Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
DECEMBER 1939
 
 
 
 
 
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JANUARY 1940
 
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FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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MARCH 1940
 
 
 
 
 
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MAR 1940
28

Kulawi, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Thursday, March 28, 1940

Mr. Esser came at 7:30 and we walked to two nearby villages, Panapa and Mataon. They were interesting and primitive, the only bad feature being that one of the so called temples was covered with sheet iron. There were two large sacred stones. Very few people were in their houses as this was the time of the rice harvest. At Mataon there was a large post where carabao are tied and killed slowly with sword thrusts at marriage and other ceremonies.

Mr. Esser arranged a dance for us of about 20 natives in costume. It was done especially so that we could take pictures. The costumes of both men and women were colorful far beyond anything at Bontoc or anywhere else that I have been.

The dance was held in front of the wooden temple at Kulawi.

I first took individual color stills of each one, then several of the men together, and then the women.

The dance was slow and was accompanied by a chant. They formed a ring with an arm of each man around the neck of a woman. I took 100 ft 26 mm Kodachrome of the whole thing and close ups of the couples. We paid them each 1/2  guilder at the end.

The King, or Magao, then asked me to take a picture of himself and his family, which I did and will send him copies.

The whole performance was well worth coming for and a wonderful subject for color pictures. I took 24 color shots of the performance. Hugo was so enthusiastic that he wants to come back here with me in June to see and photograph the festivals which occur all through that month. Mr. Esser will be here and has promised to go around with us if we do.

No answer yet from David. Hugo and I had the same idea separately, — that this is what would happen if anything went wrong with Dr. Fairchild. The others would not answer thinking we might as well enjoy ourselves until we arrived at Macassar.

Hugo and I cut and filed the films we developed yesterday, completing the job in late afternoon.

Dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Esser. The latter, a native of Manado spoke no English so did not take part in the conversation. We learned a good deal from Mr. Esser. It seems that the dance and song this morning was a “song of praise” used for distinguished guests. It is also used for taking leave of the dead 10 days after death. A married woman does not take part in the dance, but her husband may. The women this morning were from 14 to 17 years old.

An unfortunate custom consisted of the removal of all front teeth of women. This is founded on tradition and Mr. Esser could give no reason for it.  It accounted for the slightly sunken look of the girls mouths which I noticed this morning.

Mr. Esser said he had asked for 12 men and 12 women but that only 8 of each responded. The reason was that some were afraid to leave the rice harvesting for fear of displeasure of the harvest god, since there is no dancing during the rice harvest. He said that the ones who took part would probably make offerings of propitiation.

Hugo was more anxious than ever to come back in June.

Carabao post at Mataon

Post where carabao are tied and killed during ceremonies. Mataon (near Kulawi), Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
House with sacred drums, Panapa

House with sacred drums, Panapa (near Kulawi), Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Sacred drums

Sacred drums at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
 
Dancers at Panapa

Dancers walking up a pathway at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Edward Beckwith photographing dancers at Panapa

Edward Beckwith photographing dancers at Panapa. Photographed by Hugo Curran.
Dancers at Panapa

Dancers at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
 
Dancers performing at Panapa

Dancers performing at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Male dancers at Panapa

Male dancers at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Female dancers at Panapa

Female dancers at Panapa. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
 

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