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The coming of the gods : a study of an invocatory chant (Timang Gawai Amat) of the Iban of the Baleh River region of Sarawak

Masing, James Jemut

Description

Traditionally, the Iban of Sarawak were swidden cultivators whose economy based on hill rice (padi bukit) depended upon the availability of virgin forest. Their farming practices, coupled with their dependence on the forest for its produce and game, and the social prestige attached to pioneers involved them in periodic migrations in search of new territory. In so doing they came into conflict with other tribes of Borneo who, like themselves, depended upon the forest for their livelihood. To...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorMasing, James Jemut
dc.date.accessioned2014-01-21T01:29:12Z
dc.date.available2014-01-21T01:29:12Z
dc.identifier.otherb12473364
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/11194
dc.description.abstractTraditionally, the Iban of Sarawak were swidden cultivators whose economy based on hill rice (padi bukit) depended upon the availability of virgin forest. Their farming practices, coupled with their dependence on the forest for its produce and game, and the social prestige attached to pioneers involved them in periodic migrations in search of new territory. In so doing they came into conflict with other tribes of Borneo who, like themselves, depended upon the forest for their livelihood. To be a successful pioneer an Iban had to be an effective warrior. To be an effective warrior, it was necessary, according to Iban belief, to have the assistance of their high god of war, Singalang Burong, commonly known as Lang. Lang was invoked by the performance of a gawai amat and the chanting of its associated timang. This timang depicts the gods on their journey to the world of men, and their subsequent participation in a ritual feast and other activities, at the end of which charms and blessings are bequeathed on the man who has performed this ritual. This dissertation has two objectives: i) the translation of the whole text of the timang gawai amat into an English version that captures the spirit and aesthetics of the timang as an oral tradition; and ii) the discussion of the place of this timang and its associated ritual feast in traditional !ban society. The views are advanced that this particular version of the timang came into prominence when the Iban, in migrating to new territories, were faced by the need to become effective warriors, and, that the continued performance of these ancient rites and chants, once integral to the cult of warfare and head-hunting, is an attempt by the contemporary Iban to maintain their identity in the face of their rapidly changing world.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleThe coming of the gods : a study of an invocatory chant (Timang Gawai Amat) of the Iban of the Baleh River region of Sarawak
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorFreeman, J.D.
dcterms.valid1981
local.description.notesSupervisor: Professor J.D. Freeman. This thesis has been made available through exception 200AB to the Copyright Act.
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued1981
local.contributor.affiliationResearch School of Pacific Studies
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d74e5985b52d
local.mintdoimint
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