The Malay shaman

Winstedt's 'Shaman, Saiva and Sufi'.

The following is an appraisal of the Pawang Di-Raja by Winstedt in his book, Shaman, Saiva and Sufi:

“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.”

Winstedt R. Shaman, Saiva and Sufi. A Study of the Evolution of the Malay Magic. Singapore; 1924. p18.

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