I shall now take a view of those arts and manufactures which the Sumatrans are skilled in, and which are not merely domestic but contribute rather to the conveniences, and in some instances to the luxuries, than to the necessaries of life. I must remind the reader that my observations on this subject are mostly drawn from the Rejangs, or those people of the island who are upon their level of improvement. We meet with accounts in old writers of great foundries of cannon in the dominion of Achin, and it is certain that firearms as well as krises are at this day manufactured in the country of Menangkabau; but my present description does not go to these superior exertions of art, which certainly do not appear among those people of the island whose manners, more immediately, I am attempting to delineate.

FILIGREE sunting

What follows, however, would seem an exception to this limitation; there being no manufacture in that part of the world, and perhaps I might be justified in saying, in any part of the world, that has been more admired and celebrated than the fine gold and silver filigree of Sumatra. This indeed is, strictly speaking, the work of the Malayan inhabitants; but as it is in universal use and wear throughout the country, and as the goldsmiths are settled everywhere along the coast, I cannot be guilty of much irregularity in describing here the process of their art.


There is no circumstance that renders the filigree a matter of greater curiosity than the coarseness of the tools employed in the workmanship, and which, in the hands of a European, would not be thought sufficiently perfect for the most ordinary purposes. They are rudely and inartificially formed by the goldsmith (pandei) from any old iron he can procure. When you engage one of them to execute a piece of work his first request is usually for a piece of iron hoop to make his wire-drawing instrument; an old hammer head, stuck in a block, serves for an anvil; and I have seen a pair of compasses composed of two old nails tied together at one end. The gold is melted in a piece of a priuk or earthen rice-pot, or sometimes in a crucible of their own making, of common clay. In general they use no bellows but blow the fire with their mouths through a joint of bamboo, and if the quantity of metal to be melted is considerable three or four persons sit round their furnace, which is an old broken kwali or iron pot, and blow together. At Padang alone, where the manufacture is more considerable, they have adopted the Chinese bellows. Their method of drawing the wire differs but little from that used by European workmen. When drawn to a sufficient fineness they flatten it by beating it on their anvil; and when flattened they give it a twist like that in the whalebone handle of a punch-ladle, by rubbing it on a block of wood with a flat stick. After twisting they again beat it on the anvil, and by these means it becomes flat wire with indented edges. With a pair of nippers they fold down the end of the wire, and thus form a leaf or element of a flower in their work, which is cut off. The end is again folded and cut off till they have got a sufficient number of leaves, which are all laid on singly. Patterns of the flowers or foliage, in which there is not very much variety, are prepared on paper, of the size of the gold plate on which the filigree is to be laid. According to this they begin to dispose on the plate the larger compartments of the foliage, for which they use plain flat wire of a larger size, and fill them up with the leaves before mentioned. To fix their work they employ a glutinous substance made of the small red pea with a black spot before mentioned, ground to a pulp on a rough stone. This pulp they place on a young coconut about the size of a walnut, the top and bottom being cut off. I at first imagined that caprice alone might have directed them to the use of the coconut for this purpose; but I have since reflected on the probability of the juice of the young fruit being necessary to keep the pulp moist, which would otherwise speedily become dry and unfit for the work. After the leaves have been all placed in order and stuck on, bit by bit, a solder is prepared of gold filings and borax, moistened with water, which they strew or daub over the plate with a feather, and then putting it in the fire for a short time the whole becomes united. This kind of work on a gold plate they call karrang papan: when the work is open, they call it karrang trus. In executing the latter the foliage is laid out on a card, or soft kind of wood covered with paper, and stuck on, as before described, with the paste of the red seed; and the work, when finished, being strewed over with their solder, is put into the fire, when, the card or soft wood burning away, the gold remains connected. The greatest skill and attention is required in this operation as the work is often made to run by remaining too long or in too hot a fire. If the piece be large they solder it at several times. When the work is finished they give it that fine high colour they so much admire by an operation which they term sapoh. This consists in mixing nitre, common salt, and alum, reduced to powder and moistened, laying the composition on the filigree and keeping it over a moderate fire until it dissolves and becomes yellow. In this situation the piece is kept for a longer or shorter time according to the intensity of colour they wish the gold to receive. It is then thrown into water and cleansed. In the manufacture of baju buttons they first make the lower part flat, and, having a mould formed of a piece of buffalo's horn, indented to several sizes, each like one half of a bullet mould, they lay their work over one of these holes, and with a horn punch they press it into the form of the button. After this they complete the upper part. The manner of making the little balls with which their works are sometimes ornamented is as follows. They take a piece of charcoal, and, having cut it flat and smooth, they make in it a small hole, which they fill with gold dust, and this melted in the fire becomes a little ball. They are very inexpert at finishing and polishing the plain parts, hinges, screws, and the like, being in this as much excelled by the European artists as these fall short of them in the fineness and minuteness of the foliage. The Chinese also make filigree, mostly of silver, which looks elegant, but wants likewise the extraordinary delicacy of the Malayan work. The price of the workmanship depends upon the difficulty or novelty of the pattern. In some articles of usual demand it does not exceed one-third of the value of the gold; but, in matters of fancy, it is generally equal to it. The manufacture is not now (1780) held in very high estimation in England, where costliness is not so much the object of luxury as variety; but, in the revolution of taste, it may probably be again sought after and admired as fashionable.


Meskipun sedikit keterampilan yang ditunjukkan di kalangan penduduk daerah tersebut dalam pengolahan besi. Namun, mereka membuat paku meskipun tak sering dipakai oleh mereka dalam pembangunan, tusuk kayu umumnya dijadikan penggantinya; selain berbagai jenis alat, seperti prang atau bill, banchi, rembe, billiong, dan papatil, yang merupakan jenis senjata berbeda, kapak, dan pungkur atau cangkul. Api mereka dibuat dengan arang; batubara yang jarang dihasilkan di daerah tersebut, kecuali oleh orang-orang Eropa; dan tidak oleh mereka pada tahun-tahun akhir, atas alasan pembakarannya terlalu cepat: sehingga laporan yang dibuat pada 1719 menyatakan bahwa bahan tersebut lebih panas ketimbang batubara dari Inggris. Rangkaian ini (yang dikatakan lebih sebagai batu besar di atas tanah) membutuhkan perjalanan empat hari di Sungai Bencoolen, dari sana sejumlah bahan dicuci dengan aliran air. Batubara berkualitas jarang ditemukan di dekat permukaan. Pemanas mereka kemudian dibuat: dua bambu, berdiameter sekitar empat inchi dan panjang lima kaki, di dirikan di dekat api, dinyalakan di ujung atas dan dimatikan di bagian bawah. Sekitar satu atau dua inchi dari bawah, singgungan kecil bambu disinggungkan satu sama lain, yang dijadikan sebagai sulut, menajamkan , dan menyambungkan api. Untuk menghasilkan arus udara, setumpuk bulu atau bahan lebih lainnya, ditempatkan pada waktu yang lama, bekerja naik turun dalam tabung, seperti piston pipia. Saat menekan turun, alat tersebut menghembuskan udara melalui tabung horizontal kecil, dan, saat naik dan turun berulang kali, arus berkelanjutan atau hembusan timbul; untuk keperluan tersebut, seorang pemuda biasanya ditempatkan di kursi tinggi atau berdiri. Aku tak dapat membedakannya dari pernyataan soal deskripsi pemanas yang dipakai di Madagaskar, seperti yang diberikan oleh Sonnerat, Volume 2 laman 60, sehingga secara keseluruhan selaras dengan pernyataan bahwa hal ini nyaris merupakan peniruan pihak lainnya.


Pengerjaan yang mereka buat dalam pekerjaan tukang kayu telah ada, dimana bangunan-bangunan tersebut dideskripsikan.

TOOLS sunting

They are ignorant of the use of the saw, excepting where we have introduced it among them. Trees are felled by chopping at the stems, and in procuring boards they are confined to those the direction of whose grain or other qualities admit of their being easily split asunder. In this respect the species called maranti and marakuli have the preference. The tree, being stripped of its branches and its bark, is cut to the length required, and by the help of wedges split into boards. These being of irregular thickness are usually dubbed upon the spot. The tool used for this purpose is the rembe, a kind of adze. Most of their smaller work, and particularly on the bamboo, is performed with the papatil, which resembles in shape as much as in name the patupatu of the New Zealanders, but has the vast superiority of being made of iron. The blade, which is fastened to the handle with a nice and curious kind of rattan-work, is so contrived as to turn in it, and by that means can be employed either as an adze or small hatchet. Their houses are generally built with the assistance of this simple instrument alone. The billiong is no other than a large papatil, with a handle of two or three feet in length, turning, like that, in its socket.

SEMEN sunting

Semen utama yang mereka pakai untuk pekerjaan kecil adalah adonan susu kerbau, yang disebut prakat. Hal tersebut nampak pada pembuatan mentega (hanya untuk pemakaian orang-orang Eropa; kata-kata yang dipakai oleh orang-orang Melayu, untuk mentega dan keju, monteiga dan queijo, merupakan istilah Portugis murni) tidak seperti kami, dengan cara memutar, namun dengan melibatkan jenis-jenis susu sampai mentega itu sendiri adalah hal yang paling umum. Ini kemudian diambil dengan sendok, diaduk seperti halnya pada kapal datar, dan dicuci dengan dua atau tiga air. Susu asam kental yang meninggalkan di bagian bawah, ketika mentega atau krim dikeluarkan, adalah adonan yang sudah jadi. Adonan tersebut harus disejukkan, untuk membentuk kue, dan dibiarkan kering, ketika adonan tersebut berkembang nyaris sekeras batu api. Untuk pemakaian, kamu harus mengeruk beberapa kali, mencampurnya dengan kapur tohor, dan dilembabkan dengan susu. Aku pikir ini bukanlah semen yang kuat di dunia, dan menemukan bahwa ini lebih baik ketimbang lem, terutama pada cuaca panas dan lembab; menyediakan juga efek dalam pemakaian perangkat Tiongkok. Sari buah kacang kacang hijau (abrus) nampaknya dipakai di daerah tersebut sebagai semen.

TINTA sunting

Tinta dibuat dengan mencampur lampu hitam dengan putih telur. Untuk membuat lampu jitam, mereka membakar kampu pada kuali tanah, bagian bawahnya dikeruk, dalam rangka membuat jelaga tersebut menyesuaikannya.


Painting and drawing they are quite strangers to. In carving, both in wood and ivory, they are curious and fanciful, but their designs are always grotesque and out of nature. The handles of the krises are the most common subjects of their ingenuity in this art, which usually exhibit the head and beak of a bird, with the folded arms of a human creature, not unlike the representation of one of the Egyptian deities. In cane and basketwork they are particularly neat and expert; as well as in mats, of which some kinds are much prized for their extreme fineness and ornamental borders.

LOOMS sunting

Silk and cotton cloths, of varied colours, manufactured by themselves, are worn by the natives in all parts of the country; especially by the women. Some of their work is very fine, and the patterns prettily fancied. Their loom or apparatus for weaving (tunun) is extremely defective, and renders their progress tedious. One end of the warp being made fast to a frame, the whole is kept tight, and the web stretched out by means of a species of yoke, which is fastened behind the body, when the person weaving sits down. Every second of the longitudinal threads, or warp, passes separately through a set of reeds, like the teeth of a comb, and the alternate ones through another set. These cross each other, up and down, to admit the woof, not from the extremities, as in our looms, nor effected by the feet, but by turning edgeways two flat sticks which pass between them. The shuttle (turak) is a hollow reed about sixteen inches long, generally ornamented on the outside, and closed at one end, having in it a small bit of stick, on which is rolled the woof or shoot. The silk cloths have usually a gold head. They use sometimes another kind of loom, still more simple than this, being no more than a frame in which the warp is fixed, and the woof darned with a long small-pointed shuttle. For spinning the cotton they make use of a machine very like ours. The women are expert at embroidery, the gold and silver thread for which is procured from China, as well as their needles. For common work their thread is the pulas before mentioned, or else filaments of the pisang (musa).


Different kinds of earthenware, I have elsewhere observed, are manufactured in the island.

PERFUMES sunting

They have a practice of perfuming their hair with oil of benzoin, which they distil themselves from the gum by a process doubtless of their own invention. In procuring it a priuk, or earthen rice-pot, covered close, is used for a retort. A small bamboo is inserted in the side of the vessel, and well luted with clay and ashes, from which the oil drops as it comes over. Along with the benzoin they put into the retort a mixture of sugar-cane and other articles that contribute little or nothing to the quantity or quality of the distillation; but no liquid is added. This oil is valued among them at a high price, and can only be used by the superior rank of people.

OIL sunting

The oil in general use is that of the coconut, which is procured in the following manner. The fleshy part being scraped out of the nut, which for this use must be old, is exposed for some time to the heat of the sun. It is then put into a mat bag and placed in the press (kampahan) between two sloping timbers, which are fixed together in a socket in the lower part of the frame, and forced towards each other by wedges in a groove at top, compressing by this means the pulp of the nut, which yields an oil that falls into a trough made for its reception below. In the farther parts of the country this oil also, owing to the scarcity of coconuts, is dear; and not so much used for burning as that from other vegetables, and the dammar or rosin, which is always at hand.

TORCHES sunting

When travelling at night they make use of torches or links, called suluh, the common sort of which are nothing more than dried bamboos of a convenient length, beaten at the joints till split in every part, without the addition of any resinous or other inflammable substance. A superior kind is made by filling with dammar a young bamboo, about a cubit long, well dried, and having the outer skin taken off.

These torches are carried with a view, chiefly, to frighten away the tigers, which are alarmed at the appearance of fire; and for the same reason it is common to make a blaze with wood in different parts round their villages. The tigers prove to the inhabitants, both in their journeys and even their domestic occupations, most fatal and destructive enemies. The number of people annually slain by these rapacious tyrants of the woods is almost incredible. I have known instances of whole villages being depopulated by them. Yet, from a superstitious prejudice, it is with difficulty they are prevailed upon, by a large reward which the India Company offers, to use methods of destroying them till they have sustained some particular injury in their own family or kindred, and their ideas of fatalism contribute to render them insensible to the risk.


Their traps, of which they can make variety, are very ingeniously contrived. Sometimes they are in the nature of strong cages, with falling doors, into which the beast is enticed by a goat or dog enclosed as a bait; sometimes they manage that a large timber shall fall, in a groove, across his back; he is noosed about the loins with strong rattans, or he is led to ascend a plank, nearly balanced, which, turning when he is past the centre, lets him fall upon sharp stakes prepared below. Instances have occurred of a tiger being caught by one of the former modes, which had many marks in his body of the partial success of this last expedient. The escapes, at times, made from them by the natives are surprising, but these accounts in general carry too romantic an air to admit of being repeated as facts. The size and strength of the species which prevails on this island are prodigious. They are said to break with a stroke of their forepaw the leg of a horse or a buffalo; and the largest prey they kill is without difficulty dragged by them into the woods. This they usually perform on the second night, being supposed, on the first, to gratify themselves with sucking the blood only. Time is by this delay afforded to prepare for their destruction; and to the methods already enumerated, beside shooting them, I should add that of placing a vessel of water, strongly impregnated with arsenic, near the carcase, which is fastened to a tree to prevent its being carried off: The tiger having satiated himself with the flesh, is prompted to assuage his thirst with the tempting liquor at hand, and perishes in the indulgence. Their chief subsistence is most probably the unfortunate monkeys with which the woods abound. They are described as alluring them to their fate, by a fascinating power, similar to what has been supposed of the snake, and I am not incredulous enough to treat the idea with contempt, having myself observed that when an alligator, in a river, comes under an overhanging bough of a tree, the monkeys, in a state of alarm and distraction, crowd to the extremity, and, chattering and trembling, approach nearer and nearer to the amphibious monster that waits to devour them as they drop, which their fright and number renders almost unavoidable. These alligators likewise occasion the loss of many inhabitants, frequently destroying the people as they bathe in the river, according to their regular custom, and which the perpetual evidence of the risk attending it cannot deter them from. A superstitious idea of their sanctity also (or, perhaps, of consanguinity, as related in the journal of the Endeavour's voyage) preserves these destructive animals from molestation, although, with a hook of sufficient strength, they may be taken without much difficulty. A musket-ball appears to have no effect upon their impenetrable hides.

FISHING sunting

Besides the common methods of taking fish, of which the seas that wash the coasts of Sumatra afford an extraordinary variety and abundance, the natives employ a mode, unpractised, I apprehend, in any part of Europe. They steep the root of a certain climbing plant, called tuba, of strong narcotic qualities, in the water where the fish are observed, which produces such an effect that they become intoxicated and to appearance dead, float on the surface of the water, and are taken with the hand. This is generally made use of in the basins of water formed by the ledges of coral rock which, having no outlet, are left full when the tide has ebbed.* In the manufacture and employment of the casting-net they are particularly expert, and scarcely a family near the sea-coast is without one. To supply this demand great quantities of the pulas twine are brought down from the hill-country to be there worked up; and in this article we have an opportunity of observing the effect of that conformation which renders the handiwork of orientals (unassisted by machinery) so much more delicate than that of the western people. Mr. Crisp possessed a net of silk, made in the country behind Padang, the meshes of which were no wider than a small fingernail, that opened sixteen feet in diameter. With such they are said to catch small fish in the extensive lake situated on the borders of Menangkabau.

(*Footnote. In Captain Cook's second voyage is a plate representing a plant used for the same purpose at Otaheite, which is the exact delineation of one whose appearance I was well acquainted with in Sumatra, and which abounds in many parts of the sea-beach, but which is a different plant from the tuba-akar, but may be another kind, named tuba-biji. In South America also, we are informed, the inhabitants procure fish after this extraordinary manner, employing three different kinds of plants; but whether any of them be the same with that of Otaheite or Sumatra I am ignorant. I have lately been informed that this practice is not unknown in England, but has been prohibited. It is termed foxing: the drug made use of was the Coculus indicus.)


Burung-burung, terutama cheruling dan puyu ditangpa dengan senar atau perangkap yang dipasang di rerumputan. Perangkap tersebut disebut iju, yang mirip dengan rambut kuda, panjangnya beragam, dan dipasangkan dalam cara semacam ini untuk menjebak kaki mereka; ketika burung-burung tersebut tertancap senar. Di beberapa belahan daerah tersebut, mereka memakai sarang jebakan. Aku tak pernah melihat orang Sumatra menembaki burung, meskipun kebanyakan dari mereka, serta orang-orang yang lebih timur, melakukannya; namun cara melepaskan jarum jam, yang merupakan potongan-potongan yang biasa dibuat oleh mereka, menghalangi kemungkinan menembak ketika terbang.


Gunpowder is manufactured in various parts of the island, but less in the southern provinces than amongst the people of Menangkabau, the Battas, and Achinese, whose frequent wars demand large supplies. It appears however, by an agreement upon record, formed in 1728, that the inhabitants of Anak-sungei were restricted from the manufacture, which they are stated to have carried to a considerable extent. It is made, as with us, of proportions of charcoal, sulphur, and nitre, but the composition is very imperfectly granulated, being often hastily prepared in small quantities for immediate use. The last article, though found in the greatest quantity in the saltpetre-caves before spoken of, is most commonly procured from goat's dung, which is always to be had in plenty.

GULA sunting

Gula (seperti yang diamati) umum dipakai untuk pemakaian domestik dari sari buah kelapa, direbus sampai terbentuk demikian, namun secara keseluruhan mengkristal, menjadi lebih kecil ketimbang sirup kental. Ini disebarkan pada dedaunan untuk dikeringkan, dijadikan kue, dan setelah itu dibungkus dengan bungkusan sayur yang disebut upih, yang diambil dari lembaran cabang pohon pinang yang dipakai dalam pengukusan. Dalam keadaan ini, olahan tersebut disebut jaggri, dan, meskipun biasanya dipakai sebagai gula, olahan tersebut dicampur dengan chunam untuk membuat semen bangunan, dan memplester dinding yang, di pantai Coromandel, seripa dengan marmer Paria dalam hal warna putih dan alat poles. Namun di sebagian besar pulau, gula juga terbuat dari tebu. Alat giling pabrik yang dipakai untuk keperluan ini dikerjakan lewat ulir tanpa akhir alih-alih roda gigi, dan ditangani dengan tangan lewat alat-alat pengolahan batang melalui salah satu penggilingan yang lebih tinggi ketimbang yang lainnya. Sebagai bahan dagang di kalangan penduduk asli yang tak asing, mereka memiliki seni arak distilasi, yang berbahan dasar molase, bersama dengan sari anau atau buah kelapa dalam keadaan fermentasi. Namun, keduanya diolah oleh orang-orang Erop.*

(*Catatan kaki. Banyak upaya yang dibuat oleh Inggris untuk menyempurnakan pengolahan gula dan arak dari tebu; namun hasilnya, terutama di kalangan budak, seringkali mengalami hambatan. Dalam beberapa tahun (sekitar 1777), penanaman dan pengerjaan dilakukan di bawah naungan Tuan Henry Botham, hal ini nampaknya terwujud pada hal yang dilakukan oleh pekerja Tionghoa yang bekerja di lahan dan mengijinkan mereka untuk menjadikannya bahan produksi untuk pekerjaan mereka. Pengerjaan tersebut dilakukan ketika perang meraih kepastiannya; tetapi jalannya ditunjukkan, dan mungkin layak untuk dikejar. Jumlah uang yang didapatkan Batavia dari arak dan gula melimpah.)

GARAM sunting

Seperti kebanyakan daerah lainnya, garam adalah bahan konsumsi umum disini. Garam ditawarkan untuk banyak disuplai oleh kargo-kargo yang diimpor, selain juga dipakai oleh diri mereka sendiri. Metode tersebut merupakan hal umum. Mereka menyalakan api di dekat pantai, dan secara bertahap menuangkannya ke air laut. Ketika ini berkelanjutan untuk waktu tertentu, air menguap, dan garam timbul di antara abunya, garam tersebut dikumpulkan dalam keranjang-keranjang, atau dalam corong-corong yang terbuat dari kulit pohon atau dedaunan, dan kembali menuangkan air laut ke garam sampai partikel-partikel garam tercerai berai, dan memasukkan air tersebut ke dalam wadah yang ditempatkan di bawah untuk meraihnya. Air tersebut, yang kini sangat meresap, direbus sampai garam timbul di bagian bawah dan sisi samping wadah. Dalam pembakaran, wadah persegi berbahan kayu bakar dipakai oleh orang terampil untuk mengumpulkan lima galon garam. Hal ini menimbulkan perpaduan garam dari kayu yang berpecahan, dan takl dapat dibawa menjauh dari daerah tersebut. Butiran paling kasar yang paling disukai.


The art of medicine among the Sumatrans consists almost entirely in the application of simples, in the virtues of which they are well skilled. Every old man and woman is a physician, and their rewards depend upon their success; but they generally procure a small sum in advance under the pretext of purchasing charms.* The mode of practice is either by administering the juices of certain trees and herbs inwardly, or by applying outwardly a poultice of leaves chopped small upon the breast or part affected, renewing it as soon as it becomes dry. For internal pains they rub oil on a large leaf of a stimulant quality, and, heating it before the fire, clap it on the body of the patient as a blister, which produces very powerful effects. Bleeding they never use, but the people of the neighbouring island of Nias are famous for their skill in cupping, which they practise in a manner peculiar to themselves.

(*Footnote. Charms are there hung about the necks of children, as in Europe, and also worn by persons whose situations expose them to risk. They are long narrow scrolls of paper, filled with incoherent scraps of verse, which are separated from each other by a variety of fanciful drawings. A charm against an ague I once accidentally met with, which from circumstances I conclude to be a translation of such as are employed by the Portuguese Christians in India. Though not properly belonging to my subject, I present it to the reader. "(Sign of the cross). When Christ saw the cross he trembled and shaked; and they said unto him hast thou an ague? and he said unto them, I have neither ague nor fever; and whosoever bears these words, either in writing or in mind, shall never be troubled with ague or fever. So help thy servants, O Lord, who put their trust in thee!" From the many folds that appear in the original I have reason to apprehend that it had been worn, and by some Englishmen, whom frequent sickness and the fond love of life had rendered weak and superstitious enough to try the effects of this barbarous and ridiculous quackery.)

DEMAM sunting

jika demam, mereka memberikan pengobatan dengan obat lakun, dan memandikan pasien, pada dua atau tiga pagi, di air hangat. Jika ini tak efektif, mereka menuangkan sejumlah air dingin, saat memburuk, yang dicampur dengan daun sedingin (Cotyledon laciniata) yang, dari penindakan mendadak tersebut, menyebabkan banyak keringat keluar. Luka dan bengkak pada lengan nampaknya diobati dengan keringat; namun untuk keperluan ini, mereka menutupinya dengan kain dan didudukkan di sinar matahari pada siang hari, atau, jika operasi dilakukan dalam pintu, lampu dan terkadang sepanci ramuan rebus, ditutup untuk menyelimutinya.

LEPROSY sunting

There are two species of leprosy known in these parts. The milder sort, or impetigo, as I apprehend it to be, is very common among the inhabitants of Nias, great numbers of whom are covered with a white scurf or scales that renders them loathsome to the sight. But this distemper, though disagreeable from the violent itching and other inconveniences with which it is attended, does not appear immediately to affect the health, slaves in that situation being bought and sold for field and other outdoor work. It is communicated from parents to their offspring, but though hereditary it is not contagious. I have sometimes been induced to think it nothing more than a confirmed stage of the serpigo or ringworm, or it may be the same with what is elsewhere termed the shingles. I have known a Nias man who has effected a temporary removal of this scurf by the frequent application of the golinggang or daun kurap (Cassia alata) and such other herbs as are used to cure the ringworm, and sometimes by rubbing gunpowder and strong acids to his skin; but it always returned after some time. The other species with which the country people are in some instances affected is doubtless, from the description given of its dreadful symptoms, that severe kind of leprosy which has been termed elephantiasis, and is particularly described in the Asiatic Researches Volume 2, the skin coming off in flakes, and the flesh falling from the bones, as in the lues venerea. This disorder being esteemed highly infectious, the unhappy wretch who labours under it is driven from the village he belonged to into the woods, where victuals are left for him from time to time by his relations. A prang and a knife are likewise delivered to him, that he may build himself a hut, which is generally erected near to some river or lake, continual bathing being supposed to have some effect in removing the disorder, or alleviating the misery of the patient. Few instances of recovery have been known. There is a disease called the nambi which bears some affinity to this, attacking the feet chiefly, the flesh of which it eats away. As none but the lowest class of people seem to suffer from this complaint I imagine it proceeds in a great degree from want of cleanliness.

CAMPAK sunting

Campak (katumbuhan) terkadang menghampiri pulau tersebut dan membuat keadaan yang mengerikan. Ini dianggap sebagai wabah, dan membuat ribuan orang dari daerah tersebut tertular. Metode penghentian persebarannya (karena mereka tak mengupayakan penyembuhan) dengan mengubah rumah sakit atau tempat singgah di berbagai belahan desa menjadi tempat sejumlah besar orang sakit berbaring, dimana mereka mengirim semua orang yang terserang oleh penyakit tersebut dari seluruh belahan daerah tersebut. Metode paling efektif adalah mendorong untuk mencegah orang manapun keluar dari desa, yang dibakar sampai rata dengan tanah ketika penularan telah menyebar dengan sendirinya atau melahap seluruh korban yang terjangkit. Inokulasi adalah sebuah gagasan yang lama tak terpikirkan dan, ketika ini menjadi tak universal, wabah tersebut menjadi eksperimen berbahaya bagi orang-orang Eropa yang membawanya, di sebuah daerah dimana penyakit tersebut muncul hanya pada bagian yang jauh, alih-alih menghabiskan waktu dan upaya yang dibuat ketika dan dimana penyakit tersebut ditangani dengan cara alami. Kesempatan semacam itu dilakukan sendiri pada 1780, ketika sejumlah besar orang (sekitar sepertiga populasi) terjangkit penyakit tersebut dan dua tahun kemudian; pada orang-orang yang berada di bawah pengaruh langsung pemukiman Inggris dan Belanda, inokulasi dipraktekkan dengan kesuksesan besar. Aku percaya bahwa pencegahan vaksinasi atau persebaran wilayah sangat mungkin handal untuk menanganikejadian mengerikan tersebut. Sebuah gejala yang disebut chachar, yang sangat mirip dengan campak, dan dalam tahap-tahap awal yang secara keliru disamakan dengan penyakit tersebut, bukanlah hal yang tak umum. Ini menimbulkan kegaduhan namun tak mematikan, dan mungkin apa yang kami sebut cacar air.


Penyakit kelamin, meskipun umum di daerah-daerah Melayu, di daerah pedalaman nyaris tak diketahui. Pria yang kembali ke desanya yang terinfeksi dijauh oleh para penduduk sebagai orang yang tak bersih dan terlarang. Orang-orang Melayu menyembuhkannya dengan pengobatan akar cina, yang disebut gadong oleh mereka, yang menyebabkan salivasi.

INSANITY sunting

When a man is by sickness or otherwise deprived of his reason, or when subject to convulsion fits, they imagine him possessed by an evil spirit, and their ceremony of exorcism is performed by putting the unfortunate wretch into a hut, which they set fire to about his ears, suffering him to make his escape through the flames in the best manner he can. The fright, which would go nigh to destroy the intellects of a reasonable man, may perhaps have under contrary circumstances an opposite effect.

ILMU sunting

Keterampilan orang-orang Sumatra dalam ilmu apapun sangat terbatas, seperti yang diperkirakan.


Some however I have met with who, in arithmetic, could multiply and divide, by a single multiplier or divisor, several places of figures. Tens of thousands (laksa) are the highest class of numbers the Malay language has a name for. In counting over a quantity of small articles each tenth, and afterwards each hundredth piece is put aside; which method is consonant with the progress of scientific numeration, and probably gave it origin. When they may have occasion to recollect at a distance of time the tale of any commodities they are carrying to market, or the like, the country people often assist their memory by tying knots on a string, which is produced when they want to specify the number. The Peruvian quipos were I suppose an improvement upon this simple invention.

MEASURES sunting

They estimate the quantity of most species of merchandise by what we call dry measure, the use of weights, as applied to bulky articles, being apparently introduced among them by foreigners; for the pikul and catti are used only on the sea-coast and places which the Malays frequent. The kulah or bamboo, containing very nearly a gallon, is the general standard of measure among the Rejangs: of these eight hundred make a koyan: the chupah is one quarter of a bamboo. By this measure almost all articles, even elephants' teeth, are bought and sold; but by a bamboo of ivory they mean so much as is equal in weight to a bamboo of rice. This still includes the idea of weight, but is not attended with their principal objection to that mode of ascertaining quantity which arises, as they say, from the impossibility of judging by the eye of the justness of artificial weights, owing to the various materials of which they may be composed, and to which measurement is not liable. The measures of length here, as perhaps originally among every people upon earth, are taken from the dimensions of the human body. The deppa, or fathom, is the extent of the arms from each extremity of the fingers: the etta, asta, or cubit, is the forearm and hand; kaki is the foot; jungka is the span; and jarri, which signifies a finger, is the inch. These are estimated from the general proportions of middle-sized men, others making an allowance in measuring, and not regulated by an exact standard.


The ideas of geography among such of them as do not frequent the sea are perfectly confined, or rather they entertain none. Few of them know that the country they inhabit is an island, or have any general name for it. Habit renders them expert in travelling through the woods, where they perform journeys of weeks and months without seeing a dwelling. In places little frequented, where they have occasion to strike out new paths (for roads there are none), they make marks on trees for the future guidance of themselves and others. I have heard a man say, "I will attempt a passage by such a route, for my father, when living, told me that he had left his tokens there." They estimate the distance of places from each other by the number of days, or the proportion of the day, taken up in travelling it, and not by measurement of the space. Their journey, or day's walk, may be computed at about twenty miles; but they can bear a long continuance of fatigue.


Orang-orang Melayu serta Arab dan bangsa Muslim lainnya menganggap setahun terdiri dari tiga ratus lima puluh empat hari, atau dua belas bulan dua puluh sembilan setengah hari; yang setiap tahun kembali sekitar sebelas hari. Orang-orang asli Sumatra memperkirakan periode tahunan mereka dari perubahan musim, dan menghitung tahun-tahun mereka dari jumlah penanaman padi mereka (taun padi); sebuah praktek yang, meskipun tak tentu akurat, sangat berguna bagi keperluan hidup umum ketimbang periode candra, yang diadaptasi ke perayaan-perayaan agama. Mereka serta orang-orang Melayu menghitung waktu dengan pergerakan bulan, namun tak ada upaya untuk melacak hubungan atau kaitan antara ukuran-ukuran yang lebih kecil dan pergerakan surya. Meskipun daerah-daerah yang lebih terpoles mengalami kesalahan dan kesulitan dalam penentuan mereka terhadap kejadian matahari melewati gerhana, dan meskipun mengalami musim-musim nominal mereka menjadi nyaris berbalas dengan alam, orang-orang tersebut, tanpa gagasan interkalasi, menyajikannya dalam catatan tahunan mereka bebas dari hal esensial, atau setidaknya progresif dan kesalahan yang menerpanya. Pembagian bulan dalam pekan pekan aku yakini tak diketahui kecuali ketika itu diajarkan secara Islam; tanggal dari masa bulan dipakai alih-alih ketika akurasi diharuskan; meskipun mereka membagi hari berdasarkan jam. Untuk menentukan waktu hari dalam kejadian apapun, mereka perlu menentukannya untuk membicarakan yang terjadi, mereka ditekankan dengan jari mereka pada ketinggian di langit dimana matahari saat itu berdiri. Dan mode tersebut lebih umum dan pasti ketika matahari, sehingga dekat khatulistiwa, terbit dan terbenam nyaris bergantian, dan kemunculan dan pengakhiran pada seluruh musim setahun dalam beberapa menit selama enam jam. Pengamatan bintang atau rasi bintang dilakukan oleh mereka. Namun, mereka mengutamakan planet Venus, namun tak membayangkannya sama dengan periode perubahannya yang berbeda ketika planet tersebut muncul, dan kemunculan matahari. Mereka menyadari bahwa malam ketika bulan baru harusnya menampilkannya, namun orang-orang Melayu menyelaraskannya dengan arah meriam. Mereka juga mengatahuia bahwa ketika kembali pasang, yang terjadi pada ketinggian mereka, pada pesisir barat daya pulau tersebut, ketika luminer terjadi pada horizon, dan pantau surut ketika terbit. Ketika mereka mengamati bintang bersinar di dekat bulan (atau berlawanan, ketika mereka menunjukannya), mereka mengetahui akan adanay badai, seperti halnya para pelaut Eropa mengamati badai dari ketajaman tanduknya. Hal tersebut, sebagian, akibat dari kebersihan tak biasa di udara, yang, terjadi dari hal luar biasa dari keadaan atmosfer, yang secara alami disusul oleh serbuan keras dari bagian-bagian yang mengelilinginya mengembalikan keseimbangan, dan dengan demikian membuktikan keberadaan badai. Pada saat gerhana, mereka membuat suara bising dengan membunyikan alat-alat untuk menghindarkan kejadian tersebut dari hal lain, seperti halnya Tionghoa, untuk mengusir naga, sebuah anggapan yang berasal dari sistem astronomi kuno (terutama Hindu) dimana tanda-tanda bulan diidentifikasikan dengan kepala dan ekor naga. Mereka mengisahkan tentang pria di bulan yang giat mengerjakan kapas, namun setiap malam seekor tikus menggerayanginya dan membuatnya melakukan pengerjaan ulang. Ini mereka anggapan sebagai lambang pekerja yang tiada akhir dan efektif, seperti batu Sisyphus, dan saringan Danaides.

Dalam hal sejarah dan kronologi, orang-orang daerah tersebut hanya sedikit mengetahui. Ingatan peristiwa masa lalu hanya disebutkan melalui tradisi.

MUSIK sunting

Mereka memainkan musik dan banyak alat musik yang dipakai di antara mereka, namun beberapa, setelah diselidiki, nampaknya awalnya dan kebanyakan dibawa dari Tionghoa dan orang paling timur lainnya; terutama kalintang, gong, dan sulin. Biola diketahui berasal dari wilayah barat. Kalintang mirip dengan sticcado dan harmonika; alat-alat musik yang lebih umum memiliki potongan silang, yang dipukul dengan dua palu kecil, dari potongan bambu, dan lebih sempurna ketimbang komposisi logam tertentu yang lebih nyaring. Gong, sejenis lonceng, namun berbeda dalam hal ukuran dan pembunyian di bagian luar, biasanya dipasang untuk melantunkan bait ketiga, keempat, kelima dan oktaf, dan seringkali dijadikan sebagai bass, atau di bawah bagian, dari kalintang. Alat musik tersebut juga dibunyikan untuk keperluan memanggil penduduk desa pada acara-acara tertentu; namun alat musik yang masih umum dipakai dan lebih kuno adalah batang kayu berongga yang disebut katut. Sulin adalah seruling Melayu. Seruling daerah tersebut disebut serdum. Alat musik tersebut terbuat dari bambu, sangat kurang sempurna, namun beberapa kali berhenti, dan mengingatkan pada alat musik yang dikatakan ditemukan di kalangan orang Otaheite. Sebuah lubang tunggal ditutup dengan jempol tangan kiri, dan lubang di dekat ujung dibunyikan, pada sisi depan, dengan jari tangan yang sama. Dua lubang lain ditutup dengan jari-jari tangan kanan. Ketika dibunyikan, alat musik tersebut mengeluarkan bunyi pada sisi kanan. Mereka memiliki berbagai alat musik jenis drum, terutama yang disebut tingkah, yang berjumlah sepasang dan dipukul dengan tangan pada masing-masing ujung. Alat musik tersebut terbuat dari jenis kayu tertentu yang dilubangi, ditutupi dengankulit kambing kering, dan dipotong dengan potongan rotan. Sulit untuk mengetahui pembagian skala yang sebenarnya, karena kami tak mengetahui teorinya. Interval yang kami dengar adalah oktav yang nampak terbagi dalam enam nada, tanpa semi-nada perantara, yang sangat mempengaruhi musik mereka pada satu kunci. Ini umumnya terdiri dari beberapa nada, dan nada ketiga bersifat interval yang paling sering dibunyikan. Orang-orang yang mementaskan biola memakai nada yang sama dengan pembagian kami, dan mereka melantunkan alat musik tersebut pada bait kelima sampai bagian paling sempurnanya. Alat musik tersebut memainkan oktav, namun memakai chord lainnya. Nada-nada Sumatra sangat mirip, di telingaku, dengan nada-nada Irlandia asli, dan biasanya, seperti mereka, nada ketiga datar: sama dengan yang teramati pada musik Bengal, dan musik akan menemukan bahwa kunci minor mengandung preferensi di kalangan semua orang pada tingkat peradaban tertentu.