Home Region:  Archipelago (Southeast Asia)

Iban - Pre-Brooke

EQ 2020  id_iban_1 / IdBrokE

The Kapuasi basin is located in Western Kalimantan, in Borneo, and has long been inhabited by the Iban or Dayak. These are a river people whose culture emphasizes individual resourcefulness, egalitarianism, personal mobility, and opening new land for settlement. [1] The Iban in fact trace their origins to the Kapuasi basin, and it was from there that they aggressively expanded their territory between the 17th and the 19th centuries, practising headhunting and slavery. [2] In 1841, Iban expansion was checked by British adventurer James Brooke, of the so-called Brooke Raj. This pushed some Iban westward, while others became part of the Raj itself. The governed Iban communities were relatively autonomous in the regulation of local matters, although a colonial administrative structure was superimposed onto the Iban system. The White Rajahs sought to suppress infighting and mobilize Iban communities for their own military interests. [3] With the exception of a period of Japanese control during the Second World War, [4] the British maintained control over this particular region up until Brunei’s independence in 1984. [5]
Population and political organization
Before the establishment of the Brooke Raj, there were no permanent leaders among the Iban: instead, groups of family leaders directed the affairs of each house. Warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists could all become men of influence. James Brooke, as Rajah of Sarawak, created political positions, such as headman, regional chief and paramount chief, to better control Iban society, particularly in terms of extracting taxes and suppressing headhunting. Iban political organization also changed profoundly with the creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s. [2]
It seems that the Iban lived in autonomous longhouse communities of about 500 inhabitants each, both before and probably for some time after the imposition of Brooke Raj authority. [2] More recently, we know that the 1985 census for Sarawak estimates the number of Iban at around 439,000 people. [6]

[1]: (Sandin 1980, xi) Sandin, Benedict. 1980. Iban Adat And Augury. Penang: Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia for School of Comparative Social Sciences. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/3I4RXPUZ.

[2]: (Sutlive and Beierle 1995) Sutlive Jr., Vinson H., and John Beierle. 1995. “Culture Summary: Iban.” eHRAF World Cultures. http://ehrafworldcultures.yale.edu/document?id=oc06-000. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/B4RV87D4.

[3]: (Gomes 1911, 77) Gomes, Edwin H. 1911. Seventeen Years among the Sea Dyaks of Borneo: A Record of Intimate Association with the Natives of the Bornean Jungles. Philadelphia, PA: J. B. Lippincott & Co. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/N6JNADA8.

[4]: (Andaya and Andaya 2016, 261-68) Andaya, Barbara Watson, and Leonard Y. Andaya. 2016. A History of Malaysia. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/VXPWW92R.

[5]: (Andaya 2008, 455) Andaya, Barbara Watson. 1992. “Political Development between the Sixteenth and Eighteenth Centuries.” In The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol. 1: From Early Times to C. 1800, edited by Nicholas Tarling, 402-59. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/UQTUBXM2.

[6]: (Davison and Sutlive 1991, 158) Davison, Julian, Vinson H. Sutlive, and Vinson H. Sutlive. 1991. “Children of Nising: Images of Headhunting and Male Sexuality in Iban Ritual and Oral Literature.” In Female and Male in Borneo: Contributions and Challenges to Gender Studies, 153-230. Williamsburg, VA: Borneo Research Council. Seshat URL: https://www.zotero.org/groups/1051264/seshat_databank/items/itemKey/5U8X7Q5P.

General Variables
Identity and Location
Utm Zone:
49 N  
Original Name:
Iban - Pre-Brooke  
Capital:
none  
Alternative Name:
Dayaks  
Sea Dayaks  
Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[1,650 CE ➜ 1,841 CE]  
Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none  
Supracultural Entity:
South-East Asia  
Succeeding Entity:
Brooke Raj  
White Rajahs  
Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
4,500,000 km2  
Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity  
Preceding Entity:
Iban Communities  
Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity  
Language
Linguistic Family:
Malayo-Polynesian  
Language:
Iban  
Religion
Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[25 to 500] people  
Polity Population:
[25 to 500] people  
Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1  
Religious Level:
1  
Military Level:
2  
Administrative Level:
1  
Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent  
Professional Priesthood:
absent  
Professional Military Officer:
absent  
Bureaucracy Characteristics
Specialized Government Building:
absent  
Merit Promotion:
absent  
Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent  
Examination System:
absent  
Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent  
Judge:
absent  
Formal Legal Code:
absent  
Court:
absent  
Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
inferred absent  
Irrigation System:
absent  
Food Storage Site:
absent  
Drinking Water Supply System:
absent  
Transport Infrastructure
Road:
absent  
Port:
absent  
Canal:
absent  
Bridge:
absent  
Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
absent  
Information / Writing System
Written Record:
absent  
Script:
absent  
Phonetic Alphabetic Writing:
absent  
Nonwritten Record:
present  
Mnemonic Device:
present  
Information / Kinds of Written Documents
Scientific Literature:
absent  
Sacred Text:
absent  
Religious Literature:
absent  
Practical Literature:
absent  
Philosophy:
absent  
Lists Tables and Classification:
absent  
History:
absent  
Fiction:
absent  
Calendar:
absent  
Information / Money
Token:
absent  
Precious Metal:
absent  
Paper Currency:
absent  
Indigenous Coin:
absent  
Foreign Coin:
absent  
Article:
present  
Information / Postal System
Postal Station:
absent  
General Postal Service:
absent  
Courier:
absent  
Information / Measurement System
Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
  Wooden Palisade:
present  
  Stone Walls Non Mortared:
absent  
  Stone Walls Mortared:
absent  
  Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present  
  Modern Fortification:
absent  
  Moat:
unknown  
  Fortified Camp:
absent  
  Earth Rampart:
unknown  
  Ditch:
unknown  
  Complex Fortification:
absent  
  Long Wall:
absent  
Military use of Metals
  Steel:
unknown  
  Iron:
present  
  Copper:
inferred absent  
  Bronze:
inferred absent  
Projectiles
  Tension Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling Siege Engine:
absent  
  Sling:
unknown  
  Self Bow:
absent  
  Javelin:
present  
  Handheld Firearm:
absent  
  Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent  
  Crossbow:
absent  
  Composite Bow:
absent  
  Atlatl:
absent  
Handheld weapons
  War Club:
unknown  
  Sword:
present  
  Spear:
present  
  Polearm:
unknown  
  Dagger:
unknown  
  Battle Axe:
unknown  
Animals used in warfare
  Horse:
absent  
  Elephant:
absent  
  Donkey:
absent  
  Dog:
present  
  Camel:
absent  
Armor
  Wood Bark Etc:
present  
  Shield:
present  
  Scaled Armor:
absent  
  Plate Armor:
absent  
  Limb Protection:
unknown  
  Leather Cloth:
present  
  Laminar Armor:
absent  
  Helmet:
present  
  Chainmail:
absent  
  Breastplate:
absent  
Naval technology
  Specialized Military Vessel:
absent  
  Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present  
  Merchant Ships Pressed Into Service:
absent  
Religion Tolerance Nothing coded yet.
Human Sacrifice Nothing coded yet.
Crisis Consequences Nothing coded yet.
Power Transitions Nothing coded yet.

NGA Settlements:

Year Range Iban - Pre-Brooke (id_iban_1) was in:
 (1650 CE 1841 CE)   Kapuasi Basin
Home NGA: Kapuasi Basin

General Variables
Identity and Location

Original Name:
Iban - Pre-Brooke

It is unclear whether ’Iban’ or ’Dayak’ was the name used originally. There is some variation concerning the usage of ethnonyms among the Iban of Borneo. ’The name "Iban" is of uncertain origin. Early scholars regarded it as originally a Kayan term, HIVAN, meaning "wanderer." The use of the name by those Iban in closer association with Kayan gives support to this possibility. Other Iban, of Sarawak’s First and Second Divisions, used the name "Dayak", and even today consider "Iban" a borrowed term. The participation of a few Iban in alliances with Malays for coastal piracy in the 19th century led to their being called "Sea Dayaks." Iban are to be encountered in all of the political divisions of the island of Borneo, but in the largest numbers in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the northwest coast. They have lived predominantly in the middle-level hills of the island, and during the last 150 years, fully half have moved onto the delta plains.’ [1] ’Iban’ is the more commonly used term in the ethnographic literature. ’Dayak’ is sometimes used to signify the entire tribal population of Borneo: ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [2] Iban was chosen due to its prevalence in the ethnographic record. For ethnonyms, see the code below.

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak


The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but had established themselves in Sarawak by the 19th century: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [1] Sarawak was nominally controlled by the sultanate of Brunei before being ceded to the White Rajahs: ’Sarawak became the southern province of the sultanate of Brunei when the Majapahit empire of Java declined in the 15th century. James Brooke, an English adventurer and a former military officer of the East India Company, visited the territory in 1839 and aided the sultan in suppressing a revolt. As a reward for his services, Brooke was installed (1841) as raja of Sarawak over the sector from Tanjung Datu to the Batang (River) Samarahan; there he endeavoured to suppress piracy and headhunting.’ [2] ’British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islāmic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom and then a British colony’ [3] ’At Singapore (founded 20 years earlier by Sir Stamford Raffles), Brooke learned that Pengiran Muda Hassim, chief minister of the sultanate of Brunei, was engaged in war with several rebel Iban (Sea Dayak) tribes in neighbouring Sarawak, nominally under Brunei control. The rebellion was crushed with Brooke’s aid, and as a reward for his services the title of raja of Sarawak was conferred upon him in 1841, confirmed in perpetuity by the sultan of Brunei in 1846. For the next 17 years Brooke and a handful of English assistants made expeditions into the interior of Sarawak, partially suppressed the prevalence of headhunting, and established a secure government.’ [4] The Iban themselves were not organized around a capital, instead being dispersed into independent communities: ’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. Regionalism, deriving from these alliances, in which Iban distinguished themselves from other allied groups, persist in modern state politics. Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves). Prestige still accrues to descendants of the first status, disdain to descendants of the third.’ [1] ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [1] We have therefore assumed that there was little to no interaction between Iban villages and the towns of the Sultanate, making the identification of a capital unreasonable.

[1]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Sarawak-state-Malaysia

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[4]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj


Alternative Name:
Dayaks

It is unclear whether ’Iban’ or ’Dayak’ was the name used originally. There is some variation concerning the usage of ethnonyms among the Iban of Borneo. ’The name "Iban" is of uncertain origin. Early scholars regarded it as originally a Kayan term, HIVAN, meaning "wanderer." The use of the name by those Iban in closer association with Kayan gives support to this possibility. Other Iban, of Sarawak’s First and Second Divisions, used the name "Dayak", and even today consider "Iban" a borrowed term. The participation of a few Iban in alliances with Malays for coastal piracy in the 19th century led to their being called "Sea Dayaks." Iban are to be encountered in all of the political divisions of the island of Borneo, but in the largest numbers in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the northwest coast. They have lived predominantly in the middle-level hills of the island, and during the last 150 years, fully half have moved onto the delta plains.’ [1] ’Iban’ is the more commonly used term in the ethnographic literature. ’Dayak’ is sometimes used to signify the entire tribal population of Borneo: ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [2]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak

Alternative Name:
Sea Dayaks

It is unclear whether ’Iban’ or ’Dayak’ was the name used originally. There is some variation concerning the usage of ethnonyms among the Iban of Borneo. ’The name "Iban" is of uncertain origin. Early scholars regarded it as originally a Kayan term, HIVAN, meaning "wanderer." The use of the name by those Iban in closer association with Kayan gives support to this possibility. Other Iban, of Sarawak’s First and Second Divisions, used the name "Dayak", and even today consider "Iban" a borrowed term. The participation of a few Iban in alliances with Malays for coastal piracy in the 19th century led to their being called "Sea Dayaks." Iban are to be encountered in all of the political divisions of the island of Borneo, but in the largest numbers in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, on the northwest coast. They have lived predominantly in the middle-level hills of the island, and during the last 150 years, fully half have moved onto the delta plains.’ [1] ’Iban’ is the more commonly used term in the ethnographic literature. ’Dayak’ is sometimes used to signify the entire tribal population of Borneo: ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [2]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak


Temporal Bounds
Duration:
[1,650 CE ➜ 1,841 CE]

The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but migration was common: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [1] European and Chinese traders were present and interfered with the affairs of the Muslim sultanates on the island: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [2] The sultan of Brunei later ceded Sarawak to the Brooke Rajahs: ’Sarawak became the southern province of the sultanate of Brunei when the Majapahit empire of Java declined in the 15th century. James Brooke, an English adventurer and a former military officer of the East India Company, visited the territory in 1839 and aided the sultan in suppressing a revolt. As a reward for his services, Brooke was installed (1841) as raja of Sarawak over the sector from Tanjung Datu to the Batang (River) Samarahan; there he endeavoured to suppress piracy and headhunting.’ [3] ’At Singapore (founded 20 years earlier by Sir Stamford Raffles), Brooke learned that Pengiran Muda Hassim, chief minister of the sultanate of Brunei, was engaged in war with several rebel Iban (Sea Dayak) tribes in neighbouring Sarawak, nominally under Brunei control. The rebellion was crushed with Brooke’s aid, and as a reward for his services the title of raja of Sarawak was conferred upon him in 1841, confirmed in perpetuity by the sultan of Brunei in 1846. For the next 17 years Brooke and a handful of English assistants made expeditions into the interior of Sarawak, partially suppressed the prevalence of headhunting, and established a secure government.’ [4]

[1]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Sarawak-state-Malaysia

[4]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj


Political and Cultural Relations
Suprapolity Relations:
none

The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but migration was common: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [1] European and Chinese traders and pirates were present on Borneo even before the 17th century, but Iban territory was not part of the formal colonial system at the time: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [2] Iban communities were de facto self-governing before the Brooke Raj period: ’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. Regionalism, deriving from these alliances, in which Iban distinguished themselves from other allied groups, persist in modern state politics. Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves). Prestige still accrues to descendants of the first status, disdain to descendants of the third.’ [1] ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [1] It is assumed here that this was true prior to the 17th century as well.

[1]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean


Supracultural Entity:
South-East Asia

The Iban form part of the non-Muslim population of Borneo: ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [1] The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but migration was common: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [2] But during the age of imperialism, contact with Europeans and Chinese traders and pirates became more common in Borneo: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [3] The island of Borneo also has a long history of interethnic mingling, extending supracultural interaction to non-Dayak communities on the island: ’Iban have lived near other ethnic groups with whom they have interacted. The most important of these societies have been the Malays, Chinese, Kayan, and during the Brooke Raj and the period of British colonialism, Europeans. The dynamic relations between Iban and these societies have produced profound changes in Iban society and culture.’ [2] We follow eHRAF in grouping the island of Borneo with South-East Asia [4] . Wikipedia gives the geographical size of South-East Asia as 4,500,000 km2 [4] .

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak

[2]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia


Succeeding Entity:
Brooke Raj

Under Brooke Raj rule, the governed Iban communities remained relatively autonomous in the regulation of local matters, although a colonial administrative structure was superimposed onto the Iban system of independent small villages. The White Rajahs sought to suppress infighting and mobilize Iban communities for their own military interests: ’In the present day, under the rule of Rajah Brooke, no Sea Dyaks may go out on a fighting expedition unless called out for that purpose by the Government. I remember not long ago that there were some rebels in the upper reaches of the Batang Lupar River, who had been guilty of many murders, and would not submit to the Government. After trying milder measures without any effect, it was decided to take a force into their country, and the Government sent round the War Spear to let the people of the different villages know they were to be ready to go on expedition at a certain date.’ [1] ’Recurring hostility between the Brookes and the highest ranking Malays, who were “Arabs” and Brunei pengiran, grew out of rivalry, and the rivalry was in no small measure a contest for influence over the Iban population, as the history of the Malay Plot demonstrates. The Ibans were of central political importance because they loved to fight simply for the sake of fighting. The success of Charles Brooke with Iban levies from the lower Skrang and Saribas has already been described, but it is obvious that at this stage in Sarawak history, calling out the Ibans was still a game that more than one could play. At the time of the Chinese revolt in 1857, Charles had summoned his Skrang followers to the aid of besieged Kuching by sending a spear among them. Three years later the Brookes indignantly accused Sharif Masahor of using exactly the same tactic in the same area to call out hostile Ibans to fight the Rajah after the siege of Mukah. Well into the twentieth century, as we shall see, the dispatch of a “calling out spear” remained the standard official method of summoning Ibans for unpaid military service.’ [2] But the allegiance of the Iban subject population to Brooke authority was loose and ambiguous: ’Friendly Ibans were frequently able to manipulate Residents, who depended on them for information as well as for striking power. A classic case of confusion took place in 1879 in the Second Division, when the Resident, F.R.O. Maxwell, entrusted a Government spear to a visiting Iban headman from the Kantu River in Dutch Borneo. Maxwell asked this man to deliver a message to another headman on the Skrang River, who was supposed to report to Fort Alice. In this case the spear was merely a token of Government authority, according to Maxwell’s account, but it was also the sign commonly employed to raise forces for an expedition. Instead of using it to summon the man Maxwell wanted to see, his messenger called out a large force of Skrang warriors and led them in an attack on certain enemies in the upper Batang Lupar. The Resident then demanded a heavy fine from the Skrang leaders, charging that they should have known better, Government spear or no, than to follow a spurious call to arms. But they refused to pay the fine, and made threats against the Government. Eventually Maxwell had to send two large punitive expeditions into the Skrang River to restore Brooke authority. He blamed the whole affair on the principal Skrang headman, Kedu (Lang Ngindang).’ [3]

[1]: Gomes, Edwin H. 1911. “Seventeen Years Among The Sea Dyaks Of Borneo: A Record Of Intimate Association With The Natives Of The Bornean Jungles", 77

[2]: Pringle, Robert Maxwell 1968. “Ibans Of Sarawak Under Brooke Rule, 1841-1941”, 201

[3]: Pringle, Robert Maxwell 1968. “Ibans Of Sarawak Under Brooke Rule, 1841-1941”, 391

Succeeding Entity:
White Rajahs

Under Brooke Raj rule, the governed Iban communities remained relatively autonomous in the regulation of local matters, although a colonial administrative structure was superimposed onto the Iban system of independent small villages. The White Rajahs sought to suppress infighting and mobilize Iban communities for their own military interests: ’In the present day, under the rule of Rajah Brooke, no Sea Dyaks may go out on a fighting expedition unless called out for that purpose by the Government. I remember not long ago that there were some rebels in the upper reaches of the Batang Lupar River, who had been guilty of many murders, and would not submit to the Government. After trying milder measures without any effect, it was decided to take a force into their country, and the Government sent round the War Spear to let the people of the different villages know they were to be ready to go on expedition at a certain date.’ [1] ’Recurring hostility between the Brookes and the highest ranking Malays, who were “Arabs” and Brunei pengiran, grew out of rivalry, and the rivalry was in no small measure a contest for influence over the Iban population, as the history of the Malay Plot demonstrates. The Ibans were of central political importance because they loved to fight simply for the sake of fighting. The success of Charles Brooke with Iban levies from the lower Skrang and Saribas has already been described, but it is obvious that at this stage in Sarawak history, calling out the Ibans was still a game that more than one could play. At the time of the Chinese revolt in 1857, Charles had summoned his Skrang followers to the aid of besieged Kuching by sending a spear among them. Three years later the Brookes indignantly accused Sharif Masahor of using exactly the same tactic in the same area to call out hostile Ibans to fight the Rajah after the siege of Mukah. Well into the twentieth century, as we shall see, the dispatch of a “calling out spear” remained the standard official method of summoning Ibans for unpaid military service.’ [2] But the allegiance of the Iban subject population to Brooke authority was loose and ambiguous: ’Friendly Ibans were frequently able to manipulate Residents, who depended on them for information as well as for striking power. A classic case of confusion took place in 1879 in the Second Division, when the Resident, F.R.O. Maxwell, entrusted a Government spear to a visiting Iban headman from the Kantu River in Dutch Borneo. Maxwell asked this man to deliver a message to another headman on the Skrang River, who was supposed to report to Fort Alice. In this case the spear was merely a token of Government authority, according to Maxwell’s account, but it was also the sign commonly employed to raise forces for an expedition. Instead of using it to summon the man Maxwell wanted to see, his messenger called out a large force of Skrang warriors and led them in an attack on certain enemies in the upper Batang Lupar. The Resident then demanded a heavy fine from the Skrang leaders, charging that they should have known better, Government spear or no, than to follow a spurious call to arms. But they refused to pay the fine, and made threats against the Government. Eventually Maxwell had to send two large punitive expeditions into the Skrang River to restore Brooke authority. He blamed the whole affair on the principal Skrang headman, Kedu (Lang Ngindang).’ [3]

[1]: Gomes, Edwin H. 1911. “Seventeen Years Among The Sea Dyaks Of Borneo: A Record Of Intimate Association With The Natives Of The Bornean Jungles", 77

[2]: Pringle, Robert Maxwell 1968. “Ibans Of Sarawak Under Brooke Rule, 1841-1941”, 201

[3]: Pringle, Robert Maxwell 1968. “Ibans Of Sarawak Under Brooke Rule, 1841-1941”, 391


Scale of Supracultural Interaction:
4,500,000 km2

km squared. The Iban form part of the non-Muslim population of Borneo: ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [1] The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but migration was common: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [2] But during the age of imperialism, contact with Europeans and Chinese traders and pirates became more common in Borneo: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [3] The island of Borneo also has a long history of interethnic mingling, extending supracultural interaction to non-Dayak communities on the island: ’Iban have lived near other ethnic groups with whom they have interacted. The most important of these societies have been the Malays, Chinese, Kayan, and during the Brooke Raj and the period of British colonialism, Europeans. The dynamic relations between Iban and these societies have produced profound changes in Iban society and culture.’ [2] We follow eHRAF in grouping the island of Borneo with South-East Asia [4] . Wikipedia gives the geographical size of South-East Asia as 4,500,000 km2 [4] . We follow eHRAF in grouping the island of Borneo with South-East Asia [4] . Wikipedia gives the geographical size of South-East Asia as 4,500,000 km2 [4] .

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak

[2]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[4]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southeast_Asia


Relationship to Preceding Entity:
continuity

European and Chinese traders and pirates were present on Borneo even before the 17th century, but Iban territory was not part of the formal colonial system at the time: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [1] Iban communities were de facto self-governing before the Brooke Raj period: ’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. Regionalism, deriving from these alliances, in which Iban distinguished themselves from other allied groups, persist in modern state politics. Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves). Prestige still accrues to descendants of the first status, disdain to descendants of the third.’ [2] ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [2] It is assumed here that this was true prior to the 17th century as well.

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[2]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Preceding Entity:
Iban Communities

European and Chinese traders and pirates were present on Borneo even before the 17th century, but Iban territory was not part of the formal colonial system at the time: ’Modern European knowledge of Borneo dates from travelers who passed through Southeast Asia in the 14th century. The first recorded European visitor was the Franciscan friar Odoric of Pordenone, who visited Talamasim on his way from India to China in 1330. The Portuguese, followed by the Spanish, established trading relations on the island early in the 16th century. At the beginning of the 17th century the Portuguese and Spanish trade monopoly was broken by the Dutch, who, intervening in the affairs of the Muslim kingdoms, succeeded in replacing Mataram influence with their own. The coastal strip along the South China and Sulu seas was long oriented toward the Philippines to the northeast and was often raided by Sulu pirates. British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islamic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. In 1841 Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom ruled by the Brooke Raj. North Borneo (later Sabah) to the northeast was obtained by a British company to promote trade and suppress piracy, but it was not demarcated until 1912. Those losses left a much-reduced Brunei, which became a British protectorate in 1888.’ [1] Iban communities were de facto self-governing before the Brooke Raj period: ’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. Regionalism, deriving from these alliances, in which Iban distinguished themselves from other allied groups, persist in modern state politics. Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves). Prestige still accrues to descendants of the first status, disdain to descendants of the third.’ [2] ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [2] It is assumed here that this was true prior to the 17th century as well.

[1]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean

[2]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Degree of Centralization:
quasi-polity

The Iban claim to originate in the Kapuas Basin, but had established themselves in Sarawak by the 19th century: ’The Iban trace their origins to the Kapuas Lake region of Kalimantan. With a growing population creating pressures on limited amounts of productive land, the Iban fought members of other tribes aggressively, practicing headhunting and slavery. Enslavement of captives contributed to the necessity to move into new areas. By the middle of the 19th century, they were well established in the First and Second Divisions, and a few had pioneered the vast Rejang River valley. Reacting to the establishment of the Brooke Raj in Sarawak in 1841, thousands of Iban migrated to the middle and upper regions of the Rejang, and by the last quarter of the century had entered all remaining Divisions.’ [1] Sarawak was initially controlled by the sultanate of Brunei before being ceded to the White Rajahs: ’Sarawak became the southern province of the sultanate of Brunei when the Majapahit empire of Java declined in the 15th century. James Brooke, an English adventurer and a former military officer of the East India Company, visited the territory in 1839 and aided the sultan in suppressing a revolt. As a reward for his services, Brooke was installed (1841) as raja of Sarawak over the sector from Tanjung Datu to the Batang (River) Samarahan; there he endeavoured to suppress piracy and headhunting.’ [2] ’At Singapore (founded 20 years earlier by Sir Stamford Raffles), Brooke learned that Pengiran Muda Hassim, chief minister of the sultanate of Brunei, was engaged in war with several rebel Iban (Sea Dayak) tribes in neighbouring Sarawak, nominally under Brunei control. The rebellion was crushed with Brooke’s aid, and as a reward for his services the title of raja of Sarawak was conferred upon him in 1841, confirmed in perpetuity by the sultan of Brunei in 1846. For the next 17 years Brooke and a handful of English assistants made expeditions into the interior of Sarawak, partially suppressed the prevalence of headhunting, and established a secure government.’ [3] ’British interests, particularly in the north and west, diminished that of the Dutch. The Brunei sultanate was an Islāmic kingdom that at one time had controlled the whole island but by the 19th century ruled only in the north and northwest. Sarawak was split away on the southwest, becoming an independent kingdom and then a British colony’ [4] There was no central organization among the Iban themselves: ’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. Regionalism, deriving from these alliances, in which Iban distinguished themselves from other allied groups, persist in modern state politics. Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves). Prestige still accrues to descendants of the first status, disdain to descendants of the third.’ [1] ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [1] It is assumed here that the reach of the Sultanate vis-á-vis the Iban population both in Sarawak and the interior was superficial at best. The sources also seem to indicate that the Iban population did not acknowledge the legitimacy of the Sultanate, being de facto self-governing.

[1]: Sutlive, Vinson H. Jr. and Beierle, John: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Sarawak-state-Malaysia

[3]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj

[4]: http://www.britannica.com/place/Borneo-island-Pacific-Ocean


Language

’The Iban language is distinct from other Bornean languages, and though it shares a limited number of words with Malay, it is not a Malay dialect.’ [1] ’Dayak, also spelled Dyak, Dutch Dajak, the non-Muslim indigenous peoples of the island of Borneo, most of whom traditionally lived along the banks of the larger rivers. Their languages all belong to the Indonesian branch of the Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) language family. Dayak is a generic term that has no precise ethnic or tribal significance. Especially in Indonesian Borneo (Kalimantan), it is applied to any of the (non-Muslim) indigenous peoples of the interior of the island (as opposed to the largely Malay population of the coastal areas). In Malaysian Borneo (Sarawak and Sabah), it is used somewhat less extensively and is often understood locally to refer specifically to Iban (formerly called Sea Dayak) and Bidayuh (formerly called Land Dayak) peoples. [...] Although lines of demarcation are often difficult to establish, the most prominent of the numerous Dayak subgroups are the Kayan (in Kalimantan usually called Bahau) and Kenyah, primarily of southeastern Sarawak and eastern Kalimantan; the Ngaju of central and southern Kalimantan; the Bidayuh of southwestern Sarawak and western Kalimantan; and the Iban of Sarawak.’ [2]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Dayak


Religion

Social Complexity Variables
Social Scale
Population of the Largest Settlement:
[25 to 500] people

People. As noted above, the Iban mostly lived in longhouse communities, [1] and a "longhouse may include as few as four families with 25 residents in a structure less than 15 meters long, or as many as 80 families with 500 residents in a house about 300 meters long." [1]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Polity Population:
[25 to 500] people

People. We have assumed that reliable data on the total size of the Iban population are unavailable for the pre-Brooke Raj period. However, as noted above, each longhouse constituted its own autonomous unit, [1] and a "longhouse may include as few as four families with 25 residents in a structure less than 15 meters long, or as many as 80 families with 500 residents in a house about 300 meters long." [1]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Hierarchical Complexity
Settlement Hierarchy:
1

levels.
(1) Hamlet or Longhouse Community
’Each longhouse, as each BILEK, is an autonomous unit. Traditionally the core of each house was a group of descendants of the founders. Houses near one another on the same river or in the same region were commonly allied, marrying among themselves, raiding together beyond their territories, and resolving disputes by peaceful means. [...] Essentially egalitarian, Iban are aware of long-standing status distinctions among themselves of RAJA BERANI (wealthy and brave), MENSI SARIBU (commoners), and ULUN (slaves).’ [1] ’Iban settlements are still predominantly in the form of longhouses. During the time when headhunting was endemic, the longhouse provided a sound strategy of defense. It continues to be a ritual unit, and all residents share responsibility for the health of the community. A longhouse is an attenuated structure of attached family units, each unit built by a separate family. The selection of different building materials and the uneven skills of Iban men who build their own houses are apparent in the appearance of family units, some with floors of split bamboo, others with planed and highly polished hardwood floors. The average width of a family unit is 3.5 meters, but the depth, that is, from front to back, varies widely. A longhouse may include as few as four families with 25 residents in a structure less than 15 meters long, or as many as 80 families with 500 residents in a house about 300 meters long. Access to a longhouse is by a notched-log ladder or stairs. At the top of the ladder is an uncovered porch (TANJU’) on which clothing, rice, and other produce may be dried. Inside the outer wall is a covered veranda (RUAI), which is the thoroughfare for traffic within the house, where women and old men sit during the daytime weaving or carving, and where families gather in the evening to recount the days events or to listen to folklore told by story-tellers. Beyond the inner wall is the family apartment (BILEK), where the family cooks and eats its meals, stores its heirlooms, and sleeps. Above the BILEK and extending halfway over the RUAI is a loft (SADAU) where the family’s rice is stored in a large bark bin and where unmarried girls sleep. The longhouse is constructed with its front to the water supply and preferably facing east. The core of each longhouse community is a group of siblings or their descendants. Through interethnic marriages, members of other societies may become part of Iban settlements to be assimilated as "Iban" in a generation or two. Until the past quarter-century, all Iban lived in or were related to longhouse settlements. Life in the longhouse was considered "normal", and those few people who lived in single-family dwellings apart from the longhouse were thought to be possessed by an evil spirit. [1] A longhouse constitutes an autonomous hamlet or village: ’The universal rule is that each long-house constitutes a single community; in other words, among the Iban the village and the long-house coincide. Moreover, traditionally each long-house community is an autonomous entity, not subject to the control of any other group. Every long-house is situated on part of a specified tract of land, and between long-houses there are always recognized boundaries, consisting in the main of unambiguous natural features such as streams or ridges. Each long-house then, is the domicile of a compact and independent community of families, and is situated on the bank of a river that is part of a specified territory over which these various families have either rights of access or ownership.’ [2]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Iban Agriculture: A Report On The Shifting Cultivation Of Hill Rice By The Iban Of Sarawak”, 8


Religious Level:
1

levels.
(1) Bards (LEMAMBANG), Augurs (TUAI BURONG), and Shamans (MANANG) associated with Longhouse Communities
’The personnel of Iban religion, the experts, are those individuals who have specific roles in relation to rice cultivation, augury, ritual celebrations and the ordering of society. They act as a channel between the world of immediate experience and its spirit antecedents and influences. The leading exponents of these roles in Iban society are four, although one or more functions may be vested in the same person. They are the tuai burong or augur, the tuai rumah or village headman, the lemambang or ritual incantation specialist, and, lastly, the manang--shaman or ‘healer’.’ [1] ’There are three religious practitioners: the bard (LEMAMBANG), the augur (TUAI BURONG), and the shaman (MANANG). Individually or in teams, bards are invited to chant at all major rituals. They are highly respected men, capable of recalling and adapting as appropriate, chants that go on for hours. The augur is employed for critical activities, such as farming or travelling. The shaman is a psychotherapist, who is consulted for unusual or persistent ailments.’ [2] ’For deliberate auguries the knowledge of an expert augur is usually sought. If the undertaking involves the efforts of the whole community, as, for example, house-building, responsibility for seeking omens generally falls on the tuai burong , or community augur. The latter is a man generally recognized for his experience and skill as an augur. In practice, beburong ordinarily precedes a great many lesser occasions, aside from the major ones mentioned, and responsibility for taking auguries normally rests with tuai burong or with the person who leads the undertaking. Because of the importance of augury, any man traditionally aspiring to leadership within the community, as a longhouse headman or senior family head, or within the wider region, as a war chief, migrational leader, or the head of a trading venture, was expected to possess a proficient knowledge of augury. The position of the tuai burong was traditionally one of considerable influence in Iban society and a knowledge of practical augury was an important requirement of leadership more generally.’ [3] Village headmen often double as augurs: ’Administration of customary law and the social code as such, the adat in its restricted and technical sense, falls to the tuai rumah (see above, pp. 25 seq.). Unlike the office of tuai burong , the tuai rumah is officially recognized by the government, although the position carries no emoluments. The functions of tuai rumah and tuai burong are distinct, but in practice it is often the same man who performs both. This was the case in approximately two-thirds of the longhouses studied in the Lemanak and Delok. In the past, while the Iban remained comparatively isolated and pindah migration was a recurrent event thought to depend for its success on spirit favour and the correct response to spirit guidance, the tuai burong was almost invariably also tuai rumah . In recent years, a more settled way of life and the expectation that the tuai rumah will act as host to visiting officials and as spokesman or longhouse representative before the authorities, have come to demand qualities which the traditional tuai burong did not need nor always possess.’ [4] Bards provide ritual incantations: ’The lemambang may perhaps be called a priest but he is not the ultimate authority on Iban religion. His concern is with intoning the ritual incantations, called pengap , which form a central part of major ceremonies ( gawai ). These occur intermittently. Although extremely important, they are not as significant in the context of day-to-day religion as are omens, dreams, and social ordinances.’ [5] ’The incantations include the full names, honorifics, and nick-names of the spirits. These are unfamiliar in detail to Iban other than the lemambang ; even the tuai burong rarely knows them fully. The lemambang , however, does not necessarily understand the precise role of the named spirits in augury or other rites, and does not, qua lemambang , participate in these. Less than being a priest, since he does not perform ritual acts, it is probably truer to say, as Scott (1956, 103) does in his dictionary, that the lemambang is the ‘bard’ of Iban society, albeit the liturgical bard or cantor.’ [6] Shamans act as healers and perform rituals associated with head-hunting, which are continued symbolically even after the cessation of infighting and head-taking: ’Various female deities are then summoned to “nurse” ( ngua ) the unhappy head, among them the wives of the legendary headhunting heroes of Panggau Libau. But even the best attempts of Kumang, Lulong, and the others are to no avail - the trophy head is inconsolable. In the end, in desperation, it is passed to the highest ranking shamans in the community - the manang bali’ . The latter are individuals who have changed their sex from male to female in the pursuit of their vocation ( bali’ lit. = “changed”), their adopted status being reflected in their female attire. The position of manang bali’ in society is a very special one in that they are able to slay malevolent demons ( antu ) in ritual combat. In this respect their role is comparable to that of Iban warriors, except that their deeds are performed in the supernatural realm against unseen foe, rather than on the ground against enemies of flesh and blood.’ [7]

[1]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 59

[2]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[3]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, xxxviiip

[4]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 61

[5]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 62

[6]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 63

[7]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 189


Military Level:
2

levels.
(2) Village Headmen and local war leaders; (1) Citizen-Soldiers;
When head-taking and piracy were practiced, war parties were staffed with male community members: ’The taking of enemy heads then, was the prescriptive act for Iban males an act through which an individual could win for himself prestige and status within the longhouse community, while at the same time enhancing his desirability as a potential suitor and husband in the eyes of the opposite sex. But, as we have indicated, headhunting also had a ritual dimension which was of the utmost significance. It is the latter aspect which chiefly concerns us here, being to do with Iban conceptions of male and female gender roles and relations of production and reproduction within Iban society.’ [1] War parties were led by local war-leaders or village headmen: ’According to Sea Dayak custom, this feast, the fifth of the nine stages of the gawai burong , should be held only by an experienced war-leader. Linggir was undoubtedly a very brave man, but he was young, and certainly far less experienced than Uyut, his father. Linggir had already made a statue of the hornbill in preparation for his festival when the older people of the house warned him that it would be presumptuous for him to hold the feast while Uyut still lived. They said that such a rash action might anger Sengalang Burong.’ [2] ’Before the gawai diri may be held, the patron of the feast must lead his warriors against some enemy. So Uyut and his men set off to raid the Kantu Dayaks of Merakai, in what is now Indonesian Borneo, in order to get some fresh heads. But before they came back, all the food which had been gathered for the feast, including tuak wine and many different delicacies, began to go bad. So a brother-in-law of Uyut named Malang (Pengarah) decided to go ahead and hold the feast anyway, without the war-leader and his men. No sooner was it over than Uyut and his party returned from a victorious expedition. They were naturally outraged. Uyut and the others expelled Pengarah from the Anyut, and he retreated down river to live in the Serudit stream.’ [2] Head-hunting persisted well into the 20th century: ’The persistence of headhunting as a living tradition, up until at least the Second World War, and even beyond (albeit in a drastically curtailed form), has meant that many of the details connected with the taking of heads are well documented. Moreover, the ritual significance of headhunting, and its attendant ceremonies, continue to play an important role in contemporary Iban society. We have already spoken of headhunting festivals ( gawai amat ) held as celebrations of male prestige and achievement, but the traditional role of the Iban warrior continues to survive elsewhere in Iban culture, most notably in connection with mortuary rites. A visit to a Saribas Iban festival for the dead ( Gawai Antu ), for instance, reveals a more than sufficient number of candidates to drink the sacred wine ( ai’ garong ) dedicated to those who have passed away. Previously, only those who had distinguished themselves as headhunters could partake in this sacred symposium with the dead; today the taking of a life - usually when on active service in the Sarawak Field Force - suffices. In this instance, and others of a similar nature, the warrior tradition of Iban society is maintained, and the ritual significance of headhunting preserved, as a major component in the Iban value system.’ [3]

[1]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 157

[2]: Sandin, Benedict 1967. “Sea Dayaks Of Borneo: Before White Rajah Rule”, 39

[3]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 169


Administrative Level:
1

levels.
(1) Village Headman (TUAI RUMAH)
Iban social organization was relatively egalitarian: ’The economic self-sufficiency of the bilik -family is reflected in other areas of Iban social life. Unlike the Kayan, Kenyah, pagan Melanau and several other Bornean peoples, the Iban are not divided into social classes. Nor is there any form of institutionalized leadership based upon hereditary succession, or some other socially divisive principle. Instead Iban society is characterized by a strongly egalitarian ethos. In this respect, each bilik -family jurally constitutes a discrete and autonomous social unit, which manages its own affairs and recognizes no higher authority than that of its own household head.’ [1] Longhouse communities are headed by informal leaders doubling as village functionaries: ’In every Iban long-house there are two offices of great importance--one secular and the other ritual. They are the positions of tuai rumah and tuai burong . In most long-houses they are held by different individuals, but it is perfectly permissible for one man to hold both offices, and in some communities this does happen. Neither position is ever held by a woman. (c.f. Footnote No. 22). When used as an adjective, the word tuai means old, or mature, but as a noun it refers to any senior and influential member of a community. Here, the emphasis is not primarily on age, but on the personal qualities of the individual concerned. Thus, a party of young men setting off on an expedition ( bejalai ), to gather jungle produce, always has its leader, or tuai , though he may be no more than in his early twenties. And in long-house communities, able, though only middle-aged men often come to exert very considerable authority and influence. In all contemporary long-houses however, there is one man who holds the title of tuai rumah , or house headman.’ [2] Only in the colonial period did rulers superimpose an administrative system of regional chiefs onto the village-based social structure of autonomous longhouse communities: ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [3]

[1]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 159

[2]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Report On The Iban Of Sarawak: Vol. 1: Iban Social Organization”, 46

[3]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Professions
Professional Soldier:
absent

Full-time specialists Even during the colonial period, wage labour was mostly temporary and practiced during the seasonal labour migrations of Iban men: ’In the present day, these bejalai migrations have involved young Iban males (aged 15 to 34 in general) in the petroleum and natural gas industries of Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and New Guinea, in the military forces of Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and Malaya, and in timber industries throughout the archipelago. Iban working in the construction industries have been of great importance in the national development efforts of Brunei. All of these activities have permitted the Iban to continue ladang cultivation at their homes, while supplementing family income through outside employment.’ [1] According to some sources, the White Rajahs employed Iban in their armed forces: ’Sir Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke (b. June 3, 1829, Berrow, Somerset, Eng.-d. May 17, 1917, Cirencester, Gloucestershire), who adopted the surname Brooke, became the second raja. The government of Charles Brooke has been described as a benevolent autocracy. Charles himself had spent much of his life among the Iban people of Sarawak, knew their language, and respected their beliefs and customs. He made extensive use of down-river Malay chiefs as administrators, and encouraged selective immigration of Chinese agriculturalists, while the dominant indigenous group, the Ibans, were employed in military service. In general, social and economic changes were limited in impact, shielding the inhabitants from both the benefits and the hardships of Western-style development.’ [2] But there was no armed corps prior to Brooke Raj rule. Even then, military service was probably of a non-permanent nature and functioned within the Iban system of seasonal labour migration. When head-taking and piracy were practiced, war parties were staffed with male community members: ’The taking of enemy heads then, was the prescriptive act for Iban males an act through which an individual could win for himself prestige and status within the longhouse community, while at the same time enhancing his desirability as a potential suitor and husband in the eyes of the opposite sex. But, as we have indicated, headhunting also had a ritual dimension which was of the utmost significance. It is the latter aspect which chiefly concerns us here, being to do with Iban conceptions of male and female gender roles and relations of production and reproduction within Iban society.’ [3] War parties were led by local war-leaders or village headmen: ’According to Sea Dayak custom, this feast, the fifth of the nine stages of the gawai burong , should be held only by an experienced war-leader. Linggir was undoubtedly a very brave man, but he was young, and certainly far less experienced than Uyut, his father. Linggir had already made a statue of the hornbill in preparation for his festival when the older people of the house warned him that it would be presumptuous for him to hold the feast while Uyut still lived. They said that such a rash action might anger Sengalang Burong.’ [4] ’Before the gawai diri may be held, the patron of the feast must lead his warriors against some enemy. So Uyut and his men set off to raid the Kantu Dayaks of Merakai, in what is now Indonesian Borneo, in order to get some fresh heads. But before they came back, all the food which had been gathered for the feast, including tuak wine and many different delicacies, began to go bad. So a brother-in-law of Uyut named Malang (Pengarah) decided to go ahead and hold the feast anyway, without the war-leader and his men. No sooner was it over than Uyut and his party returned from a victorious expedition. They were naturally outraged. Uyut and the others expelled Pengarah from the Anyut, and he retreated down river to live in the Serudit stream.’ [4] Head-hunting persisted well into the 20th century: ’The persistence of headhunting as a living tradition, up until at least the Second World War, and even beyond (albeit in a drastically curtailed form), has meant that many of the details connected with the taking of heads are well documented. Moreover, the ritual significance of headhunting, and its attendant ceremonies, continue to play an important role in contemporary Iban society. We have already spoken of headhunting festivals ( gawai amat ) held as celebrations of male prestige and achievement, but the traditional role of the Iban warrior continues to survive elsewhere in Iban culture, most notably in connection with mortuary rites. A visit to a Saribas Iban festival for the dead ( Gawai Antu ), for instance, reveals a more than sufficient number of candidates to drink the sacred wine ( ai’ garong ) dedicated to those who have passed away. Previously, only those who had distinguished themselves as headhunters could partake in this sacred symposium with the dead; today the taking of a life - usually when on active service in the Sarawak Field Force - suffices. In this instance, and others of a similar nature, the warrior tradition of Iban society is maintained, and the ritual significance of headhunting preserved, as a major component in the Iban value system.’ [5]

[1]: Austin, Robert Frederic 1978. “Iban Migration: Patterns Of Mobility And Employment In The 20Th Century”, 18

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj

[3]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 157

[4]: Sandin, Benedict 1967. “Sea Dayaks Of Borneo: Before White Rajah Rule”, 39

[5]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 169


Professional Priesthood:
absent

Full-time specialists ’There are three religious practitioners: the bard (LEMAMBANG), the augur (TUAI BURONG), and the shaman (MANANG). Individually or in teams, bards are invited to chant at all major rituals. They are highly respected men, capable of recalling and adapting as appropriate, chants that go on for hours. The augur is employed for critical activities, such as farming or travelling. The shaman is a psychotherapist, who is consulted for unusual or persistent ailments.’ [1] ’Ritual is essential to preserve the spiritual well-being of the whole longhouse, as well as its families separately, and in the middle sections of this study Mr.Sandin outlines the major ritual festivals, or gawai , performed by the longhouse and describes the adat gawai , or rules of ritual procedure, that govern the performance of each of these festivals. More generally yet, observance of adat and ritual well-being are closely interrelated, a point I shall return to presently. As the author stresses at the outset of this study, the longhouse is a religious congregation, whose members are bound together by ties of ritual interdependence. For this reason, adat is of special importance to the Iban, for not only does it preserve social harmony among longhouse members, but, in doing so, it makes possible ritual cooperation upon which their collective prosperity and well-being is thought to depend.’ [2] Augurs act as experts in the interpretation of omens, with village leaders often doubling as augurs: ’For deliberate auguries the knowledge of an expert augur is usually sought. If the undertaking involves the efforts of the whole community, as, for example, house-building, responsibility for seeking omens generally falls on the tuai burong , or community augur. The latter is a man generally recognized for his experience and skill as an augur. In practice, beburong ordinarily precedes a great many lesser occasions, aside from the major ones mentioned, and responsibility for taking auguries normally rests with tuai burong or with the person who leads the undertaking. Because of the importance of augury, any man traditionally aspiring to leadership within the community, as a longhouse headman or senior family head, or within the wider region, as a war chief, migrational leader, or the head of a trading venture, was expected to possess a proficient knowledge of augury. The position of the tuai burong was traditionally one of considerable influence in Iban society and a knowledge of practical augury was an important requirement of leadership more generally.’ [3] Shamans officiate at communal rituals: ’A month or two after the opening of the ulit mourning period, the deceased’s family will now sever the bonds of affection between the deceased and the members of his or her family remaining in this world in a final rite of farewell. To accomplish this a manang , or shaman, is invited by the bereaved family to recite the incantations of the besarara bunga ceremony, meaning, literally, “the severing of the flowers”.’ [4] Augurs are not full-time specialists, but farmers like their co-villagers: ’The office of tuai burong is not inherited, although there is no reason why a son should not inherit from his father the same propensity, skill, and good fortune which would enable him to qualify. The essential qualification is success, success in rice farming. Consequently, when the community seeks a new tuai burong to lead the community, it is customary to seek among those who are regularly successful ( ni orang ti sebak bulih dia nanya ). When a tuai burong has been provisionally selected by the community as a whole, it is expected that his appointement will be confirmed to him in a dream. Should the spirits fail to give their approval in this way, the provisional tuai burong does not qualify to take office and it becomes necessary to consider an alternative candidate.’ [5] The same is true for shamans: ’The manang , as someone capable of intercourse with the spirit world may be a person of some power in the locality where he operates. Usually his influence is confined to a limited area, though the reputation of certain exceptional manang may extend more widely. But although known for his achievements when effective, the manang is not otherwise a man of consequence or status in the community. Nor did I come across an instance of a manang who was also an augur ( tuai burong ) or headman ( tuai rumah ). On the contrary, the expression ‘to be like a manang’ ( baka manang ) is derogatory since it implies that a man grows insufficient rice for his bilek. [...] In the terms of normal Iban values, the manang is not a success. Success is measured largely in plentiful harvests, and the manang , who has frequently to be absent from his farm, is rarely a successful farmer, although his own farm-work may be supplemented by the labour of others given in lieu of payment for his services. Since a good name among men is also associated with physical prowess and skill in felling, hunting, and on expeditions, the manang is seldom a man of standing. The majority of manang suffer or have suffered from a physical handicap of which blindness or poor sight is by far the commonest, and a characteristic associated with the manang . While the manang may not enjoy the prestige of a respected position in Iban society, he is nevertheless likely to be widely known and feared by many. This is partly because the Iban acknowledge their need for a manang in certain circumstances, and partly because a human being at times so intimately associated with the spirits carries some of the attributes of spirit power or has the aura of it.’ [6]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[2]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, xxip

[3]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, xxxviiip

[4]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 38

[5]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 60

[6]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 142p


Professional Military Officer:
absent

Full-time specialists Even during the colonial period, wage labour was mostly temporary and practiced during the seasonal labour migrations of Iban men: ’In the present day, these bejalai migrations have involved young Iban males (aged 15 to 34 in general) in the petroleum and natural gas industries of Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and New Guinea, in the military forces of Sarawak, Brunei, Sabah and Malaya, and in timber industries throughout the archipelago. Iban working in the construction industries have been of great importance in the national development efforts of Brunei. All of these activities have permitted the Iban to continue ladang cultivation at their homes, while supplementing family income through outside employment.’ [1] According to some sources, the White Rajahs employed Iban in their armed forces: ’Sir Charles Anthony Johnson Brooke (b. June 3, 1829, Berrow, Somerset, Eng.-d. May 17, 1917, Cirencester, Gloucestershire), who adopted the surname Brooke, became the second raja. The government of Charles Brooke has been described as a benevolent autocracy. Charles himself had spent much of his life among the Iban people of Sarawak, knew their language, and respected their beliefs and customs. He made extensive use of down-river Malay chiefs as administrators, and encouraged selective immigration of Chinese agriculturalists, while the dominant indigenous group, the Ibans, were employed in military service. In general, social and economic changes were limited in impact, shielding the inhabitants from both the benefits and the hardships of Western-style development.’ [2] But there was no armed corps prior to Brooke Raj rule. Even then, military service was probably of a non-permanent nature and functioned within the Iban system of seasonal labour migration. When head-taking and piracy were practiced, war parties were staffed with male community members: ’The taking of enemy heads then, was the prescriptive act for Iban males an act through which an individual could win for himself prestige and status within the longhouse community, while at the same time enhancing his desirability as a potential suitor and husband in the eyes of the opposite sex. But, as we have indicated, headhunting also had a ritual dimension which was of the utmost significance. It is the latter aspect which chiefly concerns us here, being to do with Iban conceptions of male and female gender roles and relations of production and reproduction within Iban society.’ [3] War parties were led by local war-leaders or village headmen: ’According to Sea Dayak custom, this feast, the fifth of the nine stages of the gawai burong , should be held only by an experienced war-leader. Linggir was undoubtedly a very brave man, but he was young, and certainly far less experienced than Uyut, his father. Linggir had already made a statue of the hornbill in preparation for his festival when the older people of the house warned him that it would be presumptuous for him to hold the feast while Uyut still lived. They said that such a rash action might anger Sengalang Burong.’ [4] ’Before the gawai diri may be held, the patron of the feast must lead his warriors against some enemy. So Uyut and his men set off to raid the Kantu Dayaks of Merakai, in what is now Indonesian Borneo, in order to get some fresh heads. But before they came back, all the food which had been gathered for the feast, including tuak wine and many different delicacies, began to go bad. So a brother-in-law of Uyut named Malang (Pengarah) decided to go ahead and hold the feast anyway, without the war-leader and his men. No sooner was it over than Uyut and his party returned from a victorious expedition. They were naturally outraged. Uyut and the others expelled Pengarah from the Anyut, and he retreated down river to live in the Serudit stream.’ [4] Head-hunting persisted well into the 20th century: ’The persistence of headhunting as a living tradition, up until at least the Second World War, and even beyond (albeit in a drastically curtailed form), has meant that many of the details connected with the taking of heads are well documented. Moreover, the ritual significance of headhunting, and its attendant ceremonies, continue to play an important role in contemporary Iban society. We have already spoken of headhunting festivals ( gawai amat ) held as celebrations of male prestige and achievement, but the traditional role of the Iban warrior continues to survive elsewhere in Iban culture, most notably in connection with mortuary rites. A visit to a Saribas Iban festival for the dead ( Gawai Antu ), for instance, reveals a more than sufficient number of candidates to drink the sacred wine ( ai’ garong ) dedicated to those who have passed away. Previously, only those who had distinguished themselves as headhunters could partake in this sacred symposium with the dead; today the taking of a life - usually when on active service in the Sarawak Field Force - suffices. In this instance, and others of a similar nature, the warrior tradition of Iban society is maintained, and the ritual significance of headhunting preserved, as a major component in the Iban value system.’ [5]

[1]: Austin, Robert Frederic 1978. “Iban Migration: Patterns Of Mobility And Employment In The 20Th Century”, 18

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj

[3]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 157

[4]: Sandin, Benedict 1967. “Sea Dayaks Of Borneo: Before White Rajah Rule”, 39

[5]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 169


Bureaucracy Characteristics


Full Time Bureaucrat:
absent

Full-time specialists The village headmen and war-leaders were not bureaucrats, as there was little formalization on the village level. Longhouse communities are headed by informal leaders doubling as village functionaries: ’In every Iban long-house there are two offices of great importance--one secular and the other ritual. They are the positions of tuai rumah and tuai burong . In most long-houses they are held by different individuals, but it is perfectly permissible for one man to hold both offices, and in some communities this does happen. Neither position is ever held by a woman. (c.f. Footnote No. 22). When used as an adjective, the word tuai means old, or mature, but as a noun it refers to any senior and influential member of a community. Here, the emphasis is not primarily on age, but on the personal qualities of the individual concerned. Thus, a party of young men setting off on an expedition ( bejalai ), to gather jungle produce, always has its leader, or tuai , though he may be no more than in his early twenties. And in long-house communities, able, though only middle-aged men often come to exert very considerable authority and influence. In all contemporary long-houses however, there is one man who holds the title of tuai rumah , or house headman.’ [1] Only in the colonial period did rulers superimpose an administrative system of regional chiefs onto the village-based social structure of autonomous longhouse communities: ’Prior to the arrival of the British adventurer, James Brooke, there were no permanent leaders, but the affairs of each house were directed by consultations of family leaders. Men of influence included renowned warriors, bards, augurs and other specialists. Brooke, who became Rajah of Sarawak, and his nephew, Charles Johnson, created political positions -- headman (TUAI RUMAH), regional chief (PENGHULU), paramount chief (TEMENGGONG) -- to restructure Iban society for administrative control, especially for purposes of taxation and the suppression of head-hunting. The creation of permanent political positions and the establishment of political parties in the early 1960s have profoundly changed the Iban.’ [2] Iban social organization remained relatively egalitarian even then: ’The economic self-sufficiency of the bilik -family is reflected in other areas of Iban social life. Unlike the Kayan, Kenyah, pagan Melanau and several other Bornean peoples, the Iban are not divided into social classes. Nor is there any form of institutionalized leadership based upon hereditary succession, or some other socially divisive principle. Instead Iban society is characterized by a strongly egalitarian ethos. In this respect, each bilik -family jurally constitutes a discrete and autonomous social unit, which manages its own affairs and recognizes no higher authority than that of its own household head.’ [3]

[1]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Report On The Iban Of Sarawak: Vol. 1: Iban Social Organization”, 46

[2]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban

[3]: Davison, Julian, and Vinson H. Sutlive 1991. “Children Of Nising: Images Of Headhunting And Male Sexuality In Iban Ritual And Oral Literature”, 159



Law
Professional Lawyer:
absent

Professional lawyers were not present in Iban communities and trials: ’However, if a case cannot be settled informally, the tuai rumah will then call a bechara . A time is set and the two parties are notified, witnesses and members of every family in the community are informed, and, if necessary, messengers are dispatched to call people back from their farms. On the appointed evening, after the last meal of the day has been finished, the tuai rumah spreads mats on his section of the gallery ( ruai ). As people gather, the principal disputants are called forward and made to sit facing each other before the tuai rumah and senior family heads. The tuai rumah then calls upon the disputants to present their accounts, beginning first with the plaintiff. After each party has spoken, the testimony of witnesses ( saksi ) is given and discussion is open to questions. Finally, after each side has stated its case, the hearing is opened to a general discussion which continues until the tuai rumah is satisfied that the issues involved in the dispute are clear and that each party has had an opportunity to air its case fully. He will then call upon several of the elders present to express their opinions. In stating their views, the elders, who are recognized for their knowledge of adat , are expected to cite precedent and draw parallels with previous judgments made in similar cases by former headmen and regional leaders.’ [1]

[1]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 6


From the point of view of Iban adat, a longhouse community functions as a judicial unit: ’Although each of its component families is largely autonomous, the longhouse as a whole also functions as an important legal unit. In former times, every longhouse was, as we have noted, a politically sovereign community. Even now, the longhouse headman is looked upon as the chief guardian of community adat . He and other longhouse elders are expected to be well-versed in adat and to make known to their followers what the rules of adat require of them. Through informal meetings and judicial hearings they are also expected to enforce compliance with these rules and, following their stipulations, resolve disputes and redress compliants that arise within the community. In addition to this the longhouse as a whole is thought to possess a collective ritual status with regard to the spiritual world (Richards 1963:1-2).’ [1] Village headmen double as judges in local matters: ’When the Tuai Rumah learns that a serious offence, such as adultery, has been committed, he must sacrifice a chicken at once. The significance of this sacrifice is that it calls public attention to the offence and indicates that it is now under formal juridical review, and that the parties involved are no longer permitted to resort to private vengeance or self-help. He must act at once, as any delay might result in bloodshed, in which case the Tuai Rumah himself is liable to be fined. Traditionally an injured husband or wife had the right to retaliate in the case of adultery provided the adulterous couple were found in flogrante delicto and the retaliation was carried out at once.’ [2]

[1]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, xxi

[2]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 4


Formal Legal Code:
absent

Initially, Iban customary law was not formalized: ’The legal rights and duties of every Iban is defined by the adat , customary law. Among the laws affecting women are courtship, marriage, divorce, inheritance, and fines imposed in cases of infraction of the law. The fines are payed in kati , the value of which is based on brass or bronze, or in money; one kati equals one dollar.’ [1] The Brooke Raj administration introduced a formal penal code only in the colonial period: ’Sir Charles Vyner de Windt Brooke (b. Sept. 26, 1874, London-d. May 9, 1963, London) was the third and last “white raja” (1917-46). He joined the Sarawak administration in 1897. After World War I, a boom in rubber and oil drew Sarawak further into the world economy, and for that and other reasons the state embarked on gradual modernization of its institutions. Public services were developed, a Sarawak penal code modelled on that of British India was introduced in 1924, and there was some extension of educational opportunity.’ [2]

[1]: Komanyi, Margit Ilona 1973. “Real And Ideal Participation In Decision-Making Of Iban Women: A Study Of A Longhouse Community In Sarawak, East Malaysia", 90

[2]: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Brooke-Raj


The judicial disputes presided over by village headmen do not constitute courts in the conventional sense of the term: ’The responsibility of the headman is to look after the affairs of his anak-biak , or followers, and, as a matter of course, he is expected to know every aspect of customary adat . If a dispute is referred to the headman, he will attempt to settle it with the help of the Tuai Umai or Tuai Burong (the farm leader or augury expert, respectively), and other village members who are well versed in customary adat . The Tuai Burong is an expert in various kinds of augury as well as being well versed in the genealogies and history of his community.’ [1] But the Brooke administration established courts on district/polity level in the colonial period only: ’By 1900, Brooke control of Sarawak was fairly well established. The government was gradually extending its efforts into such fields as agricultural research. As it established a system of courts and law, effort was made, whenever possible, to codify and preserve local customary law ( adat ). From this time on, the mainstream of Iban migration was much less violent, despite cultural ideals, and as we will see, much slower. However, government regulations notwithstanding, the migrations did not cease.’ [2]

[1]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 3

[2]: Austin, Robert Frederi. 1978. “Iban Migration: Patterns Of Mobility And Employment In The 20Th Century”, 16


Specialized Buildings: polity owned
Market:
absent

In the colonial period, Iban farmers traded cash crops at local markets and trading centres: ’Although the price of rubber has slumped, some Iban are still tapping their trees and selling them unsmoked at twenty eight cents per kati in the up river areas, and forty to forty five cents in the bazaar. According to one informer it is not worth the trouble to work the family rubber trees, since the cost of processing the rubber comes to about the same as the price (for example, the cost for diluted acid for coagulating rubber latex is $1.50 per bottle). Most Iban have small holdings of rubber, the usual size is between 200-300 trees per family. The government assistance is by way of providing planting schemes (called RPS or Rubber Planting Schemes) to replant old trees with high yielding rubber. Under this scheme in 1971, over 300 acreas of rubber were to be replanted (ARLAD 1971). The Iban’s gardens include both ‘RPS’ and old ones. The total district rubber sheet production for 1970 was 10,000 pikuls . The rubber is bought by Chinese retailers in Engkilili and Lubuk Antu bazaars who then smoke the sheets and transport them to Kuching for shipment overseas. Iban in the district sell only unsmoked rubber (ARLAD 1970).’ [1] Trade relations were frequently channelled through non-tribal middlemen: ’Chinese and Iban economic relations characteristically have been of a patron-client nature. In early trading contacts, the Chinese were dependent upon Ibans and other indigenes for the supply of jungle produce on which their livelihood was based. With the establishment of trading centers such as the Sibu pasar, exchange tended to become fixed between the Iban client and his Chinese patron ( towkay ), rather than an Iban dealing with a number of different businessmen. The patron-client relationship has proved to be of mutual advantage to both parties. In time of need ( maya suntok ), the Iban can obtain credit or even a cash advance from his towkay. When he has marketable goods, he is assured of an outlet through the trader. When he comes to the pasar on business, because of an illness, or just to see the town ( ngalu diri’ ) he can usually find lodging over or behind his towkay’s shophouse. From the towkay’s perspective, he has an assurance of produce, as well as first choice on anything the client brings to market. Whereas the client usually has but one towkay , the patron has a number of clients, all of whom are bound to him by credit relations. These relations are built upon trust and friendship which is honored in a majority of cases.’ [2] Some Iban leaders also formally owned bazaar shops: ’By 1900 it was not uncommon for Third Division Iban leaders to own bazaar shophouses. Since the Ibans never took part in the operation of the business, which remained entirely in the hands of the Chinese, “owning” a shop in this manner was really no more than a form of loan, with rental substituted for interest and the shophouse serving as security. In the Second Division, where the Ibans did not enjoy such close proximity to an enormous hinterland rich in jungle produce, there is less evidence of cash wealth on such a scale at so early a period. But with the advent of cultivated rubber, the Saribas Ibans in particular caught up with and passed their migrated brethren in the Rejang. In the boom years during and following World War I, they too began to invest in Chinese shops, until nearly half the shops in Betong Bazaar, and more than half of those in some smaller outstations such as Spaoh on the Paku, were Iban owned. This trend, which was always restricted to the Saribas, has not continued since World War II, but in 1966 more than twenty of the sixty-six shophouses in Betong were still wholly or partially owned by Ibans.’ [3] The sources seem to indicate that this practice originated in the colonial period only, piracy and home production being the norm beforehand.

[1]: Kedit, Peter M. (Peter Mulok) 1980. “Modernization Among The Iban Of Sarawak”, 86

[2]: Sutlive, Vinson H. 1973. “From Longhouse To Pasar: Urbanization In Sarawak, East Malaysia”, 126

[3]: Pringle, Robert Maxwell 1968. “Ibans Of Sarawak Under Brooke Rule, 1841-1941”, 497



Food Storage Site:
absent

According to SCCS variable 20 ’Food Storage’ ’Individual households’, not ’Communal facilities’, ’Political agent controlled repositories’, or ’Economic agent controlled repositories’ were present. Food storage was household-based: ’Beyond the inner wall is the family apartment (BILEK), where the family cooks and eats its meals, stores its heirlooms, and sleeps. Above the BILEK and extending halfway over the RUAI is a loft (SADAU) where the family’s rice is stored in a large bark bin and where unmarried girls sleep.’ [1]

[1]: Vinson H. Sutlive, Jr. and John Beierle: eHRAF Cultural Summary for the Iban


Drinking Water Supply System:
absent

Drinking water was fetched from streams in gourds. [1]

[1]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Report On The Iban Of Sarawak: Vol. 1: Iban Social Organization”, 27


Special-purpose Sites
Mines or Quarry:
absent

Our material on warfare (see below) suggests the use of metal tools, but weapons were ’home-made’ or taken in raids rather than commercially produced.


Information / Writing System



Nonwritten Record:
present

The Iban transmitted song cycles about deities and other mythical figures: ’To the Iban mind, the deities are the messengers between the principal god of creation, Bunsu Petara , and man and are similar in power to the prophets of the proselytizing religions of Islam and Christianity. In folklore and the song cycles deities are remembered and celebrated by the Iban. Each deity taught the people the way to worship God ( Bunsu Petara ) with offerings in various festivals and smaller ceremonies [...]’ [1] Oral histories were present in the form of genealogies: ’From what has already been said it will be clear that the contents of this study have been drawn from many different types of oral sources and then organised along lines that are quite alien to any traditional Iban form. The author has gathered much simply by talking to informants, but he has relied equally upon his knowledge of various specific forms of Iban oral literature. These include tusut genealogies as well as a wide range of song and story types.’ [2]

[1]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 40

[2]: Sandin, Benedict 1967. “Sea Dayaks Of Borneo: Before White Rajah Rule”, xvi


Mnemonic Device:
present

SCCS variable 149 ’Writing and Records’ lists no mnemonic devices or nonwritten records or ’True writing, no writing’ Ritual specialists used symbols marked out on wooden boards describing past spirit journeys: ’The boards are marked with symbols representing stages, in particular persons and places, encountered or passed in the course of the pengap spirit journey. The papan turai ‘characters’ are personal to the extent that the individual selects an ideograph which will remind him or her of a particular ‘verse’ or stage in the journey through the spirit world. ‘The way people write is not the same; each one does it his own way’ ( tulis orang enda sabaka; siko ngaga ka diri ). The signs may or may not be understood by another lemambang : for example, a Melugu, Dor, lemambang was able to ‘read’ nearly half the signs on a Lemanak board, but his understanding of the characters was partly derived from his knowledge of the stages of the journey. It is not certain whether the use of ‘standard’ characters should be attributed primarily to common patterns of Iban thought and analogy or the direct influence of the lemambang who instructs the novices (thus channelling traditional ideographs) or a combination of the two. But it is certain that similar symbols are found on boards in widely separated areas and are immediately intelligible.’ [1] We have assumed that this was true before the Brooke Raj period.

[1]: Jensen, Erik 1974. “Iban And Their Religion”, 67


Information / Kinds of Written Documents








Calendar:
absent

Written calendars were only introduced later on: ’The Iban still attach great importance to their stellar lore. Tungku, a tuai rumah of the Mujong headwaters, put it in these words:“If there were no stars we Iban would be lost, not knowing when to plant; we live by the stars.”(“ Enti nadai bintang tesat ati kami Iban, enda nemu maia nugal; kami idup ari bintang. ”) It must not be thought however that there is any dogma that rituals, etc. should be held on the exact dates given. The Iban are a pre-literate people without a calendar, and the movements of the Pleiades, Orion and Sirius are taken as no more than general indications of the time when the major operations of felling and planting should be embarked upon.’ [1] ’Since most people now have western calendars, they know during which month the sowing, weeding or harvesting is to be done. Their “new year” begins after the harvest is completed, which may be some time in May or June. However, June 1st is “Dayak Day,” proclaimed by the government as the official Dayak New Year’s Day.’ [2]

[1]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Iban Agriculture: A Report On The Shifting Cultivation Of Hill Rice By The Iban Of Sarawak”, 40

[2]: Komanyi, Margit Ilona 1973. “Real And Ideal Participation In Decision-Making Of Iban Women: A Study Of A Longhouse Community In Sarawak, East Malaysia”, 15


Information / Money




Foreign Coin:
absent

According to SCCS variable 17 ’Money (Media of Exchange) and Credit’, ’No media of exchange or money’ or ’Domestically used articles as media of exchange’ or ’Tokens of conventional value as media of exchange’ or ’Foreign coinage or paper coinage’, or ’Indigenous coinage or paper currency’. The trade economy was monetized during the Brooke Raj and colonial periods only, with the associated introduction of cash crops: ‘Another factor that appears to have been favourably regarded by the Iban, as well as other indigenous groups, was the opportunities that trade offered in acquiring a reserve capital and various prestige items. Trade, which was part of the rationale for pacification, was concerned in Iban areas with jungle produce like rattan and wild rubber which were shipped down-river in return for a counter-stream of items like salt, steel, iron, brass wire and gongs, crockery ware and the highly valued sacred jars of Chinese origin. After this trade had reached some bulk in the 1870’s and until the introduction of cultivated rubber it provided around thirty per cent of the state’s total exports. Rubber, which started to be grown in considerable quantities in the first decade of this century, became the most important of the small-holder cash-crops for the indigenous peoples. To begin with it was planted by many Iban communities in both the Second and the Third Division, but around the middle or late 1920’s non-Christian communities began cutting down their rubber trees. […] Prior to rubber, another cash-crop, coffee, had been grown with some success in the Second Division, notably amongst the Saribas Iban. The overproduction that completely upset the world market in 1897 and the drastic fall in prices, however, put an abrupt end to this endeavour.’ [1] ’With the rubber boom of 1950 this balance was completely disturbed. In September, 1950 (one year after the period we have just been discussing), Chinese traders were travelling all the rivers of the Baleh region in search of Iban rubber, and the price offered at Rumah Nyala was $1.50 per kati. Accepting an average daily output per worker of 5 katis, in September, 1950, the production of rubber had become a pursuit at least three times more profitable than the production of padi. Hulled rice ( brau ) had risen in price to about $2 per gantang. Under these conditions it is difficult to understand, if one is thinking purely in terms of immediate profit and loss, why farming was not abandoned in favour of full-time rubber production. In the Saribas District of the Second Division, indeed, there was a marked tendency in this direction. At Gansurai, a Dayak long-house on the banks of the Layar River, for example, 6 of the 19 bilek families did not grow any padi during the 1950-51 season, and were relying entirely on imported rice which they were able to purchase with money obtained from the sale of rubber. This was no great difficulty. One of the bilek families of Gansurai, employed 11 Malays on a share-cropping basis, and in April, 1951, with rubber at $1.15 per kati, the monthly income of this family was about $1,400.’ [2] We have therefore assumed that most exchanges took the form of barter prior to Brooke Raj rule.

[1]: Wagner, Ulla 1972. “Colonialism And Iban Warfare”, 41

[2]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Iban Agriculture: A Report On The Shifting Cultivation Of Hill Rice By The Iban Of Sarawak”, 106


Article:
present

According to SCCS variable 17 ’Money (Media of Exchange) and Credit’, ’No media of exchange or money’ or ’Domestically used articles as media of exchange’ or ’Tokens of conventional value as media of exchange’ or ’Foreign coinage or paper coinage’, or ’Indigenous coinage or paper currency’. The trade economy was monetized during the Brooke Raj and colonial periods only, with the associated introduction of cash crops: ‘Another factor that appears to have been favourably regarded by the Iban, as well as other indigenous groups, was the opportunities that trade offered in acquiring a reserve capital and various prestige items. Trade, which was part of the rationale for pacification, was concerned in Iban areas with jungle produce like rattan and wild rubber which were shipped down-river in return for a counter-stream of items like salt, steel, iron, brass wire and gongs, crockery ware and the highly valued sacred jars of Chinese origin. After this trade had reached some bulk in the 1870’s and until the introduction of cultivated rubber it provided around thirty per cent of the state’s total exports. Rubber, which started to be grown in considerable quantities in the first decade of this century, became the most important of the small-holder cash-crops for the indigenous peoples. To begin with it was planted by many Iban communities in both the Second and the Third Division, but around the middle or late 1920’s non-Christian communities began cutting down their rubber trees. […] Prior to rubber, another cash-crop, coffee, had been grown with some success in the Second Division, notably amongst the Saribas Iban. The overproduction that completely upset the world market in 1897 and the drastic fall in prices, however, put an abrupt end to this endeavour.’ [1] But articles were used in small-scale exchanges even then: ’The Dayaks paid for these items with padi. One pelaga bead cost them a pasu of padi. At this time the Chinese did not yet want to buy resins or other jungle produce. They remained in their boats. Chinese traders would not risk building houses in the Saribas river for another two generations, until after the arrival of James Brooke.’ [2] ’What does an Iban family do when it finds itself in such a situation? If there is only a small deficit, a family may elect to part with one or more of its gongs (or some other kind of property) in exchange for padi . Brass gongs ( tawak, bebendai, etc.) are the principal form of property in which the Iban invest their savings. These gongs have the great advantage of being untouched by the Borneo climate and are virtually indestructible; further they have marked prestige value, and can be displayed and used on ceremonial occasions. In good years, when a surplus of padi has been gained, it is exchanged for gongs, which are then available in years of shortage. Each season, some families succeed in producing a surplus, while others find themselves with a deficit; and so, year by year in an area like the Baleh, scores of different families exchange gongs for padi, or padi for gongs. Jars ( tajau ), though to a much lesser extent, are used in the same way. Again, money--obtained from the marketing of jungle produce--is often used to purchase padi; and of recent years, cash crops--particularly rubber--have become increasingly important.’ [3] We have therefore assumed that most exchanges took the form of barter prior to Brooke Raj rule.

[1]: Wagner, Ulla 1972. “Colonialism And Iban Warfare”, 41

[2]: Sandin, Benedict 1967. “Sea Dayaks Of Borneo: Before White Rajah Rule”, 64

[3]: Freeman, Derek 1955. “Iban Agriculture: A Report On The Shifting Cultivation Of Hill Rice By The Iban Of Sarawak", 104


Information / Postal System


Courier:
absent

’In ancient times, when a warleader wanted to lead his people in war, he usually sent an urgent temuku tali (“string with knots”) to call together his warriors. Attached to each string was a chicken’s feather and small piece of half-burnt wood. The meaning of these articles was that the message carried by the string must be transmitted in a great hurry and quickly relayed from one longhouse to another day and night, till it reached its final destination. Feathers are said to symbolize the swiftness of flight and the half-burnt wood, the torches to be used at night in carrying the message from one longhouse to another. The message itself was transmitted verbally. Each knot in the string signified one day and had to be untied each morning by the recipients. On the day when the last knot was untied, all the warriors who had armed themselves would arrive at the warleader’s longhouse to join the war expedition.’ [1] These messages were not transmitted by professional couriers, but by regular community members. ’The other method used by ancient warleaders to summon their warriors was to send their most trusted warrior from one longhouse to another, with a sharp spear ( sangkoh ) heavily decorated with the hair of enemies. On arrival at each fighting man’s longhouse, the bearer of the spear informed his comrades-in-arms that they were requested to join the warpath on a certain day. On receiving this message, each warrior started to arm himself with weapons such as nyabor, langgai tingang, surong bila, ilang and pedang swords; terabai (shield), sumpit (blowpipe), sangkoh, bujak, perambut and berayang spears. A day or two before the war party was due to set out, all the fighters assembled at the warleader’s longhouse, sufficiently provisioned by their wives with rice and cakes. These methods of calling people to war ended in about 1900.’ [2] The same is true for invitations sent out to other longhouse communities on the occasion of festivals.

[1]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 4

[2]: Sandin, Benedict, and Clifford Sather 1980. “Iban Adat And Augury”, 5


Information / Measurement System

Warfare Variables (Military Technologies)
Fortifications
Wooden Palisade:
present

"These various expedients--palisades, traces, traps and aeolian alarms--all contribute to the defence of a farm." [1] "He demanded that in return for his help, Unggang (Gerasi) should help him to fortify his own house first. A stockade was duly erected, traces of which are still visible." [2] "At first glance this appears to correspond to a dampa , but Freeman informs us that alangkau is a farm but or shed placed in immediate conjunction to the swidden and is a much flimsier structure, and abandoned much sooner. The risk of attack would have made it quite foolhardy to have an extensive dampasystem during the last century, especially in areas where “pacification” had not yet been undertaken. A dampa , having a much smaller number of people, would then be very vulnerable and it is possible that the furthest outlying farms were much closer to the main longhouse than is the case today, so that when the alarm was sounded to warn that an imminent attack might occur, there would have been a better chance for the people to reach the main longhouse, which could be more successfully defended. Stockades and other means of defence were probably also used by many more than the famous anti-government leader Rentap when he made his stand on the summit of Sadok Mountain." [3]

[1]: Freeman 1955, 59

[2]: Sandin 1967, 85

[3]: Wagner, Ulla 1972. “Colonialism And Iban Warfare”, 85




Settlements in a Defensive Position:
present

"That portion which followed the chief orang kaya of the tribe, and whose family has for many generations produced its chief, settled at Lundu, which has now become a beautiful fortified village, and from which the gallant old chief has frequently made successful expeditions against his hereditary enemies." [1] "...in June, 1857, [Charles Brooke] launched his first major expedition against the fortified longhouse of Rentap on the summit of Mount Sadok." [2]

[1]: Low 1848, 166

[2]: Pringe 1968, 177



No references in the literature. RA.



Earth Rampart:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


No references in the literature. RA.




Military use of Metals

Steel blades are mentioned for the colonial period: "The sangkoh is a long wooden shaft with a steel spear head... The blade is of steel, and is 12 inches in length." [1] We need confirmation as to when Iban fighters started to use steel weapons.

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 52


In the colonial period, the Iban manufactured their own iron weaponry: "The Uma Bawangs are famous for their parangs , which they make out of their own iron ore." [1] "Iron being necessary in the formation of their weapons of war, they have studied, and brought to greater perfection its workmanship than others of the mechanical arts... The ‘parangs,’ or chopping-knives, and ‘pedangs,’ or swords, of which there are several denominations, spear-heads and fish spears, are the principal articles of their manufacture." [2] We have assumed that this was true prior to colonial rule as well.

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 53

[2]: Low 1848, 209


Copper:
absent

Note: Some of the equipment listed here may be ’talismanic’ rather than ’practical’ in the conventional sense of the term. Accordingly, some codes may be in need of reconsideration. In the colonial period, the Iban were in contact with copper coins, but no weaponry is mentioned: "In his quarterly report, the Resident for the Lower Rejang described the Iban’s hoarding of copper coinage." [1] We have therefore assumed that copper was absent from Iban military technology prior to Brooke Raj rule as well.

[1]: Sutlive 1973, 377


Bronze:
absent

The use of brass guns is attested for the colonial period: "...the Dyaks possess some small brass guns." [1] "On August 7, 1844, boats from the Dido and the East India Company Steamer Phlegethon stormed Sahap’s stronghold, located a few miles below the later Second Division headquarters at Simanggang. The English forces captured fifty-six brass guns and over a ton of gunpowder." [2] We have provisionally assumed that guns were absent prior to Brooke Raj rule.

[1]: Low 1848, 167

[2]: Pringle 1968, 123


Projectiles


No references in the literature. RA.


Self Bow:
absent

"...neither bows nor arrows are known in the islands." [1]

[1]: Low 1848, 211


Javelin:
present

"The slighi is a wooden lance, the point of which is hardened in the fire. It is used as a missile and is hurled at the enemy. It is usually of ironwood ( bilian ), but palmwood javelin, especially inbery is also used. They are showered upon the enemy at the commencement of an engagement before the parties are close enough to use the spear, which never, or rarely leaves the hand." [1]

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 52


Handheld Firearm:
absent

Guns were introduced in the colonial period and came into widespread use only then: "To-day, 12-bore shot-guns are coming into general use (in January, 1950, 14 of the 25 bilek families of Rumah Nyala possessed shot-guns), and these greatly aid the farmer in his task." [1] "The introduction of shotguns resulted in their purchase by thousands of Iban, so that it now is exceptional for a family not to have at least one shotgun." [2]

[1]: Freeman 1955, 59

[2]: Sutlive 1973, 377


Gunpowder Siege Artillery:
absent

In the colonial period, war leaders occasionally captured cannons from European troops: "Dana specialized in raids along the coast toward Pontianak, and was probably the leader of the 1834 attack on “Slaku” described by Earl. It was on one of his voyages into Dutch territory that he captured the one-trunnioned iron cannon which became famous during the Sadok campaign of 1861." [1] "This time the Sarawak force dragged a small mortar up the mountain with them, but despite the high expectations of the friendly Ibans this weapon had little effect on Rentap’s well protected position. “Bring all your fire guns from Europe,” the rebels jeered, “we are not afraid of you.” They added injury to insult by replying effectively with a cannon of their own, probably one captured in 1853 at the time of Alan Lee’s death." [2] "It was on one of these expeditions that he captured the famous one-trunnioned iron cannon, ‘Bujang Timpang Berang’ which can still be seen in the old fort at Betong, Saribas." [3] "On August 7, 1844, boats from the Dido and the East India Company Steamer Phlegethon stormed Sahap’s stronghold, located a few miles below the later Second Division headquarters at Simanggang. The English forces captured fifty-six brass guns and over a ton of gunpowder." [4] Cannons were absent prior to colonial incursions.

[1]: Pringle 1968, 84

[2]: Pringle 1968, 179

[3]: Sandin 1967, 76

[4]: Pringle 1968, 123


Crossbow:
absent

"...neither bows nor arrows are known in the islands." [1]

[1]: Low 1848, 211


Composite Bow:
absent

"...neither bows nor arrows are known in the islands." [1]

[1]: Low 1848, 211


New World weapon.


Handheld weapons
War Club:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


"On their heads they wear plaited war bonnets adorned with hornbill feathers, and at their sides they carry swords ornamented with the hair of slain enemies." [1]

[1]: Davison & Sutlive 1991, 188


"The sangkoh is a long wooden shaft with a steel spear head... The spear is used at close quarters to thrust with, and is held in the right hand--the shield occupying the left." [1]

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 52


Polearm:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


Dagger:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


Battle Axe:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


Animals used in warfare



"Men not possessing guns patrol their farms once or more during the night armed with a long-handled, hunting spear (sangkoh) and a bush-knife (duku), and often accompanied by dogs." [1]

[1]: Freeman 1955, 59



Armor
Wood Bark Etc:
present

"The war costume consists of a basket-work hat called a katapu and a skin-jacket called a gagong... These form but poor defensive armour for the body; reliance is placed upon the shield." [1]

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 53


Shield:
present

"For defensive purposes the Dyak has a large wooden shield about three feet long, which, with its handle, is hollowed out of a single block of wood." [1]

[1]: Gomes 1911, 78




Limb Protection:
unknown

No references in the literature. RA.


Leather Cloth:
present

"They have previously dressed themselves as for the war-path, with fine jackets of woven cloth and coats of bearskin, or leopard cat... Once the cotton has been harvested, and the pods dried in the sun (this is allegorical of the smoking of trophy heads), it is spun into thread ( ubong ). This is then woven into war-jackets, or baju." [1]

[1]: Davison & Sutlive 1991, 188-190



Helmet:
present

"The katapu or helmet in general use is a round skull cap of wicker work, with a rush lining and occasionally a skin covering, surmounted by either a metal plate or two of fanciful pattern or the scaly armour of the tenggolieng." [1]

[1]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 53



Breastplate:
absent

The war-jacket does not seem to constitute a breastplate: "The gagong or war-jacket is a skin with a hole and slit in the neck of it to admit of the insertion of the warrior’s head, the animal’s face falling on his stomach, and its back hanging over his shoulders and reaching below the waist." [1] "...the woven jacket and waistband was an important part of the Iban warrior’s ritual paraphernalia, safeguarding him from attack whilst on the war-path." [2]

[1]: Howell 1908, 92

[2]: Davison & Sutlive 1991, 208


Naval technology

Small Vessels Canoes Etc:
present

Iban war-boasts could hold a sizable force: "Shortly after he had this dream, Unggang built a large war boat, whose interior ( ruang ) was big enough for him to spread a large idas mat. He used this boat to lead his warriors to guard the mouth of the Saribas river to prevent the Illanuns and other pirates from entering, and to attack other strangers who came to sail in that part of the South China sea. After he had done this successfully, he led his warriors further overseas to look for trading ships... He did not like to be accompanied by other Iban boats, as his own could easily carry over 100 warriors. At this time no one dared to attack any boat commanded by Unggang." [1] Low seems to refer to the same model, even though the vessel described appears smaller: "It is a grand sight to see these canoes filled with dusky warriors whose naked arms and bodies are just visible beneath the awning, pulling away with a uniform and vigorous stroke... The canoes hold each from twenty to seventy men." [2] We have chosen to identify war boats as small vessels rather than military ships.

[1]: Sandin 1967, 64

[2]: Low & Ling Roth 1893, 56




Human Sacrifice Data
Human Sacrifice is the deliberate and ritualized killing of a person to please or placate supernatural entities (including gods, spirits, and ancestors) or gain other supernatural benefits.
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