Trance Ritual in the Martial Arts of the Minangkabau in West Sumatra: The Pauleh Tinggi Ceremony in Sicincin

Dr. Kirstin Pauka
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This presentation will address one specific such ritual, the Pauleh Tinggi Ceremony. This elaborate 3-day 3-night event brings together martial arts practitioners of the Ulu Ambek style from the twelve suku (clans) of the region in an auspicious ceremonial competition. The purpose of the ritual is to reaffirm the peaceful relationships between the clans and bring to an outward expression the achieved harmony and consensus amongst the clan elders. The ceremony can only be held after all disputes in the community have been settled peacefully. A clan elder determines the proper date for such a ritual though divination and prayer. The actual event consists of formal arrival and greeting dances between the host clan and all visiting clans. They are then all seated according to their rank inside a special roofed stage area, especially constructed for just this event. Over a period of 48 hours the host clan and the guest clan members then perform for and with each other a series of martial arts displays, chanting, and dance performances, some of them while in a state of trance. He event concludes with gift giving and prayers. A Pauleh Tinggi ceremony is only held every 10 to 25 years, smaller rituals called Pauleh Rendah are held more frequently, but are performed on a smaller scale.

This presentation will discuss the significance of this all-male event within the larger Minangkabau matrilineal and Islamic society, in comparison to other martial arts rituals as practiced in the region.

Keywords: Ritual, Martial Arts, Indonesia, Religion
Stream: Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication, Ethnicity, Difference, Identity, Religion, Spirituality
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Kirstin Pauka

Associate Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawaii
Honolulu, HAWAII, USA

Ref: H06P0523