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Plumes and brushes as attractors

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Chapter Summary

The single larger region in Indonesia where roof finials in the form of plumes and related items are known to have been widely distributed is the eastern part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. The examples discussed in this chapter are all from this area, namely from Flores, Sumba, Adonara, Lembata, Alor, and Timor. On a cult house in the eastern part of the Nage region Gregory Forth noticed a different type of lado which was called wea doa and consisted of a single bundle of thatch that had been soaked in buffalo blood. The word, lado, means both 'king post' and 'plume', and since the lado-plumes sometimes rose vertically from positions approximately above the king posts, it is likely that the outer plumes represented, symbolically, prolongations of the inner king posts. This also supports the idea that the plumes were once regarded as spirit attractors leading into the house.

Keywords: Gregory Forth; lado-plumes; Lesser Sunda Islands; roof finials; spirit attractors; wea doa

10.1163/9789004274075_014
/content/books/b9789004274075s014
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