Anthropology as agent

I made an amazing discovery last night.

A volume I had consulted a number of times, by famed colonial anthropologist Antonio de Almeida, contains an article which I must have glanced over in the past, about the kingdom I am studying.

It is a whole article devoted to the “neolithic” sacred objects he convinced the “priests” of the kingdom to show him in late 1957.

He provided photos, and quite precise information about the neolithic objects which are basically rounded stones, and (thankfully) the other sacred objects, which include among other things a stone ball, two whistles, two “bastions” or rota, a sword, two statues, a small wooden totem, and a monarchy-era Portuguese flag.

Almeida naively offered to buy the neolithic stones from the priest, who told him no way, that would ruin their harvests and be their doom.

The significance of this “sharing” of the lulik, which were brought down from Afaloicai 15km to Baguia for his viewing, cannot be understated — especially given the timing. The uprising, which provokes a regicide in this kingdom, happens under two years later.

He also writes that the objects he heard were subsequently burned in a terrible fire. I’m wondering if that terrible fire occured in 1959.

I have made xerox-copies for the katuas who had told me the name of the sacred house, whose namesake is a statue featured in the article. I’m really curious to see what he and others make of these photos as these lulik objects no longer exist. I hope someone can tell about this encounter with Almeida in 1957 and its political and spiritual significance.


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