A Man May Have From One To Three Wives,
Who Sometimes Fight, But All Ends Well.
In each family there are at least
two children, and often as many as seven, while one woman had borne
eleven, of whom only four survived.
The feminine fashion in hair-dressing
is the same as that followed by the Duhoi, which looks well, the hair
folded over on each side with some locks tied over the middle. I saw here
two implements called duhong, knives shaped like broad spear points,
relics of ancient times, with which the owners would not part. The
Katingans are probably the friendliest and best tempered Dayaks I met. The
children are tender hearted: when the kapala's nude little son, about two
and a half years old, approached my film box his father spoke harshly to
him; the child immediately began to cry bitterly and his mother, the great
blian, soothed and affectionately kissed him until he became calm.
The obliging kapala, in order to do his bit to induce the people to dance,
offered to present one pig if I would give rice and salt. The dancing,
which was performed around a blanga on a mat spread on the ground, was
similar in character to what may be seen elsewhere in Borneo. Four men and
four women performed one dance. In another only women took part, and they
moved one behind another in a circle with unusually quick, short steps,
signifying that good antohs had taken possession of them. The principal
blian later sat down on a mat and sang; three women sitting near
accompanied her by beating small oblong drums. They all became
enthusiastic, for music attracts good antohs. In the Katingan language the
word lauk means creature; an additional word, earth, water, or air, as the
case may be, signifying whether an animal, a bird, or a fish is meant.
Having accomplished in a short time as much as could be expected, we
returned to Kuala Samba, and from there, in the first week of January,
started southward in our big prahu. The river was very low, and after half
an hour we were compelled to take on board two Bakompai men as pilots
among the sand banks. At Ball the coffin was found to be ready and was
taken on board. It had been well-made, but the colours were mostly, if not
all, obtained from the trader and came off easily, which was somewhat
disappointing. It seemed smaller than the original, though the makers
insisted that it was quite similar and challenged me to go and see the one
they had copied, which was in the vicinity, behind the kampong.
Here I saw a new and somewhat striking arrangement for the disposition of
the dead. A small white house contained several coffins guarded by seven
kapatongs of medium size, which stood in a row outside, with the lower
part of their legs and bodies wrapped in mats. The skull of a
water-buffalo and many pigs' jaws hung near by.
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