National Geographic : 1920 Jan
BY MOTOR THROUGH THE EAST COAST OF SUMATRA A NATIVE CLOTH FACTORY Evidently "industrial employment" does not tend to race suicide in Sumatra. used to support part of the weight of enormous coiled silver earrings. We rarely saw men on the road; the few that accompanied the women strolled along behind, quite unencumbered with either baggage or babies, and saluted us with a friendly courtesy rather unex pected in a tribe once so notorious for cannibalism. Their garments were quite similar to those of the women, with a shorter sarong tied around the waist, and often a coat or short pair of breeches in addition. Both men and women were barefoot, as usual, and although a stripe or a plaid occasionally varied the dark blue of their clothes, exceptions to the general style were very rare. The earrings worn by many of the women were of extraordinary dimen sions. Only the wealthier could afford them, for each pair was worth about one hundred and fifty gulden and must have represented a considerable part of the family treasure. They consisted of long circular rods of solid silver, about three eighths of an inch in diameter, passed through the upper part of the ear and bent back into the form of double, re versed coils, the coils projecting far for ward on the left side, to the rear on the right. Their weight would have torn them from the ears had they not been partially supported by the corners of the headdresses, and there was apparently no way of removal without first uncoiling one side. THE BATAKS, KINDRED OF TIlE HEAD HUNTING DAYAKS The Batak people are in many ways the most interesting and remarkable of all the tribes of Sumatra, although as yet comparatively little is known of them. Ethnologically they are related to the head-hunting Dayaks of Borneo.* Their type has not been modified by contact with the outside world, nor even with the more advanced peoples of the coast, and their state of civilization and de velopment is still quite rudimentary, al *See 'Sarawak, the Land of the White Rajahs," by Harrison W. Smith, in THE GEO GRAPHIC for February, 1919.