Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1891 Enggano warrior

Subject: warrior
Culture: Engganese
Setting: tribal warfare, Enggano 19thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni 2001 p 116
"The practice of headhunting had apparently died out by the time of Modigliani's arrival [in 1891], but everyone seemed to agree that they had the right to sever the heads of enemies killed in battle.  He was often told 'Grandfather,' an expression of deep respect, 'Your head would have great value.'  When he replied that his head had even more value to him, admirers looked at him longingly, as if thinking that it would be a shame to let such a treasure out of the country."


* ter Keurs 2002 p126
"Although the first European depiction of the Engganese people, which appears in the Journal of Cornelis de Houtman, shows them completely naked, both men and women wore varied clothing made up of fiber, barkcloth, beads, wood, sheet tin, feathers, leaves, and grass.  As in many other places, regular daily dress was not particularly remarkable.  Fiber and grass were used to make loincloths and roots were used to make bracelets.  Belts made of boar hair were worn, although the beautifully decorated examples were reserved for festive occasions.  Small barkcloth shirts are known, but we have no clear knowledge about their function and symbolic meaning."

* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni 2001 p 120 (describing the Pahachiac festival)
"Most of the men at the festival were naked except for a small belt of strung glass beads, called eapi, and a headband made of pandanus leaf or braided pig's bristle adorned with multicolored bird feathers.  The headband resembled those worn by Kalinga men in the Philippines. It was called epruru coio.  A spear and knife completed the outfit."

* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni p 125 (describing single combat with spear and shield)
"The combatants wore a fiber headband and leaves in their ears, in the same manner as the dead did prior to burial, which symbolized their willingness to fight to the death."

Knives / Swords

* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni 2001 p 125
"... [Engganese daggers had] hilts decorated with a human or animal head.  The form of the smaller knives (eohoari) sometimes resembled that of the Javanese kris.  Larger knives, preferred for combat, were called epeiti cacuhia (large knife) or epeiti canohe (beautiful knife).  Knives used to cut wood were called epacamaio or epochipo o afiia, and those used for cooking were eachiebara or eao."

* ter Keurs 2002 p129
"Metal forging was not and is not known on Enggano.  Metal for knives and bush swords (parang) is still imported from mainland Sumatra. ... A head depicted in wood [is] usually covered with sheet tin, like the squatting figures on the women's headdresses. In 1994 this type of object was said to protect the house of its owner from being burnt down.  These hilt figures are quite reminiscent of the squatting figures in other areas of Engganese material culture -- notably the women's headdresses and the carved house supports -- and its seems likely they had a ceremonial meaning as well, possibly involving rituals to kill prey or divide meat."

* ter Keurs 2002 p114
"Imported products, at least in the nineteenth century, were beads, tin, and metal blades for swords, known as parang."

* ter Keurs 2002 p129
"The wooden hilts ... for the parang show considerable stylistic similarities with what is produced on the [Sumatran] mainland."


* Draeger 1972 p160
"Engano natives are hostile to all who encroach upon their society.  Seven-foot spears are their favorite weapon.  Made of nibong wood, these weapons are tipped with sharp bamboo points, fire hardened, and their concave sides are filled with imbedded [SIC] shark's teeth or fish bones which have been pointed.  Some use is made of iron and copper for spearheads.  The Engano natives lurk behind coral reefs in war canoes ready to pounce upon stragglers who venture too close."

* ter Keurs 2002 p129-130
"A great variety of spears (the Indonesian work tombak is used) occurs on Enggano.  Ones with curved hooks are typical for the island.  Since the nineteenth century the spearpoints have been made from metal, but before then they were made of bone.  Each category of spear has its own name and they served as marriage gifts as well as weapons.  Some are considered to be family heirlooms (pusaka) and are given to the next generation of men through the female line.  After the owner died, it would not be his son who got the pusaka but his sister's son. Hunting spears were used for a variety of purposes, of which hunting pigs in the forest was most often mentioned."

* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni 2001 p 125
"Two types of spears were used.  The first was hooked and designed to pull down the opponent's shield and the second was heavier and thicker, designed to shatter it. ...
    "The spear known as ecaio was used for the hunt and for warfare, as well as being an emblem of wealth.  Each variety had a particular name, according to the shape of its metal blade, its smoothness, its piercings, or its number of points."

* ter Keurs 2002 p118
"The descriptions (by 19thc European observers) of marriages always focus on the gifts given from the family of the groom to the family of the bride and never describe the actual marriage practices.  A major part of these brideprice payments was the exchange of spears (tombak) and bush swords (parang)."


* Giovagnoni/Itzikovits/Dandrieu-Giovagnoni 2001 p 125
"[S]hields could weigh forty to sixty pounds and be up to six feet long.  They were decorated with painted or engraved designs.  The pointed bottom ends of the shields could be stuck in the ground."

* van Zonneveld 2001 p122
"On Enggano shields measured almost 2 m long and 1 m broad.  Whenever fearing a raid the shields were used as a breast-work behind which the Engganese hid and from behind which they harassed the enemy with pikes."

* ter Keurs 2002 p130
"Sometimes a human or mythical being is depicted on a shield, but the meaning of this design is not clear.  Some house models show a shield hanging under the house.  The three shields in the Tropenmuseum are large and heavy, which would mean that warfare on Enggano was somewhat a static affair.  Such a shield offers more than enough space for one person to hide behind, but is difficult to carry around.  A wooden pin under the shield was probably used to stick it in the ground."