Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Dayak Commander Of Birds

The “Panglima Burung” or “Commander of Birds” is believed to be noble-minded Dayak leaders who possess magical powers and inhabit in the mountains of the interior of Borneo. There are the spiritual leaders, warlords, teachers, and elders.


The Dayak believed that these commanders have lived for hundreds of years and stay in the spiritual realm of interior Borneo. This commander of birds can be invisible, or take the shape of male or female. It may be the case that they were the spirits of late Dayak community leaders only to be conjured through a ritual for various purposes. However, there is another story that says that a “Panglima Burung” is the incarnation of Hornbill, a bird that is considered sacred and holy in Kalimantan.


It is said that “Panglima Burung” normally led a simple life. Although as leaders, they do not reside in the palace or luxurious buildings but they rather hide and meditate in the mountains and unite with the nature.


On the other hand, when the “Panglima Burung” is angry, they would descend from the mountain and gather their teams. They will then call a ritual known as the “Red Bowl”. This Red Bowl ritual is performed to gather Dayak warriors. During this Red Bowl ritual the warriors will carry out the famous war dance wilding the famous Dayak mandau swords as if hypnotized for war.

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