Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/155

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the Home of the Dead in Indonesia. 145

their dead now, by the banks of a stream, but " after crema- tion the remains of the bones are carefully preserved by the nearest relatives and every year a grand festival is held, during which the bones of all of the clan or family who have died during the year are solemnly carried to the tribal common burial-place, which is most religiously kept secret from all of a different race, and is generally situated on some most distant and inaccessible mountain, the where- abouts of which is unknown to all save themselves, and is called avo-tOHUg, or hill of bones. There, although it is very difficult to learn the facts from the Karen, it is believed that they are finally deposited, with the best of the clothes, arms and valuables of the deceased. "'^^

So far then it is seen that there is a definite corre- spondence between the land of the dead and the place of origin of the race. Moreover, it has been seen that the disposal of the dead is distinctly influenced by the fact. It is now proposed to examine other modes of disposing of the dead in Indonesia, with a view to determining whether such a correspondence exists in these cases also.

Tree-disposal. — One of the most remarkable modes of disposing of the dead is that in which the body is placed either in the trunk of a living tree, or in its branches. The Olo Ot, Punan and Manketan of Borneo make a hole in the trunk of an iron-wood tree and place the body in it, the liole being afterwards so carefully closed up that it is not possible to tell that the tree has been interfered with.^-

The Bahau of Koetei practise tree-disposal, and they would seem to have definite ideas concerning the relation- ship of men and trees. They hold that " men came from trees and to trees they shall return. . . . When a Bahau woman bears a child before the appointed time, it is

^' Forbes, Bi'itish Burma, pp. 277-8.

•"-G. A. Wilken, Handleiding voor de vergelijkende volkenktinde van Nederlandsch- Indie, 1893, p. 302 ; J. VV. Tromp, Tijd, taal land- en voik., Ser. V. 3, 1885, p. 93.