Gunungmegang Statue; Man and Elephant

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Harry Octavianus Sofian

Harry Octavianus Sofian

Harry Octavianus Sofian
Balai Arkeologi Palembang – Departemen Pendidikan Dan Kebudayaan Republik Indonesia
Gunungmegang statue is one of the site from Pasemah Megalithic Culture, located at the foot of the Mountain Dempo, Lahat Distric, South Sumatera Province – Indonesia. Pasemah megalithic culture is very unic, because the representation from the statue not stiff, but show dynamic activity,like Gunungmegang statue, show man holding the trunk of the elephant. This statue show us how the ancient people do domestication of wild elephants?

Video: Short documentary on mahouts

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Of ethnographic interest. Filmmaker Erik Dettle emailed me a couple days ago to share his short documentary, Mahout: Changing Reigns, about the Gwi mahouts of Thailand and how elephant-raising has changed over time.


Check out the video here.

A couple years ago while in the field I managed to spend some time at the Elephant Conservation Center in Xayabouri, Laos, where I learnt a lot about the traditional practice of raising elephants, and some tourist practices do more harm than good to the elephants. I highly recommend them as a place to go to if you want to learn about elephants. One of my main takeaways from the experience is that elephants’ backs are actually very weak, and they are not suited to carrying weights on their backs! You’ll notice that the mahouts usually ride elephants on their front shoulders for that reason. If you find yourself in Southeast Asia and you have the option of riding an elephant on their backs – don’t do it!

Categories: Thailand