The Dwelling Places of the Supreme Deities

Part of the Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde book series (KITLV)


Mahatala lives on the primeval mountain in the Upperworld, which is raised above the world inhabited by mankind Its entrance, in the shape of a wide river, is reached by ascending through forty-two layers of cloud, each with its own name. The Upperworld is a faithful image of this world, but everything there is richer and more beautiful. On the many rivers and lakes there live the sangiang,descendants of two of the three brothers of the first human couple. These sangiang come to the aid of the third brother, who was left below on earth, on the occasion of all important religious ceremonies, partly as servants, partly as delegates of Mahatala or of Mahatala and Jata. At the headwaters of the river of the Upperworld live the higher spirits, and on the primeval mountain, from which all rivers originate, Mahatala is enthroned, surrounded by his sister Putir Selong Tamanang (also known as Putir Sarin Garing) and the supreme spirits. There is no contradiction between this description and the statements above, for it is the unity of the supreme deity and the higher spirits which is emphasised in this representation. The priestly maps (see the illustrations) give us an exact representation of the Upperworld, as it is described in the priestly chants and in songs. A more particular description must be omitted here, since it would lead us too far afield and would necessarily develop into an exposition of the complete religious system of the Dayak.


Cultural Study Main Stream Religious Study Human Form Exact Representation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1963

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