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BORNEO

Indonesian art gallery


TIWAH, THE SECOND FUNERAL FEAST OF DAYAK NGAJU, SOUTHERN BORNEO

The human body was believed to host two souls. One stayed with the corpse until the flesh
decomposed (Liau balawan panjang ganan bereng & Liau karahang tulang, silu, tuntang
balau). The other (Liau haring kaharingan) remained in the area of the village until the ritual
Tantulak Ambun Rutas Matei or Tantulak Liau were performed that would send the soul on its
dangerous journey to the Land of the Dead (Lewu Bukit Nalian Lanting Rundung Kereng
Naliwu Rahan).
Like some other Dayak groups, the Ngaju hold a secondary funeral, usually months
(sometimes years) after the initial rituals. This secondary funeral is essential to bring together
the two souls to reach the heaven (lewu Tatau). Sometimes as soon as one year afterward, but
usually much later, the coffin is opened, the bones of the deceased are exhumed, cleaned
and placed in a special mausoleum (sandung) -sometimes together with the remains of their
predecessors- or in a gutshi, an earthen jar bought from the Chinese. Both the primary and
the secondary funerals are also essential to protect the living from evil supernatural forces.
The primary funeral, which ends in either burial or cremation, is performed right after death.
Performs the tiwah.
The soul Liau haring kaharingan waits in the lower part of heaven (Lewu Bukit Nalian Lanting
Rundung Kereng Naliwu Rahan) until summoned for the secondary funeral.
Kaharingan priests (pisor or basir) wear the hat & chant, acted as a psychopomp Raja rawing
Lingga tempon talon, accompanied by drums katambong, to send the soul to a multilayered
heaven in a splendid ship full of helpful spirits.
The tiwah is a grand, complex, long and very expensive affair. It can cost anywhere from
$6000 to $ 120,000. Because of this it is usual for several families to join together to sponsor
a collective tiwah, which involves the sacrifice of many water buffalo and pigs. Once, at
Buntok, on the Barito, more than two hundred pigs and nineteen water-buffaloes had been
killed. Over three hundred bodies, or rather remains of bodies, had previously been
exhumed and placed in forty boxes, for the accommodation of which a special house had
been constructed. These, with contents, were burned and the remains deposited in ten
receptacles made of iron-wood, those belonging to one family being put in the same
container.

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BORNEO
Indonesian art gallery
TIWAH, THE SECOND FUNERAL FEAST OF DAYAK NGAJU, SOUTHERN BORNEO

Bibliography
1. Avé Jan B. & King Victor T., Borneo. The People of the Weeping Forest. Tradition and
Change in Borneo, volume scritto in occasione dell'esposizione temporanea « Borneo.
Oervoud in ondergang, culturen op drift, Rijkmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden 1986.
2. Hertz Robert, Contribution à une étude sur la représentation collective de la mort
(1907), in : « Une édition électronique réalisée à partir du livre de Robert Hertz (1881-
1915), Sociologie religieuse et folklore (1928) », Les Presses universitaires de France,
Paris 1971.
3. Lumholtz Carl, Through Central Borneo: an account of two years' travel in the land of
the head-hunters between the years 1913 and 1917, C. Scribner's Sons, New York,
1920, vol.1.
4. Maiullari Paolo, Hampatong in the Daily Life of the Ngaju Dayaks, in: « Borneo
Research Bulletin », Borneo Research Council, Maine 2004, vol. 35, pp.102-120.
5. Panaturan, Buku Ajaran Agama Kaharingan, Majelis Besar Alim Ulama Kaharingan
Indonesia, Palangka Raya 2002.
6. Panaturan, Tamparan Taluh Handiai, Buku Ajaran Agama Kaharingan, Majelis Besar
Alim Ulama Kaharingan Indonesia, Palangka Raya 1973.

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