Lia Genovese



This paper stems from data collected during fieldwork in the Laotian provinces of Xieng Khouang and Luang Prabang and in Malaysia’s Sabah province. It compares and contrasts the stone jars of Laos and the menhirs of Sabah, with particular focus on the supernatural qualities ascribed to stone. Jars and menhirs are expressions of a wider megalithic art, the former sculpted from a single boulder and the latter generally set vertically into the ground, plain and undecorated. Shape does not impact the stone’s perceived unearthly powers, whose spirit can manifest itself as easily from a jar as from a menhir. The relatively young age of the Sabah menhirs, estimated at 300 years, has been instrumental in assembling testimonies about their functions and ways in which communities interact with, and react to, their perceived paranormal qualities. The date of the Laotian jars is Iron Age.

Keywords: Plain of Jars, Laos, megaliths, Iron Age, Sabah, menhirs, stone, spirits



Kertas kerja ini merupakan sebahagian daripada data yang dikumpul melalui kerja lapangan di daerah Xieng Khouang dan Luang Prabang, Laos, dan di Sabah, Malaysia. Kajian ini membandingkan dan membezakan antara guci batu Laos dan menhir Sabah, terutamanya ciri-ciri ghaib yang diasosiasikan kepada batu tersebut. Guci batu dan menhir merupakan sebahagian daripada kebudayaan megalitik. Guci batu diukir daripada batu tunggal manakala menhir biasanya diletak berdiri tegak atas tanah tanpa hiasan pada permukaannya. Bentuk batu tidak mempengaruhi kuasa ghaibnya, memandangkan semangat atau roh boleh menunjukkan kekuasaannya sama ada dalam guci batu atau menhir. Pentarikhan menhir Sabah yang secara relatifnya muda, iaitu sekitar 300 tahun, memainkan peranan yang penting dalam mengkaji fungsi menhir, dan cara komuniti berinteraksi serta bertindak balas terhadap ciri-ciri ghaib yang dipercayai dimiliki oleh menhir. Guci batu Laos dipertarikhkan kepada Zaman Besi.

Kata kunci: Dataran Jars, Laos, guci batu megalitik, Sabah, menhir, batu, semangat

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