The Malay Magician (1958)
The Malay Magician (1958)

The Malay Magician (1958)

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Sometimes the Malay shaman wears cords round his wrists and across back and breast over each shoulder and under the opposite arm. He can use cloth of royal yellow at a séance. Rarely he is a Raja. In Perak the State shaman was commonly of the reigning house and bore the title of Sultan Muda.

He was too exalted to inherit any other office except the Sultanate, and according to one account could ascend no temporal throne. He was allotted a State allowance from port dues and the tax on opium.

The twenty-fifth holder of the office was a grandson on the distaff side of Marhum Kahar, a famous ruler of Perak in the eighteenth century: on the spear side he was a descendant of the Prophet! The wife of its holder bore the title of Raja Puan Muda. His deputy or heir-apparent was styled Raja Kechil Muda. So, too, in parts of Timor two Rajas are recognised-a civil raja who governs the people, and another raja who can declare tabus and must be consulted by his colleagues in all important matters.


R.O Winstedt, perhaps the leading British scholar of Malay culture in the 20th century, sets down in this treatise his understanding of how Malay popular religion worked in the first half of the century. He explains how and why this ritual practice, grounded in animism and Hinduism, survives and retains its vitality in a predominantly Muslim society

First edition hardback. There are some fragments of a dust jacket. The binding is stained and has some worming, it is sound. The endpapers have an owner's bookplates and is browning. There is some edge foxing throughout. 160 Pages.

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