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Tuesday, October 26, 2010


specktacular dances of the manggarai people of western flores.
as i watch, two bare chested manggarai men circle each other warily in the area. both wear bright head dress and horned helmets with beautiful flores ikat covering their lower bodies. one man  is armed with a wicked leather whip over a couple of metres long. the other man attempts to defend himself with a large buffalo hide shield and a curved stick. as drums pulse and gongs sound in the background, the crowd in on edge. bells attached to the combatants' waists nervously jingle as they square off. suddenly the arm of the man clutching the whip is flung back and flies forward as the leather whip crack over his opponent. this is caci - the whip dancing duel of western flores.

with many other participants looking on, each "round" of the duel involves the whip wielding warrior lashing out at his opponent who desperately attempts to protect himself with his shield and stick. wen the whip strikes bare flesh, the two exchange weapons and they continue with roles reserved. soon two other combatants step into the ring and the "dance" continues with many participants over several hours.


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