Interpreting the Palu’e Legend Pio Pikariwu Arrested kingship in eastern Indonesia

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ABSTRACT This article explores the Palu’e legend Pio pikariwu and how the main character Pio is contested by two traditionally rival politico- ceremonial domains on Palu’e island. The stateless clan- structured societies of eastern Indonesia, such as the Palu’e, are not known to have stranger-king myths, the weight of the analysis therefore lies on whether Pio pikariwu fits this category. The relevant themes are compared with the established stranger- king tropes, while basic conceptual tools of comparative Austronesian ethnology, such as that origin establishes precedence, are used to explain the significance of the legend in contemporary society. The legend concurs with several themes of the stranger-king myth, despite that Pio neither becomes a sovereign or has a genealogy. The stranger theme concurs more with a divine kingship related to the South Sulawesi origin histories of founding rulers and a horizontal cultural transfer is plausible due to geographic adjacency and historical connections. A local character projection is also considered. The real-life contestation for Pio involves spiritually potent material heritage and exemplifies how tradition creates new events based on an original event believed to have happened, and that precedence issues extend beyond the domain and its alliances. The demonstrated inherent ambiguity reveals an arrested (divine) stranger-king myth, representing the rejection of kingship. To cite this article: Stefan Danerek (2023): Interpreting the Palu’e Legend Pio Pikariwu: Arrested kingship in eastern Indonesia. Indonesia and the Malay World, DOI: 10.1080/13639811.2023.2172874 To link to this article: If you are lucky, you can still get a…

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Electronic Journal of Folklore: Folklore Vol. 85. PDF:   Abstract: This article examines the Palu’e Tata liba ceremony with the help ofmultimedia research documentation, participant observation, and comparisonwith other local ceremonies. The form and performance, including reasons andeffects, are described and analysed. On Palu’e, a person who is ill, or who hastried medicines without results, wonders if he/she has done something wrong ac-cording to custom or toward fellow human beings, and can request one of severalceremonies or healing genres. Tata liba is integrated into a holistic system ofgeneral health and can also be performed preventively for good feelings and themaintaining of good relations. The ancestors are called upon with ritual language,shown to exhibit semantic parallelism, to heal the participants’ suffering rela-tions and possible ill health. The overcoming of negative feelings is symbolicallydisplayed by wiping the participants with water, throwing rice grains behind theback, and spitting in a coconut bowl. The main objective is to achieve harmonywithin or between families, and there is no argumentation or chronological issuesproducing a win-win situation. Keywords: ancestors, folklore, healing, medical anthropology, Palu’e, reconcili-ation, semantic parallelism, traditional ceremony  


Palu’e basketry: design, usage, culture and linkages

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Abstract This article discusses the basket inventory of the Palu’e (Palu’e Island, eastern Indonesia) in the comparative framework of the Flores linguistic-cultural chain. Fibers, technique, and usage are identified, with notes on current distribution and skill transmission. The basketry is made of lontar leaves by women, who are also responsible for the agricultural products that the baskets are mainly used for. The most common function and shared denominator of smaller basket types in the Palu’e-Flores cultures, shown with the aid of museum collection items, is to keep betel for chewing, highlighting its tremendous cultural importance. Decoration is limited to triangular curls/twists on mad weave (dense triaxial) works, while smoking adds color and makes the basketry more durable. Only the ceremonial head-strapped betel basket, common also on Flores, is decorated with supplementary objects, such as beads. This basket only is made with one of the other two main techniques, oblique checker work and twill. All the basketry, with few exceptions, is still in wide use, but makers of more intricate works tend to be elderly. Comparison with baskets on the main island of Flores shows that Palu’e basketry is a close affine to this tradition but with locally distinctive features. Future comparative research could consider geographic and linguistic proximity in cultural contacts as a significant element in skill transmission, which is otherwise vertical (via closest kin), and relationships with migration patterns to and from Flores. Keywords: basketry, Palu'e, Flores, plaited crafts, lontar Published 2022-02-23 Issue Vol. 2 (2022): Fiber, Loom…

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Roja hama-hama? A Linguistic Review of The Ende and Palu’e Weaving Traditions

Roja hama-hama? A Linguistic Review of The Ende and Palu'e Weaving Traditions. Jurnal Lingko 3 (1):104-121. There were problems with the publishing (and layouting) so I make available the same version here, but my own PDF, as is found on Lingko (19 Oct -21): Palue_Ende_weaving_210610

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Palu’e Black

Fieldtrip Flores-Palu'e early April 2021 Mite – Black, or very dark So, I was finally able to experience live the process of making Palu'e black colour, the overdyeing of indigo-dyed yarn with several plants/ingredients. I arrived at the island after a week on Flores, at the end of the cyclon-natural disaster (on the nearby islands), and by joining a small fisherman's boat from Ropa, Lio in the late afternoon, after I and several other persons had missed the passenger boats returning to the island from the Ropa market midday. The rain season is usually over in early April but this year the rainy season dragged on an extra month. We arrived after dusk, and I had to walk for about an hour until I found a man with a motorbike who could take me up the mountain to my village. After a day of hanging out with my hosts and a reconciliation ceremony, we, mainly Mama Longge that is, did the black overdyeing. I was lucky to get some rare handspun cotton yarn too, already dyed five times in separate indigo vats by Tante Meli (Pisane), and that all the ingredients were available: 1. fire wood ashes, or water filtered through a sapa basket containing the ashes. 2.dried leaves of the langalidhi tree 3. mangrove bark (Rhizophora*) 4. a fruit of the tall wuwu tree (the least important I assume) 5. the root fruit of loi, green porang (Amorphophallus oncophyllus), used for starching the yarn, squeezed into the yarn during…

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Palu’e Ikat: Nomenclature and Iconography

This, our first, published article on Palu'e ikat explores the theme of iconography and nomenclatures, both the imagery and the interpretation, and how the naming relates to those. It includes a lot of general information because it also presents the documentation. Perhaps we had not chosen this theme if we already knew that most of the reference literature have run into the same problem as we did, that "the weavers have forgotten the meaning of their patterns", which became an issue of general anthropological interest that we also explore. For this article we explored several angles, including side tracks which had little or no use in the end. We are very curious about how the first ikat weaving on the island looked like and where it came from, but this is not yet possible to establish. The most likely source is Flores. There are Palu'e origin myths or oral histories that tell of a migration from Roja, Ende on Flores, a Lio or Ende (proto-)group, but Palu'e ikat has very little in common with the Ende cloths we know since the 1800s, which are three-paneled, three weavings give two cloths. Perhaps those groups several hundred years ago produced a more simple ikat than today's patola inspired weaving. Who knows, anyhow the Palu'e have remained and developed within what can be called a more ancient design format with stippled white motifs on a blackish background with red stripes. The article went up 30 Nov -20, but it says 2021, probably because…

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Ikat collection item: Cabu songgo

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A sample from the collection set we keep. We have plans to deposit the set of about ten cloths with a museum or a collector who agress to exhibit them. We can also exhibit the set, and more, up to twenty cloths for variety. This sarong cloth, similar to Widhi mata, is called Cabu songgo in the Nitu Léa (Nitung) domain, Palu'e island. The weavers in Nitu léa (with the neighbouring Cu'a) made this type of cloth for the women in preparation for the bringing-of-buffalo ceremony Pua karapau in late 2016. This variant is only known here, and the motherbands are, like all cloths of a certain domain, filled with the domain's motifs, some are same as in other domains, others different, some have the same names but look a little different.. see the upcoming article in Archipel no. 100 (Danerek x 2, 2020). To make this cloth we, with our master weaver Longge from the Kéli domain, borrowed a cloth from Nitu léa to use as a model. Longge did all the work on this piece; ikat, dyeing, weaving. The warp is still uncut. Dhama Cabu songgo by Longge. The motif names in sara Lu'a are (from the right): 1. manu wa'ine 2. laku la’ene mata bane 3. keke 4. mbési 5. laku la’ene mata limane 6. keke 7. mata ké’o 8. laku la’ene mata bane 9. keke 10. kolo dhengune 11. laku laéne mata dhelune 12. keke 13. koli nggiku sao hiwi panane 14. laku laéne mata dhelune…

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Sépa – Palu’e scarfs/shawls

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This is how the Palu'e patterns, drawn from the sarong patterns, look on shawls. A small group of Palu'e weavers on north Flores were given the task to make shawls from the inventory of cloth patterns, some of which we had shared with them. The women have been working with natural dyes for at least four years now, and are now quite skilled at it. Happy to see these sépa. Image 1. The patterns are (left to right): 1. Hura 2. Wua wela 3. Loka 4. Wua wela 5. Nae romo (the men's cloth) 6. Wua wela 7. Dobe 8. Dobe. Image 2. The patterns are (left to right): 1. Widhi mata 2. Sa loi (part same as Hura) 3. Loka 4. Bhejo 5. Wua wela 6. Wua wela 7. Nae romo 8. Widhi mata 9. Wua wela. The last one is made by  Mama Longge, our master weaver who indirectly spawned the idea to make various shawls.

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The Palu’e pair: Nae romo and Wua wela

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Wua wela ('the dehiscing Areca' cloth) and Nae romo ('sarong', or 'wide warp') are the two most iconic, or common, Palu'e cloths. Nae romo is the only male ikat sarong type. This pair was made in early 2020, only one of each. Made by the master weaver Longge, using tencel yarn, first season, without problems. Tencel, made from trees from certified agroforestry, is not as heavy as cotton, like in between silk and cotton. The extreme dark blue was achieved with only local indigo. Longge, or the Palu'e tradition, can also overdye the indigo with mangrove and another local plant, and then the colour will look about the same as on these cloths. The red here is a new 'patent', which among else uses left over fibres from a tree which is used for boatbuilding. Wood chips from this tree (probably a species of Mahogany, if not ironwood), turn red when rain falls on it. Longge's ikat work is great, and the dyeing phenomenal. The cloths below are not yet sewn to sarongs. The Nae romo, a wider type, is sewn directly along the weft. Often, because it is rather short, it is sewn together with another cloth along the warp, creating one big sarong. Here they are being aired outside, pre-curating. The motifs for the Wua wela, largely the same as today's, are taken from an old Wua wela in the Peter ten Hoopen Collection (Many thanks,, but the ikat bands were not executed assymetrically, but symmetrically as…

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Book chapter: on Eka Kurniawan and Beauty is a wound

Eka Kurniawan, Beauty is a wound (Skönhet är ett sår, 2017)This chapter of my dissertation was written ten years before the English translation (2015) of Eka Kurniawan's first novel, which paved the way for translations around the world, including the Swedish (Skönhet är ett sår, 2017). I predicted then that Eka's literature would be read all around the world after it at some point conquers one of the Western literary centres. After the dissertation I have preferred to translate Indonesian fiction rather than writing about it (See Translations -).  The chapter contains many citations with translations. .. After Dewi Ayu’s resurrection, Kyai Jahro, who had reluctantly buried her, approaches her as if she is a saint. He can now visit Dewi Ayu’s house, but in the past he had preached that just touching the fence of her house could make one fry in hell.‘How does it feel to be dead?’ asked Kyai Jahro. - ‘It’s pleasant actually. That’s the only reason the dead don’t return.’ - ‘But you came back,’ said the kyai. - ‘I returned to say that.’‘Seperti apakah rasanya mati?’ tanya Kyai Jahro. - ‘Sebenarnya menyenangkan. Itulah satu-satunya alasan kenapa orang mati tak ada yang kembali.’ - ‘Tapi kau bangkit kembali,’ kata sang kyai. - ‘Aku kembali untuk mengatakan itu.’.. CIL makes clear that marvellous realism is not specific to Latin America, as it is saturated with local beliefs and motifs. Although in part realist, the larger part is ‘mock history’, which can be argued is the style…

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