Pre-capitalism and cosmology

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In this article, the author attempts to demonstrate that the study of inland fisheries can provide additional insight into the culture of the Meybrat, a tribal community living around the Ayamaru lakes in the northern part of the Western Bird’s Head of Irian Jaya. The author discusses the following: the significance of pusaka (sacred hereditary goods) in fishery; the role of ancestor worship and cosmology; the rise of a class of native immigrant ‘big men’ such as ‘bankers’ in ikat textiles (kain timur); the role of imported kain pusaka as part of the so-called kain timur-complex; newly discovered aspects of myths from the western and eastern Bird’s Head, that are often culturally imposed.

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