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Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The Dayak Red Bowl Ritual (Mangkok Merah)
A red bowl
is a media of association of Dayak tribe. When a red bowl is in circulation
means the Dayak people feel that their sovereignty is in danger; in short, "war time". The "Chief"
or often referred to as “Pangkalima” Dayak often produces a signal of war to
commence of red bowl distributed from village to village quickly.
bowl is never distributed arbitrarily. Before the red bowl is released, the commander
must make an invocation ritual to check when the right time to start a war. In
the ritual, the ancestor spirits are invited to possess the body of the “pangkalima”.
When “pangkalima” is performing a "tariu" (call to ask the ancestors
for help and declaring war); the Dayak people who hear it will also have the
power as the commander. Usually people with unstable soul can fall sick or become
crazy on hearing “tariu”.
are possessed by the spirit of the ancestors will be inhuman. Up to a standard
that the blood and liver of their victims killed would be eaten raw. Otherwise
in peaceful situation, the Dayak never eat human. The heads of enemies are cut
off, skinned and stored for the needs of custom ceremony. By drinking blood and
eating the enemies’ heart, the magical power of Dayak warriors will increase. It
is believed that if the power of a warrior increases with the kills.
Red bowl is
usually made of bamboo core (some say made of clay). To participate in this red
bowl ritual, other materials such as sweet red rotan (acorus calamus) to
symbolize the courage (some say may be substituted with yellow rice), red
feathers to fly, light the torch of bamboo for torches (some say may be
substituted with a lighter), leaves of sago (metroxylon sagus) for shelter and
rope knot of skin kepuak as symbol of unity must also be prepared and put into
the bowl then wrapped in red cloth.