Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1993


Among the Taman of kabupaten Kapuas Hulu, West Kalimantan, certain oils are used to cast and counteract spells. Antidotes are said to be made from the same substance as poisons, and thus a given antidote implies ownership of the poison, and this is one reason people are furtive in using, exchanging, and discussing this aspect of folk-medicine. Magical oils are generally obtained outside Taman society, and are used most often to cure illnesses presumed to have been contracted outside the society. These oils contain essences, and so can be reproduced by adding oil. However, specific knowledge is needed to use and maintain them properly. Because this knowledge must be transmitted individually, magical oils remain exotic and expensive, rather than becoming ordinary commodities


This work was originally published in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde.



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