Southeast Asian Religions: Insular Cultures

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The cultures of insular Southeast Asia are made up predominantly of peoples speaking Austronesian languages, and the traditional religions of the area, despite substantial diversity and extensive borrowing from other sources, retain significant features that reflect a common origin. Linguistic evidence indicates that the point of origin of the languages of present-day Austronesians was the island of Taiwan (Formosa) and possibly also the adjacent coastal region of southeastern China. The initial expansion of the Austronesians began in the third millennium bce and proceeded, by stages, through the Philippines and the islands of Indonesia, then east to the islands of the Pacific, and eventually west as far as the island of Madagascar.

In the first stage of this expansion, migrating Austronesian groups possessed a basic cultural technology that included the domesticated dog and pig, a knowledge of the cultivation of rice, millet, and sugarcane, and a developing craftsmanship in pottery, weaving, and barkcloth making. At a later stage in the course of this continuing expansion, the Austronesians developed further forms of cultivation involving breadfruit, bananas, taro, and yams and the use of a variety of fruit-bearing or starch-yielding palms. By this time they also possessed domesticated chickens and had developed sails for their canoes and some of the sailing techniques that were to carry them from island to island. By about 2500 bce they had expanded through the southern Philippines and into Borneo and had begun to penetrate the islands of both eastern and western Indonesia.

Because this expansion involved a scattering of numerous small groups through thousands of islands over several millennia, it gave rise to considerable linguistic and cultural diversity. Earlier island populations were undoubtedly assimilated, although there is very little linguistic evidence on these peoples except for those in Melanesia.

Regional variation is indicated by the various linguistic subgroups of Austronesian that are currently recognized. Formosan languages are distinguished from Malayo-Polynesian languages within the Austronesian family and the Malayo-Polynesian languages are divided into (1) a western subgroup that includes the languages of the Philippines, Borneo, Madagascar, and western Indonesia as far as the island of Sumbawa, (2) a central subgroup that begins in eastern Sumbawa and comprises the languages of the Lesser Sundas and most of the Moluccas, and (3) an eastern subgroup that includes the languages of southern Halmahera and all of the languages of the Pacific.

In the course of migration, natural ecological variation as well as numerous outside influences led to the development, emphasis, or even abandonment of different elements of a general Neolithic culture. In the equatorial zones, for example, reliance on rice and millet gave way to a greater dependence on tubers and on fruit- and starch-gathering activities. As populations moved into the interior of the larger islands some sailing skills were abandoned, but a coastal or riverine orientation was generally maintained. During most of their protohistory, Austronesian populations lived in impermanent settlements and combined shifting cultivation with hunting and gathering. The development toward centralized states began on Java, on the coast of Sumatra, and in several other coastal areas that were open to trade and outside influences. Chief among these influences were religious ideas and inspiration that derived variously, at different periods, from Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

The earliest Hindu inscriptions found in insular Southeast Asia date from the fourth century ce; their location and composition, however, suggest a long period of prior regional contact with Indian religious ideas. By the fifth century, Hinduism is reliably reorted to have been established on Java, and by the sixth century, there is evidence of Buddhist influence on Sumatra and Java, with the port of Srivijaya developing into a major Buddhist center of learning in the seventh century. Javanese monuments dating from the eighth to the fourteenth centuries indicate a lively development and interrelation of Saivaite, Vaisnavite, and Buddhist traditions. By the thirteenth century, Islam had begun to spread through the islands and exert a major influence. By the fifteenth century, Catholicism had reached the region with the arrival of the Portuguese and Spanish, and by the sixteenth century, Protestantism had made its appearance with the Dutch and English. In addition, the popular traditions of Taoism and Confucianism were brought to the region by Chinese traders and settlers. Both individually and together these religions have had a profound effect in shaping religious practice in the region.

At present, 88 to 89 percent of the Indonesian population is classified as Muslim, although a significant portion of this population, particularly on Java, still adheres to traditional practices that are not considered orthodox. In the Philippines, approximately 84 percent of the population is Catholic; 3 percent is Protestant; and a further 5 percent are classified as Aglipayan, followers of an independent Philippine Christian church. Muslims constitute a small minority of approximately 5 percent in the Philippines, while Christians make up about 9 percent of the Indonesian population. In Indonesia, Bali forms a traditional Hindu-Buddhist enclave but there has occurred a recent resurgence of Hinduism on Java and elsewhere. Many members of the Chinese population of Indonesia are officially considered Buddhists, although some continue to practice forms of Taoism or Confucianism. A considerable portion are also Christian. Official statistics from Indonesia and the Philippines thus indicate only a small minority of the population in either country as official adherents of some form of traditional religion. In Sarawak and Sabah, adherents of tradition constitute a high percentage of the population of their local area, but in Malaysia as a whole they are a minority. In Brunei, similar groups form an even smaller minority.

National policies of the countries of the region affect the practice of traditional religions. Indonesia gives official recognition only to Islam, Protestantism, Catholicism, Hinduism, and Buddhism, with the result that in effect no traditional religion is regarded as a religion. In some areas a tacit tolerance of traditional practices has developed, but in general there is mounting pressure to assimilate to an officially recognized religion. On the basis of early cultural borrowings and some similarity in forms of worship, various ethnic groups have gained recognition of their traditional religion as a Hindu sect. In the Philippines, missionary efforts by both Catholics and Protestants have been directed to conversion of the remaining adherents of tribal religions. In Sarawak and Sabah, there is pressure to convert to Islam as well as to Christianity. In all the countries of the region the adherents of traditional religions are minorities whose distinct ways of life are under pressure to change. Generally, they participate only at the margins of national life.

The tribal religions of the region vary according to the groups that continue to practice them. These groups include small, often isolated peoples whose economy is based primarily on hunting and gathering with limited cultivation. Examples of such groups are the Sakkudei of the island of Siberut off the coast of western Sumatra; various wandering bands of Kubu scattered in the interior forests of Sumatra; groups of a similar kind in Kalimantan who are referred to generically as Punan; as well as a variety of other small-scale societies on other islandsthe Agta and other Aeta of Luzon, the Batak of Palawan, the Daʾa or To Lare of Sulawesi (Celebes), or the Alifuru groups, such as the Huaulu and Nuaulu, of Ceram in eastern Indonesia. Many of these groups, with their simplified technology, no longer possess the range of economic pursuits attributed to the early Austronesians. Other adherents of traditional religions include the unconverted members of larger, economically and socially more complex populations: some Batak, particularly Karo, from north Sumatra; Ngaju communities in Kalimantan; various Toraja peoples in Sulawesi; as well as the Sumbanese, Savunese, and Timorese in eastern Indonesia. Sumba has the distinction of being the only island in Indonesia where a majority of the population profess to follow their traditional religion.

Some of these Indonesian populations have formally established religious associations to preserve their traditional practices and some have come to be identified as followers of Hindu-Dharma, a status that affords them official government recognition. This is one possibility available to members of the Toraja "Alukta," the Batak "Pelbegu," the Ngaju "Kaharingan," and the Bugis "Towani."

In the Philippines, a majority of the indigenous peoples in the mountains of northern Luzon (among them the Isneg, Ifugao, Bontok, Ibaloi, Kalinga, and Ilongot), in Mindoro (the Hanunoo, Buhid, and Alangan), and in the interior of Mindanao (the Subanun, Bukidnon, Tiruray, Manobo, Bagabo, and Mandaya) have retained their traditional religions despite increasing missionary efforts. In Sarawak, similar tribal peoples include the Iban, Kayan, Kenyah, and Kelabit; in Sabah, the Dusun, Murut, and Lun Dayeh; all of these tribal populations and other small groups as well have undergone conversion to Christianity in varying degrees.

Other adherents of traditional religion are more difficult to classify. Some form small enclaves, often consisting of no more than a few villages, whose traditional practices represent nonacceptance of the dominant religion of their region. Such groups would include the Badui (or Kanekes) of West Java, the Tengger of East Java, and the Waktu Tiga villagers of Lombok. All of these three groups maintain special priesthoods. Badui priests are confined to an inner territorial realm, whereas among the Tengger, there is one priest for each of twenty-eight villages. Both groups claim to preserve an "Agama Budha," which refers not to a form of Buddhism but to a pre-Islamic fusion of Indic and local practice. The Tengger priests, for example, follow an ancient Saiva liturgy that is kept secret from the village population, who see their worship as an ancestral cult.

Many of the millenarian movements that have occurred in Indonesia and the Philippines can be seen as religious movements and the communities of members of these movements, such as the Kesepuhan in West Java, the Samin of Central Java, or the Rizalistas of Luzon, may also be considered as traditional religious adherents. In addition, many other individuals and groups carry on traditional rituals under nominal adherence to another formally recognized religion. On the island of Flores, for example, the people of Tana Wai Brama continue to maintain their traditional ceremonial cycle, even though they are formally classified as Catholics. The same is true for other populations, both Christian and Muslim, throughout the islands. Official statistics are therefore often misleading in assessing the extent of traditional religious adherence.

Studies of traditional religion, many of which have been written by missionaries or colonial administrators, document beliefs and practices that have since been either abandoned or modified through the process of conversion. Significant evidence on traditional religion is also derived from present practices and general conceptions that have been incorporated and retained in the major recognized religions in the course of their accommodation to the traditions of the region.

Chief among these basic conceptions and practices are the following: (1) the prevalence of complementary duality; (2) the belief in the immanence of life and in the interdependence of life and death; (3) the reliance on specific rituals to mark stages in the processes of life and death; and (4) the celebration of spiritual differentiation. All of these notions may be regarded as part of a common Austronesian conceptual heritage.

The Prevalence of Complementary Duality

Forms of complementary dualism are singularly pervasive in the religions of the region. Such dualism figures prominently, for example, in a wide variety of myths of the origin of the cosmos that combine themes of reproduction and destruction. Among the Ngaju of Kalimantan (Borneo) creation begins when the mountain abodes of the two supreme deities clash repeatedly, bringing forth the upperworld and underworld and various of its parts; in the next phase of the creation, male and female hornbills of the two deities, perched on the tree of life, renew the struggle, destroying the tree but in the process creating the first man and woman. Among the Toraja of Sulawesi the universe originates from the marriage of heaven and earth: Heaven lies upon the broad earth and, as they separate, the land is revealed and all their divine children, including the sun and moon, come forth. Among the Mambai of east Timor, a formless hermaphroditic being molds and shelters Mother Earth and Father Heaven; they separate and the pregnant Mother Earth bears the first mountain, known as the Great Father. Heaven descends upon Earth again and from their union are born the first trees and rocks and the first men and women. At each birth, the waters of the world increase, until Father Heaven eventually abandons Mother Earth, who is left to decompose and disintegrate.

Ideas of complementary duality are reflected in ideas about the principal divinity, who is often conceived of as a paired being (Mahatala/Jata among the Ngaju, Amawolo/Amarawi among the Sumbanese, or Nian Tana/Lero Wulan among the Ata Tana Ai); in ideas about categories of spirits, heroes, and other ancestral figures; in ideas about the division of sacred space: upperworld and underworld, upstream and downstream, mountainward and seaward, or inside and outside; and above all, in ideas about classes of persons and the order of participants in the performance of rituals.

Major celebrations based on this complementarity can become a form of ritual combat that reenacts the reproductive antagonisms of creation. To choose but one example, the Savunese of eastern Indonesia gather on the day preceding the night of a full moon to form male and female groups according to lineage affiliation; they position themselves at the upper and lower end of a sacred enclosure on the top of a particular hill. There they engage in ceremonial cockfighting that is timed to reach its crescendo precisely at noon. This high cosmological drama is based on a series of complementary oppositions: the conjunction of male and female, the union of the upper and lower divisions of the cosmos, and the antagonism of spirits of the mountain and sea, all of which are timed to climax when the sun is at its zenith and the moon at its fullest.

A significant feature of the traditional religions of the region is the preservation of sacred knowledge through special forms of ritual language that are characterized by the pervasive use of parallelism. Parallelism is a form of dual phraseology and, in its most canonical form, results in a strict dyadic expression of all ritual statements. The following lines, excerpted from a traditional Rotinese mortuary chant, give an idea of the parallelism of such ritual poetry:

Delo Iuk has died
So plant an areca nut at her foot
And Soma Lopo has perished
So plant a coconut at her head
Let the coconut grow fruit for her head
And let the areca nut grow flowerstalks for her feet.

This parallelism, which is a common feature of oral composition, resembles in form the parallelism that is to be found in the sacred literatures of other peoples of the world. (Both the Psalms and the Popol Vuh of the Quiche Maya provide good examples of such canonical parallelism.) Myths of the Batak, of the people of Nias, of the Ngaju, Kendayan, and Mualang Dayak, of the Toraja, and of a majority of the peoples of eastern Indonesia adhere to relatively strict forms of parallelism, whereas the myths of other traditional religious adherents follow freer forms of parallel compositions. In all cases, a form of duality is an essential part of the very process of composition.

Conceptions of complementary dualism continue to pervade even those societies that have adopted Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity. Balinese society is replete with dualism. The opposition between Barong and Rangda, which forms one of Bali's best-known dramatic temple performances, is a particularly striking example of complementary dualism. The Javanese wayang, or shadow theater, is similarly based on forms of dual opposition. Although the initial basis for many of the most important dramas was Indian, the Javanese have developed and extended these dramas to suit local conceptions. In the Bhāratayuddha (in the Javanese version of the Hindu epic Mahābhārata ), the Pandawa heroes defeat and destroy their cousins, the Korawa. Yet according to the Korawasrama, an important Javanese text for which there exists no Sanskrit equivalent, the Korawa are resuscitated to continue their struggle with Pandawa for, as the text asserts: "How could the world be well ordered if the Korawa and Pandawa no longer existed? Are they not the content of the world?"

Belief in the Immanence of Life

Virtually all of the traditional religions of the region are predicated on a belief in the immanence of life. In the literature this concept is often simplistically referred to as "animism." In traditional mythologies, creation did not occur ex nihilo : The cosmos was violently quickened into life and all that exists is thus part of a living cosmic whole. Life is evident everywhere in a multitude of forms whose manifestation can be complex, particularistic, but also transitory. There are many different classes of beings, including humans, whose origin may be identified in some mythological account but the system is inherently open and other classes of beings may be recognized whose origin is unknown, even though their manifestation is evident. In many of the traditional religions there is no single origin of humankind. Commonly, humans either descended from a heavenly sphere or emerged from earth or sea; yet, often, the origin of some categories of humans is left unexplained. The openness of these systems does not necessarily involve indifference so much as a recognition of the limitations of human knowledge.

Although there exists an ultimate ground of identity to all manifestations of life, the traditional view makes no assumption of identity or equality among particular manifestations. The result is a general acceptance of a plurality of beings and at the same time, especially in the mystic traditions elaborated in Java, a recognition of the oneness of the individual with the whole in the commonality of life.

The traditional religions differ markedly, however, in their classification of categories or classes of beings. Priests of the Ifugao, for example, are reported to be able to distinguish over fifteen hundred spirits or deities, who are divided into forty classes. By contrast, the Rotinese recognize two broad classes of spiritsthose of the inside and those of the outsideand are only concerned with naming the spirits of the inside. The traditional religions also differ significantly in attitudes to the spirit world. For some, all spirits are potentially malevolent and must be placated; in others, benevolent spirits are called upon to intervene against troublesome spirits. In the majority, however, attitudes vary according to types of spirits. The result is a kind of spiritual empiricism in which various ritual procedures are employed as experiments to see what occurs. Often this is highly individualistic: What works for one person may not work for another. In general, all traditional religions aim to achieve some form of ritual balance that accords each category of life its appropriate due.

Although rarely accorded philosophical justification except in the more consciously elaborate traditional religions, there exists the underlying assumption that, since all is part of a whole, any part can stand for the whole. Among the simplest but most common microcosmic representations of the macrocosm are rock and tree, whose union is variously interpreted as the primordial source of life and as the progenitorial conjunction of male and female. Other representations abound. Ceremonial space may be constructed to mirror the whole: Villages, houses, or ships may be symbolically arranged on a macrocosmic basis, or particular objects, such as the kayon that is held up to begin and end a wayang performance, the four-cornered raga-raga rack that hangs suspended in a traditional Batak house, or merely a flag and flagpole, can be vested with all-embracing cosmic significance. Frequently, the human body itself may represent the whole of the cosmos. All such representations have a potency that is centered, ordered, and ultimately diffused outward.

A fundamental feature of the traditional religions is their recognition that life depends upon death, that creation derives from dissolution. This is the emphatic theme of most myths of creation and is repeated in origin tales and in much folklore. In widespread tales of the origin of the cultivation of rice, millet, or of various tubers, for example, the first sprouts or shoots of the new crop come from the body of some ancestral figure. Moreover, since life comes from death, the ancestral dead or specific deceased persons, whose lives were marked by notable attainments, are regarded as capable of bestowing life-giving potency. Thus the dead figure prominently in the religious activities of the living and the tombs of the dead are often sources of religious benefit. In some areas, as on Sumba, the tombs of the dead occupy the center of the village; elsewhere they form the focal point of pilgrimage.

The chief sacrificial animals in the traditional religions are the chicken, the dog, and the pig (although among those populations that keep them the water buffalo is by far the most important sacrificial animal). Sacrifice generally involves creative analogies on an ordered scale. The people of Nias, who perform spectacular pig sacrifices, describe themselves as "God's pigs." In the mortuary ceremonies of the Toraja, the sacrificial water buffalo is identified with the deceased but, in other contexts, can represent the entire descent group. Among the Rotinese, as among other peoples of Southeast Asia, the water buffalo can also be analogically identified with the whole of the cosmos and sacrifice can thus be conceived as a reenactment of creation.

The entrails of chickens and the livers of pigs frequently provide a means of divination within a sacrificial context. These forms of divination, as well as others, such as the augury of birds or divination by spear, together with spirit possession form part of a complex revelatory process by which humans seek to interpret the wishes and intentions of the spirit powers.

Rituals of Life and Death

The rituals of the different traditional religions of the region invariably constitute part of a continuing process or cycle and are primarily concerned with the enhancement of life, either the life of particular persons or the life of large collectivities, including that of the cosmos as a totality. Life-cycle rituals mark the process of life and death. They may be seen to begin with marriagethe union of male and femaleand proceed through specific stages. Prominent among these rituals are those that mark the seventh month of a woman's pregnancy, haircutting, tooth filing, circumcision (which may have had a pre-Islamic origin but has been given increased significance through the influence of Islam), the coming of adulthood through marriage, and the formation of an autonomous household, which in many societies centers on the celebration of the completion of a house. In numerous societies, tattooing is a physical marking of this process of development and special tattoos are used to identify individuals who can claim outstanding achievements. Often tattoos are regarded as a prerequisite for admission as well as individual identification in the world after death.

Death rituals are part of the same process as those of life and in general are celebrated throughout the region with great elaboration. Death rituals are also performed in stages commencing with burial and continuing sometimes for years. Such rituals are believed to chart, or even effect, the progress of the spirit of the deceased in its journey or elevation through the afterworld. Major celebrations often occur long after initial burial, when only the bones of the deceased remain. These bones, separated from the flesh, may either be reburied in a special sepulcher or reunited in a single tomb with the bones of other members of the descent group. Often the groups involved in performing these mortuary rituals complete and reverse the exchanges that began at the marriage ceremony of the parents of the deceased, thus ending one phase and beginning the next phase of a continuing cycle. On Bali, a Hindu cremation marks a comparable stage following a similar pattern, whereas in Java and elsewhere, despite an Islamic requirement of immediate burial, the spirits of the dead are given regular offerings and the tombs of former great rulers and leaders are prominent places of pilgrimage.

A feature of many of the rituals of life and death is their botanic idiom, which reflects a common Austronesian agricultural inheritance. The rituals describe a process of planting, growing, and ripening into old age; after the harvest comes the renewal of the cycle with the planting of new seed. Thus the rituals of the life cycle often parallel those of the agricultural cycle. Conceptually they are part of the same process.

Headhunting was once a prominent feature of the social life of many of the peoples of the region. Although this form of limited warfare was given various cultural interpretations, headhunting was frequently linked in rituals to the general cycle of death and renewal. In this sense, headhunting was a form of "harvest" in which particular individuals were able to achieve great reknown.

The Celebration of Spiritual Differentiation

In the traditional religions of the region, there is no presumption of identity attached to any of the manifestations of life. Creation produced myriad forms of being and the processes of life that began in the past continue to the present. Generally, not even humankind is credited with a single origin or source of being. The result is an essential openness to life, a basic acceptance of life's many manifestations, and ultimately a celebration of spiritual differentiation.

The tendency in most traditional religions is to personalize whatever may be considered a manifestation of life. Included among such manifestations are the heavenly spheresthe sun, moon, and stars; the forces of naturethunder, lightning, or great winds; points of geographical prominencehigh mountain peaks, volcanic craters, waterfalls, caves, or old trees; places endowed with unusual significance as the result of past occurrencessites of abandoned settlement, a former meeting place of some spirit, or the point of a past, powerful dream; and simpler iconic representations of lifeancient ancestral possessions, royal regalia, amulets, and other objects of specially conceived potency. Veneration for all such objects is accorded to the potency that the objects are considered to possess, but only as long as this potency is evident. Confrontation with any new source of unknown power requires a kind of ritual empiricism to discover precisely what is that power's appropriate due.

In social terms, these spiritual premises are conducive to notions of precedence and hierarchy. No society in the region is without some form of social differentiation. Even in the simplest of tribal societies the birth order of the children of the same parents becomes a means for such distinctions. In many societiesperhaps a majority of the societies of the regionforms and degrees of differentiation are endowed with considerable importance. The populations of many of these societies regard themselves as derived of different ancestral origins or even of different classes of creation. Thus, for example, the ranked class structures of the Ngaju of Kalimantan, of the Bugis of south Sulawesi, or of the peoples of Sumba or Tanimbar in eastern Indonesia are all predicated on distinct creations.

Equally, the same spiritual premises may promote notions of achievement. A recurrent image of life involves the metaphor of the "journey of achievement." Myths recount the founding journeys of the ancestors, folk tales extol the attainments of heroic journeys, and dreams and séances can take the form of a spiritual journey. Furthermore, many societies encourage a period of journeying in early adult-hood as a means of gaining knowledge, wealth, fame, and experience.

Literally and spiritually, individuals are distinguished by their journeys. Rank, prowess, and the attainment of wealth can be taken as evident signs of individual enhancement in a life's odyssey, and this enhancement may be celebrated through major rituals, both in life and after death. In many traditional religions, mortuary rituals and the feasting that generally accompanies them are the primary indicators of a person's social and spiritual position and are intended to translate this position into a similarly enhanced position in the afterlife. These rituals invariably invoke a journey, often described as the sailing of the ship of the dead, and by these rituals the living act to accord the deceased a proper spiritual position. (Often heaven or the underworld are considered to have many layers through which the soul of the dead wanders to find its proper abode.)

In return for the performance of the mortuary ritual, the deceased ancestor becomes capable of returning benefits to the living. In ancient Java, these ideas were given an Indic interpretation in the mortuary elevation of rulers to identification with Śiva or the Buddha. Similar ideas still underlie major temple rituals on Bali, megalithic tomb building among the Sumbanese, the spectacular mortuary ceremonies and cliff burial of the Saʾdan Toraja, or the simple, less obtrusive rituals of rock and tree elsewhere in the archipelago.

Today throughout insular Southeast Asia, the basic premises of traditional religions are under challenge from religions such as Islam and Christianity that preach transcendence in place of the immanence of life and assert spiritual equality rather than celebrate spiritual differentiation. These religions are also under challenge from modernizing national governments that insist upon bureaucratic homogeneity and positive rationalism. Yet despite present pressures, traditional ways of thinking and acting continue to show remarkable resilience and continuity with the past.

See Also

Balinese Religion; Batak Religion; Bornean Religions; Buddhism, article on Buddhism in Southeast Asia; Bugis Religion; Drama, article on Javanese Wayang; Islam, article on Islam in Southeast Asia; Javanese Religion; Megalithic Religion, article on Historical Cultures; Melanesian Religions, overview article; Toraja Religion.


A useful starting point for the study of Southeast Asian religions is Waldemar Stöhr and Piet Zoetmulder's Die Religionen Indonesiens (Stuttgart, 1965). A French translation of this volume is available: Les religions d'Indonésie (Paris, 1968). Stöhr examines various specific traits of the tribal religions of Indonesia and the Philippines on a regional basis, while Zoetmulder provides a succinct introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in Indonesia, together with an excellent discussion of the Balinese religion. Stöhr has since extended his general examination in Die Altindonesischen Religionen (Leiden, 1976). Both volumes have extensive and useful bibliographies. The general study of animism by the Dutch missionary-ethnographer A. C. Kruijt, Het animisme in den Indischen archipel (The Hague, 1906), is of historic interest as is the study of the Batak religion by the German missionary Johannes G. Warneck, Die Religion der Batak (Leipzig, 1909). Three studies of particular traditional religions by Leiden-trained anthropologists emphasizing features of complementary duality are Richard Erskine Downs's The Religion of the Bareʾe-Speaking Toradja of Central Celebes (The Hague, 1956), Hans Schärer's Ngaju Religion, translated by Rodney Needham (1946; reprint, The Hague, 1963), and Peter Suzuki's The Religious System and Culture of Nias, Indonesia (The Hague, 1959). Roy F. Barton has provided considerable documentation on the Ifugao, including a study of their religion, The Religion of the Ifugaos (Menasha, 1946); Clifford Geertz has contributed enormously to the study of Java, particularly with an influential book, The Religion of Java (Glencoe, Ill., 1960). Our understanding of traditional religions has also been greatly enhanced by a series of recent ethnographies: Erik Jensen's The Iban and Their Religion (Oxford, 1974), Michelle Z. Rosaldo's Knowledge and Passion (Cambridge, 1980), Gregory L. Forth's Rindi (The Hague, 1981), and Peter Metcalf's A Borneo Journey into Death (Philadelphia, 1982), as well as by a number of as yet unpublished Ph.D. dissertations: Elizabeth Gilbert Traube's "Ritual Exchange among the Mambai of East Timor" (Harvard University, 1977), Robert William Hefner's "Identity and Cultural Reproduction among the Tengger-Javanese," (University of Michigan, 1982), E. D. Lewis's "Tana Wai Brama" (Australian National University, 1982), and Janet Alison Hoskins's "Spirit Worship and Feasting in Kodi, West Sumba" (Harvard University, 1984).

New Sources

Gibson, Thomas. Sacrifice and Sharing in the Philippine Highlands: Religion and Society among the Buid of Mindoro. London and Dover, N.H., 1986.

Kipp, Rita Smith, and Susan Rodgers, eds. Indonesian Religions in Transition. Tucson, 1987.

McAmis, Robert Day. Malay Muslims: The History and Challenge of Resurgent Islam in Southeast Asia. Grand Rapids, Mich., 2002.

Schiller, Anne Louise. Small Sacrifices: Religious Change and Cultural Identity among the Ngaju of Indonesia. New York, 1997.

Wessing, Robert, and Roy E. Jordaan. "Death at the Building Site: Construction Sacrifice in Southeast Asia." History of Religions 37 (1997): 101121.

James J. Fox (1987)

Revised Bibliography

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Southeast Asian Religions: Insular Cultures

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Southeast Asian Religions: Insular Cultures