Sigale-gale



Sigale Gale or Si Gale-Gale is a wooden puppet used in a funeral dance performance of the Batak people in Samosir Island, Northern Sumatra. Sigale Gale is a well known feature to visiting tourists. During the dance, the puppet is operated from behind like a marionette using strings that run through the ornate wooden platform on which it stands. The set up enables its arms and body to be moved and its head to turn.
Traditionally the performance was carried out of childless person. Batak Toba believe souls become an ancestral spirit and the children of the deceased perform funerary rites. If a person died childless a si gale-gale is created as a substitute. Complicated sigale gale could be life sized and featured actuation using wet moss or sponges that could be squeezed to make the dolls appear to cry.
The wooden figure has jointed limbs were mounted on large wheeled platforms on which, weeping, they danced during funerary ceremonies called papurpur sepata, held for persons of high rank who had died without offspring. The ritual dispelled the curse of dying childless, and placated the spirit of the deceased so that he would do no harm to the community

 
 

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