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The Potent Dead : Ancestors, saints and heroes in contemporary Indonesia - Henri Chambert-Loir

The Potent Dead

Ancestors, saints and heroes in contemporary Indonesia

Paperback Published: 1st June 2002
ISBN: 9781865087399
Number Of Pages: 272

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The dead are potent and omnipresent in modern Indonesia. Presidents and peasants alike meditate before sacred graves to exploit the power they confer, and mediums do good business curing the sick by interpreting the wishes of deceased forebears. Among non-Muslims there are ritual burials of the bones of the dead in monuments both magnificent and modest. By promoting dead heroes to a nationalist pantheon, regions and ethnic groups establish their place within the national story.
Although much has been written about the local forms of the scriptural religions to which modern Indonesians are required by law to adhere - Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism - this is the first book to assess the indigenous systems of belief in the spirits of ancestors. Sometimes these systems are condemned in the name of the formal religions, but more often the potent dead coexist as a private dimension of everyday religious practice.
A unique team of anthropologists, historians and literary scholars from Europe, Australia and North America demonstrate the continuing importance of the potent dead for understanding contemporary Indonesia. At the same time, they help us understand historic processes of conversion to Islam and Christianity by examining the continuing interactions of the spirit world with formal religion.
HENRI CHAMBERT-LOIR represented the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient in Jakarta for fifteen years, and is now in Paris as a senior research fellow with that institute. He edited (with Claude Guillot), Le Culte des Saints dans le Monde Musulman (1995).


Maps and Illustrations

Introduction by Henri Chambert-Loir and Anthony Reid

1. Castrated dead: the making of un-ancestors among the Aoheng, and some considerations on death and ancestors in Borneo (Bernard Sellato)

2. How to hold a tiwah: the potency of the dead and deathways among Ngaju Dayaks (Anne Schiller)

3. Witnessing the creation of ancestors in Laboya (West Sumba, Eastern Indonesia) (Danielle C. Geirnaert)

4. Reciprocity, death and the regeneration of life and plants in Nusa Penida (Bali) (Rodolfo A. Giambelli)

5. Remembering our dead: the care of the ancestors in Tana Toraja (Elizabeth Coville)

6. Island of the Dead: why do Bataks erect tugu? (Anthony Reid)

7. Modernising sacred sites in South Sumatra: Islamisation of Gumai ancestral places (Minako Sakai)

8. Ancestors' blood, genealogical memory, genealogical amnesia and hierarchy among the Bugis (Christian Pelras)

9. Saints and ancestors: the cult of Muslin saints in Java (Henri Chambe

ISBN: 9781865087399
ISBN-10: 1865087394
Series: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) S.
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st June 2002
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 14.0  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.43
Edition Number: 1