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Author Topic: North Sulawesi, Indonesia 2010  (Read 32174 times)
chin
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« Reply #40 on: 24 April 2010, 03:27:05 »

I am about 60% through posting pictures and comments. I will continue tomorrow.
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« Reply #41 on: 25 April 2010, 19:38:17 »

On 2-Apr-2010 we visited a special burial site.

What do special about this place? They preserved artifacts of a peculiar burial "traditional" that lasted about 600 years - from 1200 to 1800. They put the dead in a stone "family tomb-box". The following series of pictures tells the story.

First, a strong man from the village would find very large boulder, and crave a box out of the rock. The shape is roughly a box at the bottom, with a roof shaped top. The decoration of the top varies, as we shall see in the subsequent pictures.

Then, this strong man would carry the rock box and the roof cover back to the village.


* 20100402_DSC05972.jpg (215.7 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 377 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05973.jpg (202.72 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 373 times.)
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« Reply #42 on: 25 April 2010, 19:45:50 »

The first shows that once back at the village, the burial box would be placed very near the house. (Also note the typical Manado house.) The right side of the picture shows the family putting the dead's personal belongings into the burial box. (It's not exactly a burial, because the box is not buried in an sense.)

In the next picture, the dead is being put into the box, in a sit down position. The heavy rock roof cover is then put on top, and allow the body inside to decompose.

In the last picture, our guide was explaining to us the traditions and details. For example, the little bell like feature on top of the roof denotes how many dead were buried inside the box.


* 20100402_DSC05974.jpg (197.23 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 470 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05975.jpg (190.69 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 361 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05976.jpg (198.56 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 371 times.)
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« Reply #43 on: 25 April 2010, 20:24:50 »

The real stone burial boxes. Some are taller than me, and some are hip high. I took this picture at my eye level.

These "boxes" are at least 200 years old, because the practice was stopped in around 1800. The oldest one is about 800 years old dating back to around 1200.

Each family would have it's own burial box. All family members were buried in the same box. However if a family member died with 4 years of the last dead, they would "borrow" neighbor's or relative's, to allow enough time for the old body to decompose.


* 20100402_DSC05979.jpg (307.95 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 771 times.)
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« Reply #44 on: 25 April 2010, 20:44:01 »

This picture shows a broken one, and shows the scale of the box. The whole box was chiseled out from a single rock!

This practice of burial was ended in around 1800, after 600 years of practice. The main reason was that the people living in the house started to get sick. I can only imagine that this implies the burial boxes, placed so close to house, were the source of the health problem. Maybe one of the reasons was that after used for generations, the roof like cover is no long tight enough to contain whatever bad stuff coming from decomposing bodies. Especially when someone died from sickness, that sickness could still spread from the boxes.

When I told me friend about this, we were wondering if this is an example of "anthropological evolution". When a culture practicing undesirable acts, either the bad practice needs to stop, or the culture dies. However, if we put this argument to the extreme, it seems to justify many atrocities & predatory or even genocidal actions.

Another related example come from a book I read many years ago. The book was called Vanishing Languages, or something to that effect. That book was about many ancient languages, especially those without written form, were disappearing fast and replaced by English or the likes. The author laments the lost of historic treasure, cultural diversity, etc... In my own observation of people around me, language shaped one's value and culture more than we realized. The language structure and way of expressing dictates how we think. Unfortunately the vanishing language is just part of revolution - that the less competitive one submits.

Anyway, let get back on track to the burial boxes...


* 20100402_DSC05990.jpg (356.27 KB, 672x1008 - viewed 612 times.)
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« Reply #45 on: 25 April 2010, 21:46:06 »

Only the roof cover of the burial box is decorative. It often shows the profession that family is known for, or what so special about the family or person.

The first one below is unique because the top cover is 4-faced, instead of decorating only two faces like the others. The person or the family was in the baby-delivery practice, or mid-wives. The second on was for a Dutchman.

I forgot what was the profession of the last one. The two little figures show a man on the left and a woman on the right. The key cue is the hand position - man with crossed fingers and woman with fists just touching. However upon detailed inspection, the man was show his ware between the legs.


* 20100402_DSC05982.jpg (244.79 KB, 672x1008 - viewed 368 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05994.jpg (254.93 KB, 672x1008 - viewed 372 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05991.jpg (262.43 KB, 672x1008 - viewed 384 times.)
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« Reply #46 on: 25 April 2010, 21:51:23 »

More interesting tops.

The first one is the village elder, or family in high position.

The second one was the strong man who found the big rock, crave it into the box & top, and brought them down to the village. I am not sure how one man can carry all these. (But then again, when I visited the ancient Inca empire in Peru, I saw right in front of my eyes the giant rock structures, and couldn't imagine how they did it. So compare to the Inca's, these rock boxes were relatively trival.)

The last one was for a Japanese who died in that village.


* 20100402_DSC05986.jpg (240.55 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 393 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05992.jpg (344.01 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 384 times.)

* 20100402_DSC05995.jpg (335.55 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 623 times.)
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« Reply #47 on: 25 April 2010, 22:45:21 »

Is this tree as old as the boxes?


* 20100402_DSC05998.jpg (278.51 KB, 672x1008 - viewed 621 times.)
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« Reply #48 on: 25 April 2010, 22:48:28 »

Near the burial boxes is a tiny museum, exhibiting some personal effects found inside the boxes.

There is no doubt that these personal valuables are Chinese origin. My tea drinking friends always buy and use small cups like these to drink tea.

At the end of the visit, we donated Rp50,000 to the museum.


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* 20100402_DSC06009.jpg (72.3 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 591 times.)

* 20100402_DSC06005.jpg (100.43 KB, 1008x672 - viewed 588 times.)
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« Reply #49 on: 25 April 2010, 23:22:25 »

It took us lots of effort to find a lunch place. Because 2-Apr-2010 was the Friday before Easter. For the Muslims, Fridays is a prayer day. For the Christians, it was Good Friday and everyone went to church in black clothes.

Eventually we found a restaurant in the harbor town of Bitung. It's operated by a Chinese family whose may have care more about hungry travelers & their money, than religions. After talking a bit more to the woman running the business, we learned that they just moved from Kalimantan few months ago. Besides the restaurant, they also operate a internet cafe, and a karaoke in the same building. And supposedly it was the first family karaoke in Bitung. By "family" I take it to mean that they don't provide any 伴唱 girl?

While talking to the owner in the karaoke, they had the first customer of the day - a boss looking man with 3 young girls. Perhaps BYOG (bring your own girl?)
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