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A rare glimpse of an exotic and imperiled rain-forest culture is the extraordinary record of a Western photographer's eight-year friendship with a tribal medicine man.
Mentawai Shaman tells in images and words the story of "the original people," or Mentawaians, an archaic tribe who from time immemorial have lived on Siberut--an isolated, ecologically unique jungle island in Indonesia. It is a place where everything, from plants to rocks to animals and man, harbors a spirit. San Francisco-born Charles Lindsay, an ethnographic/naturalist photographer based in Tokyo, first entered the rain forest of Siberut in 1984: ironically, he hitched a ride in a dugout canoe with a team of Indonesian government "modernizers." He has returned time and again, intrigued by the Mentawaians' courageous attempt to retain their original culture. Lindsay's guide through the rituals of this areane society is Aman Lau Lau Manai, a shaman, or kerei, who has become his friend as well.
During Lindsay's second visit, he began to compile a phrase book for the unwritten Mentawaian language and was permitted to join a ritual monkey hunt. Subsequently, he was invited by messenger to help celebrate the important festival culminating Aman Lau Lau Manai's shamanic studies. Their friendship had begun. After surviving a life-threatening fever, which Aman Lau Lau Manai treated by conjuring his spirit, Lindsay became an adopted member of the new shaman's family.
As year's passed and their reciprocal trust grew, Aman Lau Lau Manai allowed Lindsay to photograph him collecting indigenous herbal medicines, hunting with poison-tipped arrows, raising his children, and performing sacred duties to maintain the Mentawaians' harmony with nature. Seldom-observed rituals include tattooing, teeth chiseling, rites of healing and mourning, animal sacrifice, frenetic dance, and trance--all captured by Lindsay's unassuming camera.
The result of this intimate relationship is Mentawai Shaman, a color portfolio of more than eighty dramatic photographs, augmented with excerpts from Lindsay's journals. Together they detail his warm personal interaction with Aman Lau Lau Manai and the community in which he plays a central role. A historical essay by Dr. Reimar Schefold, an internationally respected anthropolotical authority on the Mentawaians, provides a learned yet accessible overview to
qltheir esoteric way of life and the extent to which it is menaced by progress.
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Reimar Schefold received his Ph.D. in Basel, Switzerland and is currently Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Sociology of Indonesia at Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is also Chairman of the Dutch Research Association for Southeast Asia, and a member of the Board of the Royal Institute of Linguistics and Anthropology. He did research in Sumatra, Sulawesi, and on the Mentawai Islands where he lived for two years. His writing on Indonesia is widely published, including Lia: das grosse Ritual auf den Mentawai-Inseln, Indonesien (Lia: The Great Ritual on the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia) Berlin, Dietrich Reimer, 1988; and the film The Sakuddei, Granada TV and Odyssey-Series: Public Broadcasting Associates, Inc.
"Nature is both religion and survival for those who dwell in the rain forest. But change, in the form of development, is eating away at the natural diversity that is the basis of Mentawaian island society. This book makes clear that we will all be impoverished by the loss of this ecosystem and the richly distinct human society that depends on it for existence and meaning."--Adrian Forsyth, Conservation International
"For the Mentawaian, priest and physician are one, for the condition of the spirit determines the physical state of the body. Sickness is disruption, imbalance, and the manifestation of malevolent forces in the flesh. Health is a state of balance, of harmony, and for the Mentawaian it is something holy. Although ailments may be treated symptomatically, often with medicinal plants, many of which are indeed pharmacologically active, it is intervention on the spiritual plane that ultimaetly determines a patient's fate, and for this the healers must fly away on the wings of trance to distant realms where they may work their deeds of magical resuce. This book is an exquisite portrait of a people who move in and out of their spirit realm with an ease and impunity that has consistently astonished ethnographic observers."--Wade Davis, author of The Serpent and the Rainbow
"One of the best environmental warnings of 1983. Every ten days an area the size of Noxubee County loses it's timber and all the bird, animal and plant life being supported by it. Mentawai Shaman: Keeper of the Rain Forest by Charles Lindsay, is a rare and exotic glance at this ominous fact."--Broox Sledge, The Book World
"Ethnographer Lindsay's fascination with the Mentawaian tribe and their determination to hold to traditions despite the intrusion of outside social and political forces makes for a captivating account."--The Bookwatch
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Book Description Aperture. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New!. Seller Inventory # VIB0893815209
Book Description Aperture. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110893815209