Sulawesi Language Alliance

Championing Local Languages in the Heart of Indonesia

Tooth Transfigurement in Indonesia

Resource File: 
Tooth transfigurement refers to various ritual practices, including tooth extraction, tooth cutting, tooth filing, tooth blackening and tooth ornamen­tation, that deliberately alter the natural state or appearance of the teeth In Indonesia such rituals are usually part of a rite of passage into adulthood. This article introduces the subject of tooth transfigurement and gives the researcher a list of pertinent subjects and vocabulary to ask about.
Sulang Language Data and Working Papers: Topics in Lexicography
Series Number: 
Sulawesi Language Alliance
Year Published: 
Publication Language(s): 
Martens, Michael
Table of Contents: 
1 An old practice; 2 A widespread practice; 3 A forbidden practice; 4 Types of tooth transfigurement found in Indonesia; 4.1 Tooth extraction; 4.2 Tooth cutting; 4.3 Tooth filing; 4.3.1 Filing to make the teeth even; 4.3.2 Filing to make the teeth pointy; 4.4 Tooth blackening; 4.4.1 Plant sap; 4.4.2 Burn products; 4.4.3 Chemical dyes; 4.4.4 Other tooth-blackening agents; 4.5 Tooth ornamentation; 5 Why tooth transfigurement?; 6 Tooth transfigurement in Eastern Indonesia?; References;
Version History: 
Version 1 [26 June 2013] This paper originally circulated February 2009; reformatted for publication May and June 2013.
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