are differentiated by age and gender. migration by men to Malaysia. “west inside the forest. The young travel more . or monkeys moving through the forest. One boy. Despite the local state’s focus on the preserved “authenticity” o f the highland village o f Wae Rebo. the Manggarai landscape is not static. At times o f school holidays. and on the spiritual dangers that travel involves. or by schoolchildren to other places in Flores. and the rain that changes the texture and safety o f mountain paths. Another form o f child migration are the journeys undertaken by older children to attend middle and high school. Partial resettlement has led to new forms o f productive travel. Focusing on ancestral. whatever rewards it may bring. O f course. and Mius all demonstrate a pat­ tern o f “temporary travel” to seek work beyond Flores. a lipstick.

the named land continues to be imagined as an important agent in ensuring the health and productivity o f people’s lives. The sense o f creating place and relationships out o f movement is also seen in ritual phrases spoken at marriage. a trip to the highlands to help with coffee harvesting. and through the retracing of paths and connections back to a place o f origin. perhaps in this context it makes more sense to take mobility in its many forms as agiven. Yet journeys and paths may also evoke tears and strong emotions—a bride crying as she leaves on her padong. allowing their children to follow their own paths. the solution may often be to ritually “stop” or “impede” (kepet) such mobility.176 : CHAPTER 6 ROOTS AND MOBILITY : 177 than the old. outsider women who create or follow paths o f connection become. more associated with and attached to place (particularly to the fires o f the hearth). communal sacrifices at the new-year ritual ofpenti are followed by movements away from the drum house. For Wae Rebo-Kombo people. The issue then becomes one o f how to create moments o f stillness in the midst o f flow. as noted. In considering both family and village growth. through the (temporary) creation o f centers. . and the direction terms they involve. and where ancestral journeys continue to have implica­ tions for relations between villages. Journeys and paths are always connected with place. Rather than assuming that travel and movement create a problem for the making o f place and culture. the expanding mobility o f people has led neither to a “profound sense o f loss o f territorial roots” nor to an “erosion o f the cultural distinctiveness o f places” (1992. Thus. the very greetings o f everyday life. a daughter weeping as she arrives for the final death ritual o f her deceased father. these movements cannot be separated from or opposed to the concern with creating links between places and people. a group o f relatives listening to the sound o f wailing as they bring the soul o f a deceased man back to the drum house. Such rituals reconsti­ tute not only place but also groups with a shared origin. a journey by truck to take rice to absent children. where a father follows his daughter’s marriage path to mourn his deceased grandchild. which evoke an image o f house doors mov­ ing across the landscape. a person must be rooted in a place o f origin. It is one where rivers carry the fertility o f highland ancestors. this study shows how travel can be an essential part of everyday life even in a remote Indonesian village where people are preoccu­ pied with links to the land and “rooting” in place. Indeed. following a necessary process o f dispersal. Thus. and transna­ tional communities. before the start o f a significant journey to seek work or education. reconstructing moves to other houses. despite the permeability and mobility o f person­ nel that define it. Indeed. and men tend to travel more than women. Such jour­ neys and paths may be commonplace— a walk back to the lowlands in time for school on Monday morning. at the end o f a bride’s padong journey. This dynamic of centering and dispersing is also seen in house hospitality that emphasizes the role o f the house as a center. as well as in agricultural rituals that attempt to temporarily block the pathways of spirits through fields. in this case. Contrary to the predictions o f Gupta and Ferguson. Significantly. we saw how “praising” rituals reconstruct the temporary unity o f those originat­ ing in a room. Perhaps the most striking image o f stillness or shelter in the midst o f flow is the umbrella held over a new bride during both her padong journey and the “accompanying” rituals. emphasize the importance o f acknowledging the movements o f others. Throughout this book. How­ ever. displacement. 9). This was seen in a ritual for a disgraced ancestor held outside a house. as they age. we have seen how ritual plays an important role in creating such moments. Similarly. mothers who remain behind when their sons set o ff on marriage journeys to their bride’s village are often described as the “roots” o f those who travel. Similarly. Indeed. A landscape o f movement is not simply one where migrants travel to towns or to faraway cities. Although much o f the recent anthropological emphasis on travel and mobility has come from research on migration. when movements threaten to cause harm. being a two-placed village means being a village on the move. she is incorporated into a new room.

staying behind in the drum house. where the timbers were temporar­ ily stored. Sil. dressing in ritual costume. Leading the way were several older men singing out phrases that other men answered. The chain saw belonged to a man employed by the rebuilding project’s official coordinators to cut some o f the major timbers for the new building. and sweating with the exertion. through wind and rain. several old men gathered to chew betel together before helping to prepare the village center for the arrival o f the posts. the ritual speaker insisted that he and the other elders. should face in the direction o f the village. just as they do when people go to greet a new bride arriving in the village. and preparations could finally be made for one o f the central events o f the rebuilding: the carrying into Wae Rebo of the key house-posts and central ridgepole. or “those who are the owners o f the trees. Here. “It really was like a normal bride-greeting. dressed smartly in dark sarongs.” The procession o f women took a path leading down the hill towards a stream.” In addition. After the ritual sacrifice. and described the chain saw as a “new machete. Upon arrival at a specific clearing. hoping to awaken ancestral spirits. while the other played a .CONCLUSION : 179 tambor drum with sticks. Ine Kata. the timber for the new house was gradually felled. in the dying days o f Indonesia’s New Order regime. it was imperative that the machine should be prop­ erly introduced to forest and the ancestral spirits. As they arrived. he asked the spirits to “give a little extra energy to those o f us working here. followed by a young man. Two old men. most of the village men set off early for the forest. Afterwards. The purpose o f the ritual. we saw the men coming up the hill. and that the path be kept clear for any travelling spirits. suddenly. “they are nearly here. the inhabitants ofWae Rebo began the long process o f rebuilding their com­ munal drum house with a ritual in which a line o f elders faced a chain saw placed at the base o f a central house-post. supporting poles across their shoulders. On the day o f this event. Others.” he said. lest they should take fright or offence at its noise and appearance.” Over the following months. one o f the older men came into the drum house: “Hurry up a little. After the ridgepole and main house-post had crossed the stream. In the rectangular drum house. a number o f people remarked. which had yet to be dismantled. carrying the ridgepole and other posts. In his speech. cradling chickens to be sacrificed. as a chain saw had never been used in the forests o f this area before. looking up and out towards the surrounding hill­ sides. younger men were frantically clearing undergrowth and obstacles from the paths. went forward and formally greeted the men. one o f them banged a gong. quickly began to beat the hand-drums ( tembong).” was ostensibly to request per­ mission to fell timbers in the forest from its spirits. a large crowd o f men set out immediately for the forests southwest o f the village. rhythmically banging a gong. As five women finished their prepa­ rations. one o f the women. Placing her hands on the end o f the Conclusion In 1998.” The women pro­ cessed out across the village yard. went out onto the stone like platform immediately in front of the drum house.\ Carrying in the ridgepole o f the new drum house . pragmatically named “sharpening the machete and the axe. Then.

it was about to rain. the multiple and sometimes mysterious connec­ tions among place. they contributed to the ongoing value o f that kitchen as a hos­ pitable center. “we really feel pity for this old house. those carrying the ridgepole and posts following behind.. don’t. They are created through building or rebuilding a drum house. Besides. following the welcoming o f the ngando. in ritual. Wae Rebo villagers crowded into the old drum house to drink coffee. Here. When. “Should we offer betel now ?” asked Ine Kata. which they finished with the trilling sound said to call the land. held an egg in a basket o f special ngelong leaves identical to those prepared to welcome a new (human) bride. From this moment on until the completion o f the building work.” a phrase that means to make the wood light and easy to carry. we all had tears in our eyes. However. and spirits. men and women all crowded excitedly into the still-standing rectangu­ lar drum house. most places and pathways must be made. less explicitly concerned with “place creation. When. More men burst into song. remarked that the posts were met just like a young bride. One o f the key arguments o f this book has been that such place mak­ ing involves both conscious activity (including speech) and practices that are less conscious. starting up a circular. the value and implications o f the “liveliness” generated by communal gatherings.” Yet. women and boys heartily ate together in a back kitchen.l8o : CONCLUSION CONCLUSION : 181 ridgepole.” In Manggarai. the drum-house rebuilding project was not instigated by them. Throughout this and other procedures. the significance o f marriage as an accompanied journey at the end o f which the bride is welcomed to a new place. As we saw in Chapter 5. One o f them. One older woman. memories. and fate. and the wood was very heavy. or gather grass to make thatch. and the complex potency o f landscapes as lived-in environments. tie beams with lengths o f rattan. Hearing this. this extremely time-consuming project was devel­ oped and funded by the office o f the Bupati. Like houses.’ adding that it was forbidden to talk in this way. and by movements of words tracing the lines o f ancestral or personal narratives.” Lusi confessed that she and others found this sad because the wood looked just like a dead person and was being carried just like a corpse. when more posts had been brought from the forest. he smeared a little o f the cracked egg onto each o f them. “Don’t. villages are also made by movements o f people along paths to and from fields or other villages. Ine Aga. a house is built with the labor and skill o f men who fell timbers. the drum house was not referred to by its real name but simply described as a humble shelter (sondong). As he called out the name o f each major post or beam. Ine Aga became agitated and whispered to Lusi. such talk continued in the days that followed. bring together many o f the themes o f this book: place making through everyday movements and the practices of hospitality. Led by the gong-banging Sil. the old drum house would be taken down soon. Nonetheless. as well as an action reminiscent o f the way people sometimes show their affection by holding a persons chin. another ritual was held for their arrival. Betel quids could be offered later. women in the village center were forbidden to weave. bodies. villages such as Wae Rebo are also made through continuing explicit and implicit acts o f creation. they were contrib­ uting to the ongoing value o f a clan house as a place for such communal effer­ vescence. later in the day. and o f centers. was it held in response to “signs” o f the land’s needs. Ame Bertolo. Several o f the men decided that no. I was called into a large kitchen attached to the back o f a rectangular house. prepared by younger women using coffee and sugar collected from all the community’s house­ holds. the necessity o f acknowledging the unseen powers o f the land. their “heads” towards the like stone platform. “Oh Auntie. the creation o f presence. As the drumming still sounded out from the drum house. the two large posts were put down. uncertain o f the correct procedure. as the old drum house was dismantled. but it is also made with the labor o f women who boil water for coffee and cook hearty meals to sustain the male builders. a few young women who had been watching the arrival o f the tim­ ber had a rather different reaction. the head o f the Manggarai dis­ . drums. or mushrooms that materialize the land’s “energy”—are thought by local inhabitants to be simply given. such that this construction process is described as “making a village. they drank glasses o f sweet coffee. Instead. Three young women asked me to take their photograph in front o f the rapidly disappear­ ing house. and both young children and pregnant women were kept well away from the drum-house site. the ritual speaker.” These events. While some aspects o f Manggarai landscapes—whether large boulders. Later. unlike many other communal rituals. Lusi.. “O h . After the completion o f this ritual. and everyone was thinking o f all the “lively” occasions that had been held there. hot springs. she called out “Robo. and the reactions they provoked.” one o f them sighed. told me. Nor. though it aroused the passions and interests o f villagers. we were all crying as we watched the ridgepole being car­ ried in. she added. roho. stamping dance. Following these lively songs. where I joined a crowd o f women and boys ravenously spooning rice and vegetables from shared plates amidst much excited discussion about the previously witnessed events. the women then processed back up to the village yard.

” Ritual events. places enlivened by nonhuman interlocutors also have power. one o f what Keane (1997) would call the “risks” o f ritual in this context is that it will fail to produce the requisite human and nonhuman “liveliness. at the chain-saw ritual. as a protective place is one where “lively” activities can safely be held but protective rimai». large-scale rimai events. after his earlier visit. Songs are sung to forest-based spirit affines. it would be wrong to see them as opposed kinds o f activity. though “ritual” and “everyday” actions involve different foci and efforts and address different kinds o f interlocutors. while other forms f illness can be addressed by calling back someone’s soul to their natal room. but also the importance of considering “the house” in connection with the wider landscape. by making the land itself “lively!' In treating the central ridgepole o f the drum house as a kidnapped moun­ tain bride. they all aim to increase the “liveliness” that is such a fundamental aspect o f valued places. object. through the offering o f greetings. such considerations were an irrelevant distraction. the ritual process demonstrates. had “replaced the raja” o f the ancestors’ time. Thus.” Indeed. ritual activity sometimes requires a kind o f self-conscious projection o f a place. Amé Bertolo dwelt (for the sake o f the ancestors) on the pronouncements o f the Bupati who. and people (and their blood) can be entangled with places in often ttysterious or not fully understood ways.” “sharpening the machete and axe. In Manggarai. no assumptions can be made in our analyses regard­ ing continuity. Moreover. ome days after the ritual to welcome the ridgepole. in his words. or human beings. also utilize the more everyday ways in which places are made— namely. Indeed. Yet. water sources. Similarly. when it comes to place. this is why my original concern with uncovering the everyday. agri­ cultural rituals—through speech. and dreams are Interpreted as signs o f communication from “the other side. House rituals in which ancestral food is placed on “plates” hang­ ing from the central rafters temporarily (re-)create a house as a center for vari­ ous spirits as well as for living and deceased humans. the Bupati’s project did not go uncontested. Indeed. The project was a conscious. or how it should be constructed. they all follow the same basic format. presence. not only the centrality o f marriage journeys to local conceptions o f productive life. thinking too much about a erson absent on a journey can make that person unwell. in order to be efficacious. Was this evidence that the for­ est ritual had not been successful? Should it be repeated? For the Bupati’s team. a persistent doubt in the minds o f many villagers was that the procedures for rebuilding the drum house had been as efficacious as they might have been. Thus. top-down attempt to remake Wae Rebo s village center as a fully authentic place. such house rituals also create a kind o f temporary stillness. and the pre­ sentation o f tuak and food. similarly.” As we have seen .i 82 : CONCLUSION CONCLUSION : 183 trict. In part. the gift o f betel quids. In the course o f Manggarai life. hopefully beneficial. Not only do rituals enable such agency to be utilized by humans. such as “blood on feet. places enlivened by human bodies and talk assume a kind o f protective power. Nevertheless. an inward focus.” or the drum house is referred to as a humble “shelter. who were eager to keep to their timetable and had a more ceremonial understanding o f ritual. as when a chain saw is described as a “machete. in addition to ritual speech. This was partly because they were rushed. whether ancestors woken by drumming or rooms addressed in ritual speech.” There is a kind o f mutual feedback taking place. one elderly man reported a dream in which two spirits asked him what the strange noise was that they were hearing in the forest. such as those conducted for a new drum house or for new communal fields. it acknowledges and re-creates the presence o f various unseen interlocutors.” “accompanying. In addition. like many conscious attempts by “outsiders” to remake place (such as church efforts to “inculturate” chapel buildings). One noteworthy aspect o f sacrificial rituals in Manggarai is the fact that they are often given extremely practical names. it is clear that rituals are not only activities central to the making o f places or pathways but also performances that create specific kinds of presences. pregnant women and children are kept away from places that might be full o f ancestral spirits. partly because they involved financial payments. In addition. When should they set out for a particular per­ formance? When or where should betel quids be offered? However. or activity as everyday or banal. spirits. and the construction o f various kinds o f platforms—materially constitute the ritual centers o f fields. For. Not all villagers accepted the local state’s vision o f what a drum house or a village should be. people may often express uncertainties about correct ritual procedure. one man told me that . Some months after the chain-saw ritual. the body does not always constitute the boundaries of p ie self.throughout this book. are partly about satisfying the land’s appetite. and partly because the organizers spoke too much Indonesian. are also a key means by which places are enlivened. the temporary presence that is acknowledged and created in rituals is that of specific agents. Indeed. phenomenological significance o f landscape has necessarily been tempered by an appreciation o f the creation o f presence and place agency that ritual makes possible. both protective and fertile. and ensuring its ongoing involvement with human health. they also ensure its continued. Indeed. in the midst o f the movements that otherwise define Manggarai social life. despite such uncertainties. offerings. Whether these hospitality practices are performed for house-posts.

when Manggarai people humorously and apologetically say to a visitor. by the power o f the land. he said. Although Indonesian state officials may have the power to order villages to relocate their houses. tradition). this book has also demonstrated the powerful links that exist between the land and its inhabitants. More­ over. many people say that ritual practices are “the law o f what the land wants” (ruku ngoéngde tana) and that. Indeed. this also points to local perceptions o f the close connec­ tion between the land and the adat o f those who inhabit it.” they are also declaring.” Throughout this book. For others. It has explored the ways in which one community has responded to state-sponsored resettlement. by moving out in concentric circles from household rooms to houses. this power is limited. The fate o f a community and the fate o f the land are inextricably entwined. subjective experiences and memories o f place. ancestral journeys. to open up and manage new fields. For Lusi and her friends. stone platforms. residing at the heart o f the drum house and instructed to “bite angry people. Certainly. both the health o f human beings and the fertility o f the land will decline. “This is the shape o f our land here. the dismantling o f the old drum house stirred up memories o f its many “lively” events. people had been forbidden to hunt them for fear that they might be the temporary manifestation o f “human souls. or a stream induces fear in the father o f a drowned child. “This is our character” and “This is the way we do things. Therefore. This is why—though it has attempted to reveal the sedimentation o f meaning within one particular landscape—I nevertheless entitled this book Potent Landscapes. personality”) is closely connected with the pan-Indonesian notion o f adat (custom. However.” not only because places have agency. and sometimes even curtailed. and outside interference. and ancestral landscapes. but remain influenced by local ideas about the agency o f the land. and fields. houses. as the Manggarai term ruku (which means both “law” and “character. and how this community continues to try to negotiate and assert the link between the land and various discourses and practices. or to rebuild drum houses. if they are abandoned. The ridgepole that is carried into the village as a mountain bride is later trans­ formed into a protective spirit. where a stone reminds a grandmother o f a buried placenta. rather less apologetically. Nevertheless. Ritual actions may retell the movements that constitute village histories. we have seen how memories o f and connections with place follow certain common cultural logics but can also be highly indi­ vidual. and garden-huts have the power to evoke human emotions and to shape future desires and dreams. In Wae Rebo-Kombo. or may attempt to re-create communal connections with the land or drums. Cultural politics are also the politics o f landscape. what is clear is that. the carrying-in o f the ridgepole evoked the image and memory of human corpses being carried out o f houses. and they felt “pity” for the building as its roof was taken off and its walls dismantled. the land­ scape o f southern Manggarai has multiple significances. fields.” Such a bite was perhaps what killed the overzealous engineer who argued for complete relocation from Wae Rebo.” . historical. in local eyes. As a realm full o f kinship memories. but because networks o f marriage paths. talk o f the “energy o f the land” is a powerful discourse not only about the agency o f the material environ­ ment but about morality. but people also have their own. in this context. Land­ scapes in this context are “potent.184 : CONCLUSION CONCLUSION : 185 there had been lots o f wild pigs around in the forest at the time o f carrying in the timbers. despite the individual and subjective connections between people and places or pathways. Understandings o f adat in this Indonesian context are not entirely dictated by state officials or urban elites. religious change. Such entan­ glements can be both beneficial and dangerous. we have explored different scales o f entanglement with personal.

NOTES IN T R O D U C T IO N 1 2 3 This tradition has informed much o f the work on Austronesian societies. Thus. e. and substitutes h for s. The s/h shift dialect also employs the pronominal system o f West Manggarai (Verheijen and Grimes 1995. 7 9 . 585). as well as a partially different vocab­ ulary. though it is also evident in Manggarai’s supplementary-weft lipa songke cloth. In 2002. while masang (yesterday) becomes mahang. 1189-1191). andy instead o f j. Makassarese influence on Manggarai was mainly linguistic.87). and the third lowest Human Development Index rank (U N D P 2004). I largely follow the system o f notation used by Verheijen (1967) in his Manggarai-Indonesian dictionary. 56) and instituting the dalu system o f region divisions in order to facilitate tax collection and administration (Erb 1999. but asu in the s/h shift dialect. Manggarai is classified as a Bima-Sumba language within the Central MalayoPolynesian language group and has been estimated to have approximately fortythree subdialects (Verheijen and Grimes 1995. Hoskins’ second ethnographic text— Biographical Objects (1998)— gives equal weight to the stories o f men and women. Reuter 2. the province o f N T T had the lowest ranking out o f all thirty Indone­ sian provinces for per capita income.. though I differ from him in following contemporary Indonesian orthography. 588). and s for c. exerting power through their control o f coastal products (Gordon 1975. using c instead o f tj. xv-xvi. “dog” is acu in central regions. which is mark­ edly different from the red and brown ikat textiles o f other Florenese groups (Hamilton 1994). which employs a very different intonation (known locally as “dry speech”) from central and western dialects. 1987. 4 5 . In this book. in uncover­ ing the nuances o f individual biographies and their connections with various objects.j instead o f dj.g.006) but in which little attention has been paid to the difference this makes to ordinary people throughout their lives. and to formal and informal speech. Wae Rebo-Kombo villagers generally follow a dialect known as the “s/h shift” (Verheijen 1967. in which the connection between land and people has been highlighted (see. Despite this strategy informing her first long period o f fieldwork. The Bimanese appear to have had the greatest political and economic influence over the region.

I was told that the placenta should be buried near to the room so that “the blood is not far away. a top story called the hekangkode or “monkey-hut. Such an association o f the umbilical cord.4 6 189 C H A P T E R i: RO O M S 11 1 Blackwood (1999) has described similar “negotiations” regarding the transition o f Minangkabau rooms and houses from generation to generation. Anthropologists o f other areas o f Indonesia have connected such practices with the semangat or “soul-stuffi” that such body parts as hair or fingernails may con­ tain (Errington 1989. Alfred Gell (1998) defines agency as intentionality and therefore argues that objects exercise agency only insofar as they act as “extensions” or indexes o f human agency. the placenta seems to share some o f the characteristics o f Manggarai “body siblings. In the very different context o f northern Togo. as if the female twin had become the wife o f her brother. her twin brother cannot receive any part o f the bride-price that is paid for her. C H A P T E R 2: T H E P E R M E A B L E H O U S E i Waterson’s encyclopedic examination o f Southeast Asian houses contains colonial-era photographs o f these older house forms (1990. and they always involve the sacrifice o f a gray chicken. There are a number o f different kinds o f ritual held to “stem” or “stop” (kepet) particular spirits or energies.” and a sarong “so they can each cradle their children. 7 In contrast with areas o f Southeast Asia where the placenta is explicitly seen as a kind o f “sibling” to the baby (Laderman 1983. Blier has argued that the Tamberma see miniature earth mounds outside each house door as sheltering the souls o f house occupants (1983. Manggarai women are strongly dis­ couraged from crying or screaming during childbirth. Actor Network Theory (A N T ) proposes a more radical (or “symmetrical”) approach to humans and nonhumans. 220). 4 Niang houses are constructed from five layers: the floor (lante).l88 : N O T ES TO PAGES 2 3 . i All translations from the original Dutch are by Harold Herrewegh. Thus.158. extremely hot root that is highly valued for medicine. On the potency o f cross-sex twins elsewhere on Flores. Barraud 1990. Carsten 1997. if the brother marries. the lempa-rae.” 8 The reverse o f this example is a situation where the tungku link is rather tenuous but is emphasized because o f the close relations between two families. with whom it has a “joking relationship” (1983. People in Wae Rebo-Kombo who remembered elongated oval houses called them mbaru beruga. Similarly. 222). Nana is used by women as a term o f address for men or boys o f the same gen­ eration or younger. 373). 165-166). and finally. 228). I was told that when a female twin marries.” For example. 37-39). criticiz­ ing the priority given to social relations in accounts o f the material world and breaking down the boundaries between subjects and objects. where dried and ground umbilical cord may be used to make a medicine to bathe a baby’s eyes (Laderman 1983. Similarly. 10 The importance o f separation in extraordinary circumstances is also seen in ideas about cross-sex twins. cf. In other Southeast Asian contexts that stress the placentas sibling-like nature. The equivalent female term is enu. nor o f humans in general” (1996a. 122. 527-531) and Howell (1991. the main loft area (lobo mehe)\ a further loft called the lentar. 378). If either o f these things were to occur. 65).3 6 N O T ES TO PAGES 3 6 . Bruno Latour sees agency as simply the ability to act.” The ritual ensures that each couple will have many healthy children despite the “overlap­ ping bones” o f their parents.” this necessary separation is performed in a ritual called “crossed gifts. and describes the house for a newborn baby as “a kind o f intermediary womb between heaven and society” (1990. 197) on occasions when Buid ancestors are offered a sacrifice in order to stay away from those inside a house. and the baby’s health is common in southeast Asia. See also Gibson (1986. 224). Barraud notes that Tanebar-Evav call childbirth “to be-house” (1990. While Gell defines agency as intentionality. However. As in Malaysia (Laderman 1983. an “actant” for Latour implies “ no special motivation o f human individual actors.” a plate “so they can each eat separately. describes the measurements o f these “meter houses” as “four by six meters with a minimum elevation o f one and three-fourths meters” (1975. 83-84). 3 Gordon. Jengok is a long. see Erb (1987. in the matrilineal context o f Minangkabau. and on Bali. 9 When two female “siblings” marry two male “siblings. Men use the term only for those much younger than them­ selves. thin. it would be like “incest” (jurak ).” The women are each presented with a water carrier “so they can each fetch water. but I did not find such notions to be elaborated in Manggarai. A number o f rather vague and unspecific healing ideas concern the lampek blade. 447). 229. in his work on art and agency (and while avoiding the language o f fetishism). 372). McKinley describes how Malays see the placenta as an elder spirit sibling o f a newborn baby. such as “treating” it with burnt coconut should the baby’s belly button become infected and burning it in the case o f other illnesses or even disagree­ ments. his twin sister will not be asked to contribute what is known as sida money towards the price o f his bride.” Though other parts o f the house .158) or added to siblings’ coffee by their mother in the case o f arguments (Cannell 12 2 3 4 13 5 14 15 1 9 9 9 . see Boon (1990. the blade used to cut it. Tsintjilonis 2004. By contrast. in his thesis on central Manggarai. it is the relationship between mother and daughter that is crucial. 55)6 Similarly.

Manggarai people have no rules regarding the orientation o f corpses within the grave. This language o f contrasts between appearance and a more profound or ideal reality was sometimes used as a social critique. from the president down to village head.” while the family into which a woman marries.” a sociospatial configura­ tion visible in temples such as Borobudur on Java (1976. disputing the notion o f the house as a “microcosm” and arguing that connec­ tions between different symbolic domains are “partial and variable. One man is responsible for maintaining a book in which names o f household heads and lists o f amounts given are carefully noted. There is someone burning a chicken.” 3 Other ethnographers of Indonesian societies have also discussed the suitability o f these conventional glosses. in which the capital stood as the “magical center o f the empire” (1956 [1942].ooo and 6 kg rice at the time o f the final kilos ritual. There are old mothers cook­ ing. Vanuatu.109. However. following the Bupati’s project to rebuild the Wae Rebo drum house. There are also people dancing. 2 In central and northern areas o f Manggarai.168). and another Rp5. a woman’s natal kin are called anak rona or “children o f men. 1 found it had been reassembled near to the path out o f the village. or that a per­ son is “really” a potential spouse.” in which the king and court stood as the “exemplary center” (1980. 11-18 ).” Another girl wrote o f a ramekempu (bridewealth negotiation): “There is an old man speak­ ing with a chicken. 304. and people eating. and there are old mothers cooking in the kitchen.15). I did not think that houses themselves were portable. When I returned for fieldwork in 2001 . By contrast. “allows a freedom o f movement” in which residence patterns are “part o f the interweaving o f place and people that creates Longana kinship” (1985. Fita. Geertz argues that the nineteenth-century Balinese state was a “theatre state. but also attempt to create barriers protecting them from what the Vezo describe as the “longing” that the dead feel for the living (Astuti 1995. these sums were: Rp5.104). and the serving group consists o f humans who recruit members “through a variety o f means” (1989. was said to have a very “hard” motherin-law. Drawing on this literature. Sherman argues that it is “impossible to explain how a 1 . Similarly. 1994. Unlike the Nagé (Forth 1991b. The use o f wage labor (known as working “daily. these terms were known but were found too impolite to use. McWilliam (1997) analyzes paths as a “relationship idiom” among the Meto o f West Timor. In Wae ReboKombo. Significantly. 3). and there is some­ one burning a chicken in the kitchen. In 2008.” and it is the medicine given to those who may have become ill because o f an inadvertent meeting with an invisible spirit.123). Errington characterizes the “houses” o f island Southeast Asia as “profoundly centered entities.” dependent on context (1986. However. boys and girls. O ’Hanlon and Frankland 2003. consisting o f a center and a serving group. art anak wina or “children o f women” (Erb 1993. There are people eating. For example. and there are people lifting glasses o f water in the house. 69). 23). The literal meaning o f sumang is “to meet” or “meeting. Later. 239). 46. it is only the names o f these stories that are known by everyone.6 5 N O TES TO PAGES 6 6 . the Vezo o f Madagascar. while other practices o f mobility emphasize permeability. Parmentier 1987.” harian) for certain agricultural tasks is becoming more common. There are people dancing. For example. a large rectangular house was dismantled. Manggarai people seek out the fertility that flows from the ancestors. I am arguing that it is hearth-based practices o f hos­ pitality that temporarily create the ordinary Manggarai house as a center. one girl wrote this description o f a pesta kelas (final death ritual event): “There is an old man speaking with a chicken. to describe such a “galactic polity. This echoes the interpretations o f Anakalangese villagers who saw the five levels o f the house as paralleling the five-point state ideology of pancasila (Keane 1995.7 6 : 191 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 are named.” where the center is a stable object such as a temple or a set o f regalia. There are young men just sitting. the notion o f marriage paths or “roads” also appears to be widespread in Melanesia (see Bonnemaison 1985. This tracing o f interconnections is also seen in conversations when people com­ pare alliance or kin relations to show that they are “really” siblings. Ellen has rightly criticized spatial analyses that aim to uncover an overall order.” Although I would not wish to push the analogy too far. Tambiah utilized the notion o f mandala. one out-married woman. and people drunk on tuak.190 : N O T E S TO PAGES 5 0 . A friend told me that Fita’s baby looked thin and unwell (and hence was living temporarily with Fita’s parents).102). it is worth noting the 12 13 14 similarity between my description o f ordinary Manggarai houses and the lit­ erature on the traditional Southeast Asian polity as a profoundly centered but boundary-less realm. Like another Austronesian people. since rona and wina are also rather sexually loaded terms for “husband” and “wife. During my first fieldwork in Manggarai. some households still work for one another according to reciprocal work arrangements known as dodo. CHAPTER 3: P A T H S O F M A R R I A G E In the same volume. 141). core and container. Rodman describes how the “impermanence and portability” o f housing materi­ als in Longana. even though “really” the child should have been fat and healthy. and her descendants. Heine-Geldern argued that the structural and spatial orga­ nization o f Indie states was a microcosmic mirroring o f the macrocosmos. a composition o f two elements. There are young women lifting and 3 kg rice at the time o f the death. a person killing a chicken. particularly by households with only a small labor pool. One man told me that the five levels o f the house were linked with the five levels o f Indonesian government.

and it was unnecessary to pay any extra bride-price or to repeat rituals held for the first marriage. 6 These “tripods” are called hanggar and consist o f small sticks split into three at the top. describing how the inhabitants o f opposite mountain slopes in Manggarai “have the habit o f holding a kind o f singing-duel on quiet evenings. For a comparative account o f the significance o f chicken calls (as well as buffalo) see Hoskins’ work on the struc­ turing o f “social and biographical time” in Kodi. there are people here!” Historically. 8 For accounts o f myths involving darat. the convention is to reply. 121). Similarly.” When asked for this money. CHAPTER 4: E A R T H . you know it is time to return home. .” People take great delight in these “jokes” and view them as an important element o f alliance relationships. a groom contracting a formal marriage walks along “the neat road. 118).122. “mock” speech. see Gordon (1980) and Erb (1991b). For more on marriage in central and eastern Mang­ garai. these forms o f marriage have declined in significance. taking their turns at singing ‘at’ each other from the distance” (1942. under church influence. For example. In particular. among the Endenese o f central Flores. 7 Empo-dehong (literally. and in particular on the bride as an icon o f modern beauty in Manggarai. some women called out. 47). However. If a person has a serious request to make o f another. and that European missionaries were often the targets oigorak rumors (ibid.” Their shape echoes that o f the three hearthstones used for balancing pots on in the house. maybe he shouldn’t be getting married. 92). 321) notes that the Batak explicitly contrast the flighty behav­ ior o f adolescent girls with the restraint o f new brides. 868) but nevertheless retains the gloss “wifereceiver” as “most suitable” for Toba-Batak practices and values. while Barnes opposes the bride and groom’s “acute embarrassment” to the “exuberant celebrating” o f friends in Lamalera (1996. the bride will be miraculously “found” and the ritual can proceed. W A T E R 1 2 3 4 5 The most striking example o f the attribution o f agency to the landscape came during a small earthquake. 75. See also Needham (1980) and Hicks (1984) for a somewhat hypothetical and esoteric debate on the theoretical exis­ tence and “evolution” o f a prescriptive alliance system in Manggarai. there have been limited employment opportunities outside the agriculture sector throughout the province o f Nusa Tenggara Timur (Barlow et al. Sumba (1993. with a piece o f bark thrust in the center as a “plate. 228-229).14). As the ground shook beneath them. cf. see Allerton 2007a. where the annual pilgrimage o f a goddess represents a stylized version o f a woman’s postmarital journey (Sax 1991. This ritual parallel can be compared with Himalayan India. Manggarai marriage events frequently employ what is called gara-gara. Forrester 1999. “I f he can’t yet dress himself. perhaps because they are mobile shelters. when arriving for a marriage ritual. thus neatly combining the dual characteristics o f protective place and dynamic movement. S T O N E . 89). 9). as the notion of wife-taking distorts local understandings o f indebtedness and respect between alliance groups. Erb notes gorak are thought to seek out childrens heads for use in concrete con­ struction. The use o f umbrellas in these rituals is considered extremely important. 324). Philemon buceroides neglectus) was the “watch” o f the old people in the past. the clean path. In an interesting parallel with Manggarai terminology. 1991. Rodgers notes that the most exact translation o f the Batak term anakboru (conventionally glossed as “wife-takers” or “wife-receivers”) is “daughter-people” (1990. 84.1 0 8 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 married woman could see herself as either ‘wife-taker’ or ‘wife-receiver’ in relation to her parents and brothers” (1987. Kunst noted a different kind o f competitive singing in his colonial-era survey o f music on Flores. This ongoing dependency on agriculture may well have spared many in N T T from the most severe effects o f the 1997-1998 Indonesian mon­ etary crisis (Mathews 1998. where in myths and stories slave raiders are called gorak. that is. For example. so a form o f wild betel leaf is known as “monkey-betel” (kala-kode). 67). “Hey. In the case o f both tinu-lalo and lili (when a man married his deceased brother’s widow). Once you have heard its cry three times.. see Allerton (2 0 0 1. just as “monkey-huts” are a “wilder” version o f village houses. Lembor is a region o f West Manggarai well known for its grassy plains where livestock are grazed. “scared you will think it is just my mouth” (rantang le muu).170 -171.192 : N O T ES TO PAGES 7 7 . The bird is said to make its first sound at about 3 p. For more on bridal makeup. they may hand that other person a small sum o f money as they speak. The sense o f domestic categories all having a “wild” or “monkey” counterpart is also found in botanical terminology. Rodgers (1990. 269-270). McWilliam 2002. people said that the kokak bird (a kind o f honeyeater. the new spouse simply substituted for their deceased sibling. “deceiving/tricking ancestor”) seems to correspond with a spirit known in some other parts o f Manggarai as gorak (Erb 1991a. an analysis that is persuasive for southern Manggarai. Similarly.m. each “path” o f alliance will be asked to give money to “dress the young man. while other wild plants are called “monkey-ginger” [liakode) and “monkey-bananas” (muku-kode). After they present a sum o f money. at a “collecting” ritual.” while a groom initiating an elopement “slashes the grass to make way” (Nakagawa 1988.8 7 NO TES TO PAGES 8 7 . stressing the weight and significance o f their words by intoning. 12 13 To be “eaten” by someone is also a euphemism for sexual intercourse. Erb links these beliefs to the long history o f foreign domination and slave raiding in Manggarai. the groom’s kin may be told that the girl cannot be found and must have run away.

Manggarai people associate the health o f both people and land with coolness and dampness. as it may be the guardian spirit/proprietor o f the spring (Barnes 1974. Images o f cool.104). Hence.I 2 4 N O T ES TO PAGES 1 2 7 . 81). Barnes 1974. 10 Gregory Forth (personal communication) suggests that eels may be “doubly spiritual” in this context. has two drum houses. through­ out Flores. or flavor. a small drum is rumored to have been made with the skin o f a young female victim o f sacrifice (Erb 1999. anger. often leading to serious interethnic conflict (see Hoey 2003).154).” see Errington 1989. Fox 1988). in both these cases. just. state policies have sought to promote small. when presenting a “sarong to shelter. while “heat” is associated with uncomfortable living. fitting. Erb describes a penti ritual in the hamlet o f Tukeq in which spirits were invited to “pray to God” together with the whole village community (2007. 13 In southern Manggarai. 15 Manggarai has many more wet-rice fields (sawah) than other areas o f Flores. a snake seen near the spring in an origin village may not be killed. For an account o f the significance o f heirlooms to an Indonesian “house society. Despite such labelling. 99). I never saw any such objects. 4. true. Similarly. the majority o f the population has moved to the resetded village. 1991. Sa’dan Toraja house-posts are “personified and dressed up. with spirits) but also are connected with spiritually potent water sources. the sacrificial rituals o f the village retain a medium o f speech closely associated with the interior realm o f the ancestors. when the groom’s kin arrive for the bridewealth nego­ tiations. The procedures surrounding the carrying-in o f the Wae Rebo drum house-posts have a number o f parallels with practices elsewhere in Southeast Asia. approximately 40% o f the rice production o f Nusa Tenggara Timur was grown in Manggarai (Corner 1989. character. has been transformed into a “Catholic ceremony o f giving thanks and asking for blessing” (2000. By com­ parison with Wae Rebo-Kombo.” and the main house-post in Roti is treated as a “king” (1990. Farther east from Kombo is the large village o f Narang. it is ordinary speech that is adopted. Gordon reports that most Manggarai villages have between six and ten clans (1975.” since the tone people use when uttering this phrase is similar to the tone English speakers use when they wish to emphasize that. the village o f the onetime raja o f Manggarai. see Moeliono 2000. As Kuipers has described for Sumba. 8). Moeliono reports that penti in Rura. is a small highland site where a few families still live despite the villages relocation to the larger. 89.1 3 4 : 195 9 The Manggarai word muing is rather difficult to translate into English. actually. 64-83). something is not quite as it initially appears. color. However. For example. Rotok. while the second unites five clans who arrived in Kende at different times in the past. which in some villages has a banyan tree growing out of it. usually sin­ gle-family dwellings based on an ideal (and often unrealistic) model o f nuclear families headed by the husband/father (van Reenen 1996. even when the local language is used in church. lush. and bad luck (cf. a cover o f shade above. In his thesis. 7. By the late 1980s.194 NO T ES TO PAGES I O 9 . including an old Javanese dagger (keris). not ritual speech (1998. Schrauwers 2000. north Manggarai. 123. However. Similarly. The sompang. really. Carsten 1997. In line with these developments.171). the area o f land used for shifting cultivation in Manggarai declined to 48% in 1983. visible from Kombo. I have translated the phrase tana muing as the rather awkward English “really/actually the land. lowland site o f Kakor. actually. following the development o f sawah. The village o f Kende. retains a connection with an origin village called Pulang.” 12 Verheijen suggested that these platforms may have contained the graves of influ­ ential elders (1967. The first o f these houses only one clan. Modo. Waterson describes how Minangkabau house timbers are carried in to the sound o f gongs and drums. and patterns o f ritual speech (van Wouden 1968.15) and with the stone “boats” o f the Tanimbar Islands (McKinnon 1991. they might state that they have seen the “coolness on the ground” and have discovered that it begins in the village o f the bride’s kin. to the east o f Flores.” the bride’s family might say that it is to ensure “a floor o f moistness below. the resettlement o f Manggarai villagers is rather differ­ ent from Indonesian policies o f “transmigration” that have involved giving land to settlers in such “outlying” areas as Kalimantan and West Papua (Irian Jaya). 29. as against an average Flores proportion o f 62% (Barlow et al. as it carries a range o f meanings including “correct. . 14 Manggarai responses to enculturation appear to be highly localized. For an account o f a multi-clan village with two drum houses. in Lembor. 49-50. fertile places often appear in Manggarai mar­ riage rituals. 11 As in many areas o f Southeast Asia. Throughout Indonesia. There were rumors o f other heirlooms stored in the loft o f the drum house. composed o f several resettled hamlets. CHAPTER 5: D R U M H O U S E S A N D V I L L A G E R E S E T T L E M E N T 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Similar “dual” or “parallel” structures have been noted throughout eastern Indo­ nesia in both traditional offices. conceptions o f authority. 713).118). as they not only look like snakes (associated. 40). can be compared both with the sacrificial posts found in other Florenese societies (Forth 1998.” The term is often used to stress a real or underlying personality. Telle 2009. 62). 187). the association o f Christianity with “the outside” is not only a result o f the particular conditions o f its establishment but also connects with the continued use o f Indonesian for prayer meetings and church services. In Kédang. Blackwood 1999. indeed. Other areas o f Manggarai do contain communities that have not entirely aban­ doned their highland sites. Smedal 1994. Thus. One o f these. 294). In Todo.

. In southern Manggarai. the fields outside” (gendangn oné. as well as the disruption o f the link between gendang and lingko in the modern era. 315). massages are freely given to friends and kin on the understanding that throughout the course o f a normal life all people have “little falls” that produce “cooked blood” in knots in their feet. 12 It is noteworthy that by far the largest number o f visitors to the drum house since its construction have not been foreign tourists (whose numbers are in fact very by the end o f the year. in coming to terms with an Austronesian spatial system has not gone unreported in the anthropological lit­ erature” (1997. the expression “the drums inside. are also used as the expla­ nation for backache. Falls. Although in Manggarai..000. 139. to Rpi3. argues for “moderate linguistic relativity. to U S$i in mid-1998. it is important always to take along something as “fruit o f the hands” (wua de limé). “surprise and confusion. and knees. a huge amount o f money by local rural standards. and the historicity o f the landscape also entails an entanglement with the agency o f the state that dates back to Inka times” (2001. Forth 1991b. these duels are being appropriated by government officials and others as “performance genres” for tourists or special events (Erb 2001. 84.150-151).1 5 3 N O T ES TO PAGES 1 5 4 . 156-157). However.148). Both Erb (2001. power and wealth” as originating in distant lands (1989. Forth argues that in the Nagé region o f Flores. One headline read: “Authentic Manggarai settlement: Wae Rebo. Increasingly.126).In the Buli orientation system. Bubandt argues that Christianity has entailed a transfer o f “symbolic significance” from the Buli downward direction. 199). who come to the village on “practice” field trips. lingkon pé’ ang) is used to refer to the symbolic unity o f a drum com­ munity and its land. where the agency o f “the land” sometimes clashes with that o f the state. land where we live” (golo lonto. “heaven” (surga) has not proven a particularly catchy idea. because people stress that. usually single figures for each year) but students from the tourism high school in Ruteng. 2007) and Moeliono (2000) emphasize the significance o f this notion to Manggarai understandings o f place. most notably Todo. the relationship is not one o f direct opposition. I was not aware 2 4 In central Manggarai. Wassman and Dasen (1998. 136. This comment is very pertinent to the situation in Wae Rebo-Kombo. see Keers 1948. when journeying farther afield in Manggarai to the villages o f kin or affines. other contrasting pairs tend to be used to express the unity o f land and people. 8 The claim that Manggarai people originated in Minangkabau seems to be one o f some longevity. 7 Despite the expectation o f safe walking. Barnes 1974. 5 An intriguing comparison is found in Bubandt s description o f how a young Buli boy once asked him. Wassman and Dasen 1998. 10 The value o f the rupiah rose from Rp9. Penelope Harvey argues that “The animate landscape provides an alternative source o f power to that o f the urban-based state apparatus. particularly “hill where we sit.196 : N O T ES TO PAGES 1 4 0 . tana ka’éng). 690). Graham 1994. have lost or forgotten. direction terms are coming to be used “more and more as simple equivalents o f . 11 The language o f preservation dominated press reports on the Bupati’s visit. C H A P T E R 6: R O O TS AND M O B ILITY 1 As Nils Bubandt notes. and Erb 1999. particularly while carrying a heavy basket. in which land is increasingly conceived as private property.98).1. . Direction terms may undergo various shifts o f meaning in response to wider influences. and the dead continue to be described as “towards the mountains” (lé). hands. because the “cooked blood” is thought to travel away from the sprained limb up to the neck and shoulders. 3 o f the Manggarai terms being used as cardinal directions. 49. Bahasa Indonesia words” (1991b. 9 Writing on the Peruvian Andes. Their own study. employing both ethnographic and psycho­ logical methods. cf. 13 Similarly..” 6 Visits to other villages also involve transporting goods such as tobacco or coffee. 143). 85-86. 2. Kunst 1942. 9 Similar notions have been discovered by ethnographers o f other Indonesian societies. but where understandings o f the land’s agency are in part shaped by the implications o f state-sponsored resettlement. people would sometimes translate lé as the Indonesian utara (north) and lau as selatan (south). 14 Wae Rebo villagers themselves are perfectly capable o f adopting this discourse on authenticity and are increasingly speaking o f their dialect as the “original” Mang­ garai language that other villages. some Todo people referred to their rebuilt niang house as an Inpres. 693-694) give an interesting overview o f accounts o f the confusion and disorientation felt by Balinese people when they similarly lose their bearings. while Danilyn Rutherford (2003) has investigated the multiple allures and domestications o f “the foreign” on Biak.186). State­ ments about the greater authenticity o f the s/h shift are also an explicit rejection o f central Manggarai views o f this dialect as rather “backward” and humorous. For example.1. a “Presidential” development project (Erb 1998. The project therefore cost well over US$2. the “upward” direction seems to have many o f the connotations o f both the Manggarai “seaward” and “outside.1 7 0 : 197 8 Sasi— called caci in central Manggarai— can be compared with other ritual combats in Indonesia (Hoskins 1993. a site which needs to be preserved” (Pos Kupang.” showing how Bali­ nese language (and culture)—which lacks the “egocentric encoding” assumed by developmental psychology— does (moderately) constrain conceptualization o f space. towards the “upward” direction to which dead Christians should ascend (1997. “Is your town close to Japan or is it still farther up?” (i997. Jane Atkinson has described how the Wana conceptual­ ize “knowledge. traditionally the place o f the dead.. In Wae Rebo-Kombo.

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adat (custom): conceptions of, n, 117,
118 ,119 ,12 7 ,14 4 ,14 5 ,14 6 ,14 8 ,18 5 ; connection with land, 98; discourses on “authenticity,” 14 1,14 4 ,14 5 ,14 7 , 157,19éni4; and houses, 6 0 ,14 3-14 7 ; relationship with Catholicism, 11, 77, 10 3 - 10 4 ,116 - 12 0 ,115 ,194ni3 .Seealso Manggarai: idea o f pan-Manggarai culture; ritual leader (tua adat) adoption, 35— 36 affinity. See marriage alliance agency: created in performance, 4 2-4 3,18 2; o f drums and gongs, 131-132; o f houses, 4 1-4 3 , 64-65; ofland, 98,109, in - 112 , 118 ,122-123, i 2-6, 139 ,14 1,14 6 ,18 4 -18 5 , 193m, 1 9 6 ^ ; o f place, 19, 21, 27-28, 38, 40, 42, 64-65, 96, 9 7 -9 8 ,112 ,114 -115 , 135,182. See also landscape: as animate; signs (communicated by the land) agriculture, 12, 98-103. See also fields; ritual: agricultural rituals

animism: agricultural animism, 123-124; phenomenological approaches to, 4, 12 1-12 2 ,12 3 anti-syncretism, 117 -118 ,12 0 ,12 4 . syncretism

See also

Bird-David, Nurit, 121,123 Bloch, Maurice, 8, 86,115 blood: “ body-blood” as destiny, 37, 38; “cooked” blood, I97n7; “green/unripe” blood, 37-38, 41, 43, 66-67; lack of, 55; and ritual, 20-21, 27,121. See also mar­ riage: “ blood on feet” ritual Bonnemaison, Joel, 115 Bowen, John, 124 bridewealth: contributions towards, 34,
77, i 88nio; negotiations, 79, 81, 90, i9 o n io , 19 4 m l

Bupati’s visit. See state: visit to Wae Rebo Carsten, Janet, 35-36,38 Casey, Edward, 142 Catholicism: charismatic, 7 1,10 3 ,12 4 , 145; and death, 69,124; identity as Catholic, 11,13; inculturation, 104, 116 -117 ,118 ; and landscape, 98,115-119, 123; priests, 10 3 -10 4 ,116 ,119 ,12 0 ,14 3 ; and protection, 120,169; relationship with adat (custom), n, 7 7 ,10 3 -10 4 , 116 - 12 0 ,12 5 ,194ni3; religious teachers (guru agama), 68,103,117. See also grotto; ritual: Catholic Church’s views on; SVD childbirth, 24-27, 36, 37-38, i88n7. See also names: naming ritual children: being taught about kinship, 34; moving between houses, 53, 56, 61; and place, 20, 25-26, 28-30, 35, 36, 50, 52-53, 56,164; and ritual, 63-64,

abé-kae. See siblingship
ancestors: ancestors o f the land, 106-107, no, 12 2,12 3 -12 4 ,12 5 -12 6 ; conceptions of, 8 ,10 3 ,10 9 -110 ,112 ,12 3 -12 4 ,13 9 , 166,182; and drums, 131,132,135,18 2; as harmful, 38, 7 2 ,16 8 ,19in i4; and houses, 71,10 6 , i89ni2; and the land, 106— 10 7 ,112 ,113 -114 ,118 ,12 3 -12 4 ,13 9 , 14 0 ,14 1,16 8 ,17 8 -17 9 ; relationship with descendants, 21, 32-33,134-135, 13 8 ,14 6 ,16 8 ,19ini4; and rooms, 21, 32--33. 37, 41, 43, 72.. 134-135: ofWae Rebo, 112 ,113 ,114 ,13 0 ,13 4 ,13 9 ,14 0 , 14 1,16 5-16 6 . See also food and eating: food for ancestors; mobility: o f ances­ tors; ritual: praising rituals; ritual; to “stop up/impede”Anderson, Benedict,








9 1-9 1,19 0 1110 ; traveling to school, 151, 16 1,17 4 -17 5 Christianity. See Catholicism clans, 13 4 ,13 5 ,13 7 ,195n7; clan branch, 32., 77, 9 5,136,137; origin stories, 33 Clifford Jam es, 7 5 ,15 1 colonialism, 10 - 11, 4 4 ,12 9 -13 0 Condominas, George, 100 conflict: and drum house rebuilding project, 14 5-14 6 ,18 2 ; and houses, 54, 58,59, 101; over land, 124-125; between male siblings, 33, 59,166; over water, 33, 124-125. See also household: conflicts crying: after a death, 53, 66, 67, 68, 71, 93, 16 0 ,17 7; at marriage, 73, 79, 83-85, 87, 90, 93,177 Cunningham, Clark, 49-50 custom. See adat death: caused by failure to “root,” 168; caused by incest, 77; caused by spirits, 26; final death ritual (Æélas), 26, 69-70, i9onio; forty nights’ prayers, 69; “green leaves” ritual, 69; “green/ unripe” death, 37, 66-67, 85; and houses, 53, 55, 65-70; journey to origin village after, 14 0 - 14 1,16 0 - 16 1; loca­ tion o f the dead, 66, 68, 6 9 - 7 0 ,196n2; and money, 6 7 -6 8 ,19ini3; news of, 156; “shaking out the mats” 69. See also crying Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari, 152-153, 168 direction terms, 6 6 ,10 9 -110 ,15 3-156 ,176 ,
i9 6 n n i-3,197n 5

Errington, Shelly, 133 everyday life: contrasted with rituals, 64, 65, 182-183; Manggarai conceptions of, 8 -9 ,14 ; as theoretical approach, 5, 8,

See also marriage alliance: groups;
unmarried women grotto, 115 Gullestad, Marianne, 7, 8 hair, 36-37 healing, n, 55 ,10 3,197n7; healers, 24-25, 17 0 -17 1; protective medicine, 85,109, 12 0 ,16 9 ,17 0 hearth, 18, 27, 46, 4 8 ,5 2 ,5 4 ,193n6 heirlooms, 12 7 ,13 1,195n5 Helliwell, Christine, 51-52 Helms, Mary, 16 9 -17 0 ,17 1 Henley, David, and Jamie Davidson, 146 Hoskins, Janet, 7,19, i87n2 hospitality, 12, 53, 60-63, 65, 67,190m l; and “making guests,” 62, 91-92. See also food and eating; liveliness house-based societies, 4 1-4 2 , 72, 75, 96,133,

household: conflicts, 23-24; and room, 18,19, 20, 24, 58, 84, 89; and travel, 158-160 Howell, Signe, 119,133 incest, 36, 77, i88mo Indonesia: crisis o f 1998,12-13, 34,143,155, 1 7 1 - 1 7 2 ,193n2; Indonesian identity in Manggarai, 13 -14 ,14 4 -14 5 ,15 5 . See also language: Indonesian (BI); New Order; state Ingold, Tim, 4 -5, 58 ,10 3,121,150 ,158 Jackson, John B „ 161 jokes, 13, 34, 52-53, 61, 87, 9 1,10 1,15 9 ,192n8 Keane, Webb, 7, 105-106,183 kinship: botanical idioms, 9 3-9 4 ,137,16 7; choice in, 33-34; consequences o f neglecting, 40; and houses, 27, 56, 70, 7 2 ,13 3,134 ,16 7 ,17 4 ; importance o f knowing “real” kinship links, 35-36, 40, i9on8; patrilineal emphasis, 20, 31-34, 35, 38, 99,133-134; and travel, 56,162,166,177. See also clans; gender; house-based societies; household; incest; landscape: and kinship; mar­ riage alliance; origins; siblingship labor: cooperative, 6 1,10 2 ,14 6 ; waged, 62-63, i9on9 land: agency of, 98,109, m - 1 1 2 , 118, 122-123, IZ6 ,139 ,14 1,14 6 ,18 4 -18 5 , 193m, i96n9; appearance of, 10 0 -10 1, 105; conceptions of, 87, in ; conflict, 124-125; connection with houses, 6 4 -6 5,133,135 -136 ,139 ; connection with rightful inhabitants, 86,125-126, 130 .139 -14 1,18 4 -18 5 ; energy of, 108, 118 ,122 -12 3,13 9 ,18 4 -18 5; as “hot” or dangerous, 112 ,12 0 ,12 2 - 12 3 ,12-5> 139; ownership, 99,104, no, 111- 112 ,119 , 12 2 .13 9 -14 0 ,14 8 -15 0 ,15 6 ,16 0 ; talk about loving, 87, 95; talk about “really the land,” 97,109,122. See also fields; landscape; signs (communicated by

35. 83,96
exchange goods. See mobility fate, 37, 38,125,185 fertility, 43, 87, 94,102, h i, 112 -113 ,115 ,117 , 123,124 ,135,18 5 fields: connection with houses, 10 0 ,10 4 ,10 5 ; names of, 99,108; ritual centre (lodok), 9 9 -10 0 ,10 4 ,10 5 ,115 ,12 2 ; round fields (,lingko), 58, 9 9 - 10 0 ,197n4; and shift­ ing cultivation, 9 9 -10 0; uma randang, 122,146 ,150 ; wet-rice (sawah), m , 12 4 -12 5 ,12 9 ,13 0 ,14 1,14 7 ,15 0 ,16 4 , I94ni5. See also agriculture; land: own­ ership; ritual: agricultural rituals fieldwork, 3,12,159 food and eating: commensality, 23, 30, 33, 36, 60, 63-64, 69-70, 84, 89,93,105,174, 181; cooking together, 2 3-2 4 ,18 1; food for ancestors, 62, 6 3,10 3,10 5 ,10 6 -10 7, 10 7,118 ,18 2; foodstuffs and marriage connections, 54, 77, 90, 91-92; as “mas­ saging tiredness,” 62; as preparation for traveling, 159,164; taboos, 134. See also hearth; hospitality foreign (“outside”) as source o f power, 1 6 9 - 17 1,17 2 ,194ni3,197n9 Forth, Gregory, 31 Fox, James J., 74, 75, in , 166 Freeman, Derek, 19 garden-huts: contrasted with houses, 47, 58, 64; life in and attachment to, 101-103, 115; Kombo as a garden-hut, 127-128, 13 1,138 ,139 ,14 1,150 ; potential as future villages, 10 2,137,14 9 Gell, Alfred, 71, i89ni5 gender: and architectural change, 48, 52; and place, 2 9 -30 ,113; and siblingship, 31; and travel, 25, 76, 92, 9 5-9 6,151,161, 17 3 -17 4 ,17 6 ; women as “outsiders” and men as “insiders,” 25, 31, 35, 76, 95-96.

houses: as agents, 4 1-4 3,133; architectural changes over time, 4 4-4 5, 46, 52, 70, 189m; as centers for ritual, 48, 60-65, 7 1-7 2 , 7 5 ,17 6 -17 7 ,190m l; connection with land, 64-65, 7 2 ,10 0 ,10 4 ,10 5, 135-136,139; and death, 53, 55, 65-70; difference between round and rectan­ gular, 18, 46-48, 47, 4 8 ,14 4 ; direction terms in, 66; everyday activities in, 35, 48, 61, 68; house-posts, 46, 66,131, 13 3 ,17 8 -18 0 ,195n6; ideas about “my own house,” 56, 70,167; importance o f approaching as dwellings, 49-50, 51-52, 7 0 -7 2; limits o f cosmologi­ cal approaches, 49-50; movements between, 53, 56-59, 70, 71, 72,134 -135; permeability of, 50-54, 57, 68, 71, 72, 163; ritual to “move in to the house,” 64-65,139; round houses (mbaru niang), 45, 46, 47, 51, 5 4 ,10 0 ,14 2 -14 4 , 147, i89n4; soundscape of, 50-53, 68; in Southeast Asia, 18-19; state policies towards, 45-46, 54 ,12 9 ,14 2-14 7,

dreams, 39 ,10 8 , 1 4 1 , 182,183 drum house, 112 ,13 1— 135 ,14 0 ,14 9 -15 0 , 18 0 -18 1; central ridgepole (ngando), 13 3 ,13 9 ,17 9 ,17 9 -18 0 ; construction rituals, 8 3 ,133,138 ,139 ,178 -18 1,18 2, 183; in other villages, 13 4 ,13 8 ,195n7; state rebuilding project in Wae Rebo, 4 6 ,13 2 ,14 2 -14 7 ,17 8 -18 2 drums, 6 9 ,117 ,12 7 ,131-133 ,13 5,14 5,150 , I97n4. See also drum house; ritual leader; singing

190T17,195m ; and status, 49,59. See also
drum house; garden-huts; hearth; kin­ ship: and houses; liveliness; place







the land); stones and stone platforms; water landscape; as animate, 9 7-9 8 ,10 7-10 9 ,115 , 110 ,12 .2 -12 6 ,14 8 ,196n9; and history, 113-115 ,118 ,12 8 ,16 5 ,16 8 ; influence o f Catholicism on, 9 8 ,115-119 ,12 3; and kinship, 15,16, 56, 96,184; o f mobility, 1-2 , 5, 56-57, 91, 94,150.152,153-156, 16 1,16 5 -16 6 ,16 8 -16 9 ,17 5 -17 7 ; phenomenological approaches to, 5, 10 5-10 6 ,12 1; spiritual landscape, 98, 10 5 - 10 7 ,10 8 -111,112 ,119 ,12 0 ,12 1-12 6 , 160; and weather, 155,159,175 .See also land; memory; place; spirits; Wae Rebo-Kombo language: Indonesian (BI), 13 -14 .12 4 -12 5 , I94ni3; keeping customary and Catho­ lic language separate, 118 ,119 -12 0 ; Manggarai, 116 ,153,174 , i87n5,196ni4; place-specific ways o f talking, 1, 60 -61, 10 2-10 3, io 9. no. I^o; riddles, 20, 82, 104, no. See also direction terms; mate­ riality : and speech; ritual speech Latour, Bruno, 106, i89ni5 Leiden School, 5-7, 9, 74, 95 Lévi-Strauss, Claude, 41, 50, 72, 7 6 ,133,134 Lindquist, Johan, 173 liveliness, 54-55, 60, 61, 63-65, 65, 67, 7 1-7 2 , 75,133,138 ,16 3,18 1,18 3 lowland-highland difference, 45, 49,124, 12 7 -12 8 ,12 9 -13 1,14 7 ,15 6 -16 1,195n4.

77-78 , 88-89, 91, 94, i88n8; elope­ ment (wéndol), 14 , 8 9 -9 0 ,193ni3; historical changes, 22, 77-78 , 78-79. I92n4; journey (padong), 20, 73, 79, 8 3-8 8 ,13 3,14 1,16 4 ,16 9 ,17 6 ,17 7 , 179 -18 0 ,183; ongko (collecting) ritual, 9 1,19in8; paths, neglected, 83, 93, 95; paths, “new,” 74, 77, 88, 89, 94; paths, real and metaphorical, 74-75, 81-83, 92-93, 94 .164 ; return marriage journeys, 9 0 -9 4 ,16 9 ; ritual process, 78-80, 80-81, 85-8 6 ,194ml,■spatial symbolism, 80-83, 94; with a spirit, 39, 108; spouses as “room friends,” 1 1 . See

lowlands, 127,156 -16 1; and history, 15 1-15 1; between houses or huts, 53, 56-59; idea o f “swinging,” 57-58; limits to, 70; and marriage paths, 75-76, 80-81, 82-83, 88, 89-90, 90-91, 9 2 -9 4 ,17 7 ; spirit paths, 9 7,10 9 ,112, 16 0 ,17 7,178 ; talk about, 129,155-156, 157,172; theoretical approaches to, 151, 157 ,17 6 -177 ; as transformative, 88, 90; traveling practices, 120,158-159, 163-165,168. See also children: travel­ ing to school; direction terms; kinship: and travel; landscape: o f mobility; mar­ riage: journey; marriage: paths; ritual: and travel; roads money: “dirty money,” 34; given at death, 6 7 -6 8 ,19ini3; “money to accom­ pany,” 81; sida, 69, 91, i88mo. See also bridewealth monkey-huts. See garden-huts mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relation­ ship, 23-24, 89 names: o f fields, 99,108; naming ritual, 27, 28, 39; old names o f months, 100; o f places, 118,128 ,137,138,148 ,154,158, 165-167 New Order, 4 5 , 1 2 8 - 1 2 9 , H3> !78 origins: concern with among Austronesian societies, 32, 78,113; importance o f remembering, 32,16 5,167; origin vil­ lage, 9 3 ,13 6 -13 7 ,195n4; place o f origin, 33, 41, 56, 7 0 ,112,135,137 ,14 9 ,152 ,16 7 , 16 8 ,176 ,177 ; roots and, 93, 94, 96,152, 153,169,170 phenomenological approaches: to ani­ mism, 4 ,12 1-12 2 ,12 3 ; to landscape, 5, 10 5 -10 6 ,111; limitations of, 105-106, 148,182 place: and agency, 19, 21, 27-18 , 38, 40, 4 1, 64-65, 96, 9 7 - 9 8 ,111,114 - 115 ,13 5 ,18 1; creation o f value of, 50, 71, 7 5 ,14 1,14 8 , 14 9,181; and culture, 14 8 -14 9 ; as dan­ gerous, 37 -3 9 ,12 2 -113 ; entanglement

with people, 18, 25,36-37, 40, 55,148, 17 4 ,17 6 ,18 3-18 4 ; life cycle of, 19-20, 29-30, 4 0 -4 1,14 9 ; made through travel, 15 8 -16 1,16 6 ,17 6 -17 7 ; as person, 1 1 - 1 1 , 4 1 - 4 1 ; as protective, 16 ,17 , 38, 39. 55. 65, 67, 7 1- 7 2 ,18 3 ,192n7; sensory approach to, 7, 50, 70,106. See also ancestors; gender: and place; grotto; houses; language: place-specific ways o f talking; memory: and place; names: o f places; origins: place o f origin; ritual: and place; spirits: spirit-places; stones and stone platforms; villages; Wae Rebo-Kombo political leader, 33,127,129,165. See also ritual leader precedence, 33, 35,114 priests. See Catholicism ritual: to “accompany,” 79, 81; agricultural rituals, 10 3 - 10 7 ,111-112 ,18 2 ; Catholic Church s views on, 10 3 -10 4 ,116 -117 , 118; to “collect up souls,” 39-40, 43, 112 ,14 9 ,17 0 ; contrasted with everyday activities, 9, 64, 6 5 ,18 1-18 3; hearthbased activities during, 51, 6 1-6 4 ; “moving in to the house” ritual, 6 4 -65,139 ; new year ritual (penti), 1 1 1 - 1 1 3 ,1 1 4 ,1 1 0 ,1 3 2 ,1 3 4 - 1 3 5 , i94ni4; offerings, 3 1,10 4 ,10 5 ,10 6 - 10 7 , » 4 , 122,123; as performance that creates presence, 16, 32-33, 4 2-4 3, 65, 98, 112 ,18 1,18 2 ,18 3; and place, 9, 32-33, 4 2-4 3, 7 1-7 2 , 9 8 ,10 5,14 8 -15 0 ,18 2 ; praising rituals (mora), 32-33, 35, 42, 135 -136 ,137 ,14 9 ,16 7 ; to “stop up/ impede,” 38,122,177, i89ni2; and travel, 17 6 -17 7 ; variation in ritual practice, 10 3 - 10 4 ,116 - 12 0 ,12 1,14 5 ; for water sources, m - 1 1 3 , 119 ,120 ,123, 124-125. See also death; drum house: construction rituals; fields; houses; marriage: “ blood on feet” ritual; state: perspectives on ritual ritual leader (tu’ a adat), 117 ,118 ,119 ,12 7 ,13 1, See also political leader

also crying; food and eating: foodstuffs
and marriage connections; marriage alliance marriage alliance: conceptions o f affinity, 31, 44, 7 6 - 7 7 ,19 1m ; critique o f alliance theory, 76, 95; formal creation o f links at rituals, 91; groups called “married sisters and daughters” (wot), 34, 69, 76,88, 90-91, 92,137; groups called “mother-father” {ini- amé), 37-38, 76, 77, 92, 9 5,136,137,167; tensions between alliance groups, 85-86,169. See also bridewealth; hospitality: and “makingguests;” marriage; money: sida materiality: and immateriality, 41, 43,108; o f power in Southeast Asia, 3-4 ; and speech, 10 5 -10 7 ,12 2 ,193n5. See also ritual: offerings memory: and agricultural cycle, 10 0 -10 1; and landscape, 16, 9 6 ,16 6 -16 7,18 4 ; o f marriage paths, 73, 84-85, 87-88, 90, 92-93, 96; and place, 17,119 ,18 4 migration, 59, 9 5 ,15 5 ,17 1-17 5 ,17 5 -17 6 Mitchell, Jon, 42 mobility: o f ancestors, 6 6 ,112 ,12 3 ,115 ,14 1, 165; dangers o f travel, 167,169,170, 173; and direction terms, 153-156; and exchange goods, 77, 9 2 -9 3 ,197n6; extraordinary journeys, 17 0 -17 1; “fear o f travel” as social critique, 129,157; and gender, 15, 76, 91, 9 5-9 6,151,161, 17 3 -17 4 ,17 6 ; between highlands and

See also mobility: between highlands
and lowlands; state: resettlement poli­ cies; Wae Rebo-Kombo magic: anti-rain, 104; harmful sorcery, 26, 37, 169; passed on in dreams, 108; protec­ tive, 12 0 ,16 9 ,17 0 -17 1 Malkki, Liisa, 152 Manggarai: history of, 10 - 12 ,116 - 117 ,118 , 151-152, i87n3,194m s, I97n8; idea o f pan-Manggarai culture, 14 2 ,14 3 -14 5 marriage: “ blood on feet” ritual, 10 -2 2 , 27, 31-33, 35, 38, 4 1, 79, 88; bride steal­ ing (roko), 77, 89,133; cross-cousin marriage (tungku), 11, 33, 7 3 - 7 4 ,

31. 12 9 . 56.J.13 7 .10 9 . 7 2 . 30.10 7 .110 : INDEX INDEX : 211 ritual speech. movements between. soul-stealing. 156 -16 1. 93-94.10 8 . growth through time. jing.110 .156 . 26. m .1 1 3 . spirits.192n5 sleeping.14 4 . normalization o f separation. i93n4 also anti-syncretism Telle. Charles.182.” 39-40. 176.125. 20. 63. 10 7.12 travel.118 sex.10 4 -10 5 .12 3 . 8 7 -8 8 . 55 . Renato. 128. 112 -113 . “body siblings. 7. 26. 21— 22. 8.114 -12 5 Waterson. 35-36.14 3 .14 7 .10 8 -110 .14 4 . m .115 . dangerous. i96n8 wild. and Rosalind Shaw. 59. See also drum house: state rebuilding project in Wae Rebo. 14 1-14 3 .14 5 . Anna.16 1. i9on6. 15 1-15 2 .130 .18 0 .12 0 . 110 .117 . 56.196ni3 topogeny.124.10 9 .16 2 . local government s plans for Wae Rebo. in . 135-137. 41. and gender.A. Indone­ sia.18 1 .18 7 ^ villages: conceptions o f different kinds.114 .15 8 .151 van Wouden.13 7 .12 0 . history of. resettlement policies.132. 127. perspectives on ritual. 2. 8 5 . 8 .12 0 . 75.196m l.13 8 . 17 5 . Edward.14 8 -14 9 . 55.13 9 .114 . origins. 36. 14 0 . 32. Roxana. 11. 11.19 0 n6.15 9 -16 0 . 81. 81. 4 9 .14 5 . meetings with. See also language roads. 20. spirit paths. prece­ dence.10 4 .14 1. 41. 9 6 . i88nn9~io. 8 1. 31-34 .14 7 .15 0 . 124-125. importance o f separation in extraordinary circum­ stances.. 35 souls: “calling” the soul.16 2 .16 9 . 42 Scott.12 2 .193n3 Todo. 36. dreams.112 .17 0 . landscape: spiritual.14 0 -14 2 .13 9 . 135. 80-81. 29.17 7 . 9 9 -10 1. talk about Wae Rebo as “authentic.178 . 157 tungku.132.” 39-40. no. 55.14 5. 10 9 . 28-30. 117 -118 stones and scone platforms.17 4 -17 5 .10 5 -10 7 . place couplets. state: resettle­ ment policies water: conceptions of. 3 9 .1 1 3 .16 0 .10 2 .116 -117 .192n4.124 temporality. 4 5 . 13 8 . 106-107. 191m. 113 .14 8 . 136-138.194ni4. category of.16 0 . rituals to “collect up souls.18 1.13 9 -14 1. houses: state policies towards. 31. 36. 16 6 .117 . 111.17 6 Rosaldo. 4 5 . forest spirits (darat). 40. head-hunting by.57-58. protective medicine against. 97.12 4 .18 4 .17 0 . J. See also spirits: “body siblings” spirits: ancestors o f the land (empo tana).17 8 . no.” 14 2 . 76. 125.137. I94ni0. spirit places.12 9 . 82. female siblings. concep­ tions of.112 . 14 2 .19 4 1111. See 16 0 -16 2 . 57.119 .59.170. 9 7 . life contrasted with town. 143. New Order Stewart.12 7 -12 8 .156 . Michael.14 8 . See mobility Tsing.18 1 singing. kinship. 14 8 -150 . 31. See marriage: cross-cousin marriage umbilical cord.15 0 .13 4 . as two-placed village. 42. rituals for.16 9 . 95-96.14 2 -14 3 . 43. See also Wae Rebo-Kombo Wae Rebo-Kombo: differences between two sites. 113 semiotic ideology. general conceptions o f non-human persons. 56. 74 Verheijen. 26. 124-125. garden-huts: Kom bo as a garden-hut.137-138.18 3 .14 4 .12 8 -13 1.14 9 .15 1-15 3 . conflict over. Kari. 17 9 .16 1-16 5 roots and “rooting” (wu’ at).113 . 13 0 -13 1.14 1. 48 whip-fighting.13 5 -13 7 .15 7 . 12 5. 12 2 .13 0 -13 1. transformed into affin­ ity (“choppingup siblings”). See also household.12 1. 37. i96nn8. api-ja.18 0 . 95. 41.12 5 -12 6 . 145. and rooms.189m l.123. 43.13 8 . 9. male siblings. 108. 136. 109. 2 1. I93ni2 siblingship (abi-kae ): contrasted with affinity. 75 Schieffelin. 114 .58-59. 16 7 -16 9 . 12.195n3. 108.13 5 .17 3 . 3 9 .15 0 . 111-115 . marriage: with a spirit state: development projects. 166 tourism.118 . 97.14 6 .13 1. visit to Wae Rebo.193n7. satellite villages. “body siblings” signs (communicated by the land).10 8. i88n5 unmarried women. 119 . m . ancestors.173.15 2 . See also drum house: state rebuild­ ing project in Wae Rebo. 116 . 12 4 -115 .116 syncretism.13 5 .16 8 . 9 8 -9 9 .113 .13 9 -14 0 .16 5 -16 6 . 83. 122. 4 5.197114 . 4 5 -4 6 . I92n4.14 2 .12 2 . 34.10 9 . See also .12 3 -12 4 . 22. 19 4 m l SVD (Societas Verbi Divini). 10 5-10 6 . 70.

” which explored the consequences for the varied spiritual land­ scapes o f the region o f new religious forms. Allerton has published articles and book chapters on loneli­ ness and unmarried women. In 2009 she guest-edited a special edition o f Anthropological Forum entitled “Spiritual Landscapes o f Southeast Asia: Changing Geographies o f Religion and Potency. paths. and landscapes. . cosmetics. sarongs.ABOUT THE AUTHOR Catherine Allerton is a lecturer in anthropology at the London School o f Economics. She studied social and political sciences at the University o f Cambridge and social anthropology at the Lon­ don School o f Economics. where she has taught since 1003. In addition to her research on places. Dr. migration. and ideas o f beauty. and varied political and military projects. tourism.

and Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand Daniel M. Ruth Tä y Sön U p r is in g : Society and Rebellion in Eighteenth-Century Vietnam George Dutton Spr e a d in g th e Luc Xi: Prostitution and VenerealDisease in Colonial Hanoi Vu Trong Phung Translated by Shaun Kingsley Malarney D h a m m a : R e f ig u r in g Writing. Indonesia Kathleen M. C u lt u r e . Tourism. Sen R T In H ow to B eh a v e : g ea u ty s in g ace in r a n s n a t io n a l d o n e s ia Buddhism and Modernity in Colonial Cambodia. and Buddhism in the Making o f Modern Vietnam Shawn Frederick McHale In v e s t in g in Exploring Work and L ife in Urban Cambodia Annuska Derks T A M : M ir a c l e s : he n x ie t ie s of o b il it y E l Shaddai and the Transformation o f Popular Catholicism in the Philippines Katherine L. C o l o n ia l is m . 1860-1945 Penny Edwards Anti-Trafficking and the Sex Trade along the Mekong Sverre Molland S e e in B . Wiegele To m s a n d D e e s : Migration and Tourism in the Indonesian Borderlands Johan A. Orality. Hedman T he Thai Soldiers in the Vietnam War Richard A. 1860-1931 Anne Ruth Hansen L. Sinnott In th e Chinese Intergenerational Relations in Modern Singapore Kristina Goransson In B u d d h a ’s N am e of C iv il So c ie t y : C o m pa n y : From Free Election Movements to People Power in the Philippines Eva-Lotta E. Adams C a m bo d g e Forests and State Authority in Contemporary Laos Sarinda Singh T h e : Pe r fec t B u s in e s s ? The Cultivation o f a Nation. and A u t h o r it y : Western Travelers and Toba Bataks in the Marketplace o f Souvenirs Andrew Causey P r in t an d Princess Lilu Hanh in Vietnamese History Olga Dror K W M : P o w er : h m er o m en on th e o v e Confucianism. Communism. and M o d e r n it y in B u rm a Chie Ikeya N a tu r a l P o l it ic s : P o ten c y an d P o l it ic a l P o w er : Re-Crafting Identities. Veidlinger A rt as W o m en . Ayu Saraswati . and Power in Tana Toraja. Lindquist T he B in d in g T ie : Transgender Identity and Female Same-Sex Relationships in Thailand Megan J.O T H E R V O L U M E S IN T H E SE R IE S H ard Ba r g a in in g in Su m a tr a : C u lt .


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