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posted on 23.06.2017, 01:41 by Kartomi, Margaret J., Kartomi, Hidris
For male participants. Puppet-dance theatre genre of the Batak Toba ethnic group: a performance of sigalegale in Tomok. This theatre form was traditionally part of the elaborate funeral ceremonies of the parbegu (animist) religion. Sigalegale uses one of two life-size puppets carved from the wood of the banyan tree. Legend has it that the first sigalegale was made in a man's image by his widow mourning his death. She is said to have hired a dukun (shaman) to bring his soul to heaven and a dalang (puppeteer/storyteller) to manipulate the sigalegale puppet. The custom spread and at funerals a puppet was decorated with the deceased's possessions, after which the puppeteer invited the soul of the deceased to enter it. Nowadays, however, performances are given at weddings, and only rarely at funerals. Sigalegale is accompanied by an ensemble comprising a xylophone and drum, with optional flute and gongs. Copyright 1972. Notes prepared by Bronia Kornhauser with Margaret Kartomi, School of Music-Conservatorium, Monash University. Photography by Hidris Kartomi.



Margaret J. Kartomi

Geographic location

Sumatra -- North Sumatra -- Lake Toba -- Samosir Island -- Village of Tomok

Collection date


Collection Type

Still image