These are wonderful images that arouse a great sense of respect and intrigue. They tell us so much more than just what clothes people wore and what they looked like they give us a wonderful glimpse into the very lives that these people lived.
This writer would like you to really look at these captured moments and ask yourself as many questions as you can, why, where, when, and every other question that comes to you.
Firstly where do these people live. We can see huge homes that held the extended family and even several families. In the middle of jungles and on the edge of oceans, individuals did not live long they had to work in communities supporting each other to provide the basics of life. These homes are raised off the ground to offer protection from the wild and very unfriendly animals that could lurk only meters away. Another interesting point is the high ceilings, no air conditioning in those days so this allowed for cooler air to circulate and bring some relief to the inhabitants from the tropical heat and humidity.
You can see a stream running through one of the images which highlights the importance of fresh water. It also displays what we can see all over the world that communities build into hamlets and then towns and then cities around streams and rivers.
Once several families form into a communities then there are new sets of norms or standards that take over. This brings questions of necessity and wants into play. Necessities such as food, water, shelter and clothing, then how to protect all that your community has built up. We can also see that a woman’s role was not just in the home but in the workplace, what were basically early factories. Yet it is also evident that the women are the workers while the foreman is exactly that, a man. This suggests that it is a male dominated society but as we will see that is not always the case in Indonesia.
War! The warrior was born, armies were formed and weapons were designed and created. Before blood was even spilled the the treat of war was used and this is clearly shown in the following image. A great display of power and show of strength and solidarity. We can even witness formations, so they have already had enough experience of battle to appreciate tactics and their value. Now what you may say is that they are just hunters, but if you look even closer you will see shields, that means that whatever they are attacking has the strength and ability to attack back.
Wealth. With time comes a divide in people, those who have power and control and those who follow. Indonesia is no different in that sense. How would you differentiate yourself if you were or wished to be considered as a member of the Elite. Clothing is and always has been a clear distinguishing factor in societies. Batik is the national cloth and the colors and designs that you have on your clothing can clearly show where you are from and how much you have paid for your clothing. Your head dress can also show your tribe and status level within that group.
Past times. Music and dance is a huge part of Indonesian culture and is greatly appreciate within most if not all communities. Combine that with a little light gambling and these people seemed to enjoy the lighter side of entertainment.
Yet with all stories there is always the darker aspect which has to be brought back in line with society. This last image shows a public whipping of the guilty’s buttocks. Let that be a lesson to us all.