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Shamanism: A Brief History of the Ancient Art of Healing

Shamanism: A Brief History of the Ancient Art of Healing

This introduction and following series of related posts on shamanism serve as an online version of our 2017 fall exhibition, ‘Balancing The Universe: Shamanic Amulets, Instruments and Costumes’. We also have a full color photo catalog available of the all the pieces in the show and 12 color postcards of selected pieces. Scroll down to […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism on Lombok Island and Bali

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism on Lombok Island and Bali

Less famous than Bali, Lombok the neighbor island directly to the east and is part of the Lesser Sundas. The indigenous Sasak people are predominantly Muslim after experiencing a long period of Hindu and Buddhist influence. However, as in most of the tribal cultures of Indonesia, ancient traditional ritualistic practices endure and shaman are still […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Sulawesi and Papua New Guinea

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Sulawesi and Papua New Guinea

SULAWESI, Greater Sunda Islands (first 2 images): Shaman made their own medicine kits, including wooden backpacks, to contain items for healing, protections and predictions – such as special teeth, stones and other items. The figures on the exterior correspond to illnesses and other conditions or ailments. 19” x 9 ½” x 10”, $2200. Container for […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Lesser Sundas – Timor Islands

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Lesser Sundas – Timor Islands

Timor, like Flores is more mountainous than the rolling hills of Sumba, but the shamanic culture is much the same. Both islands are now predominantly christian, although, like most of the cultures throughout the Lesser Sunda Islands, they have integrated the newer belief systems with their ancient roots in Animism. (for several neighboring Lesser Sunda […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Lesser Sundas – Flores Islands

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Lesser Sundas – Flores Islands

Flores, and Timor, are more mountainous than the rolling hills of Sumba, but the shamanic culture is much the same. Both islands are now predominantly christian, although, like most of the cultures throughout the Lesser Sunda Islands, they have integrated the newer belief systems with their ancient roots in Animism. (see Timor and several neighboring […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism on Sumba Island, Indonesia

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism on Sumba Island, Indonesia

Sumba Island is part of the ‘The Lesser Sunda Islands’ – the long sweeping chain of islands south of Bali that make up the southern part of Indonesia. In the following posts we include items from Sumba, Flores, Timor, Lombok and a few others. There are many similarities in belief systems throughout the Lesser Sundas […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia

The Mentawai tribes remain one of the most isolated populations on the planet. Some still live a neolithic, hunter-gather lifestyle in the rain-forest and do not use a written language. Shaman, or sikerei, are intrinsic to daily life and considered leaders, although they are an egalitarian society. The classic Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim themes common […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Borneo, Indonesia

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Borneo, Indonesia

Borneo, home of the Dayak tribes is one of the largest islands in Indonesia, and is of volcanic origin. Their ancient belief system, like that across most of Indonesia, is Animistic – the belief that they are descendants of a bird/dragon/serpent. This is visually represented by the pervasive motifs in their art. Shaman are intrinsic […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Sumatra, Indonesia

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Sumatra, Indonesia

Sumatra is one island in the SE Asian chain of 17,ooo islands that make up Indonesia. The cultures specific to different islands have long been isolated from one another resulting is significant diversity. It is therefore helpful to organize the following Indonesian descriptions into major sub-groupings. Please browse through the following posts: Sumatra (Batak tribes), […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Vietnam and Thailand

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Vietnam and Thailand

Essential to the shamanic traditions of the Vietnamese is the ability to read and write Chinese. A requisite, extensive knowledge of Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Animism and Ancestor worship make the shaman’s training a long and rigorous process. They must draw on a complex base of philosophies and abilities which include the use of scroll paintings, […]


Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Nagaland and Myanmar

Balancing The Universe: Shamanism in Nagaland and Myanmar

The Naga people are a collection of 35+ tribes, or about 3.5 million people, who live in the hills of Nagaland, India and in the bordering country of Myanmar. Their beliefs are animistic and shamanism is a respected, integral part of everyday life. This figure was used in healing rituals and probably for connecting to […]


Balancing the Universe: Shamanism In Nepal

Balancing the Universe: Shamanism In Nepal

Nepal is home to many ethnic groups and religious traditions including Hinduism and Buddhism. Shamanism combines these religions with the worship of nature and natural phenomenon. There is a unique village, called “Lugum”, in Western Nepal whose only inhabitants, at the time of this writing, are 126 shaman – 18 of whom are women. In […]