Garut to Cianjur, 15 April 1893

A mountain range densely covered in alang and close to Garut, about an hour’s drive distant from here, contained numerous wild boars. The regent, a keen friend of the hunt, had arranged a boar hunt in that mountain range, anticipating my intentions. According to the program, there was to be a hunt there.

Thus we drove at the earliest and as fast as possible our four pony team was able to run to the spot where the riding horses were ready to take us to the hunting ground. Here too we found heavily undulating terrain so that once again the coolies had to push the carriage in steep places or brake it in order to ease the burden of drawing the carriage for our bravely galoping small horses. Arriving in a very deep cut valley I noticed with astonishment the presence of many hundreds of people who had all come with kin and children and occupied the surrounding heights in picturesque groups in order to observe the spectacle of a princely hunt.

Everyone was in their Sunday best, the local hat on the head. Clever merchants had created a whole bazaar in which they sold food and drinks to the people. On a ledge of the valley, a bamboo house had been built which was richly decorated with flags in our and the Dutch colors as well as flowers and  garlands. On the dais on the first floor I should take a seat on a fauteuil in green velvet and send my shots at the boars from there as if I was an ancient Roman emperor who had set his mind to hunt in utmost comfort. The impression that this was an imperial hunting ceremony was reinforced my the decoration of the approach road to the house; this road had been most splendidly decorated as a via triumphalis with an honor portal, flag staffs and groups of flowers. In the side rooms of the house, cup-bearers were doing their duty but it was not Falernian wine but sparkling champaign that was flowing in streams. A music band out of our sight played during the hunt and performed our anthem in fortissimo.

The valley and the ledge opposite us had been cleared and surrounded with a thick bamboo fence which led up to the house so that the boar hunt was apparently limited to an arranged killing and thus not a true hunting enterprise but more of a popular feast that amused me greatly by the comic preparations and the pretension of calling this a hunt. Drivers in great numbers led by a native dignitary were waiting on the opposite ledge for the signal to start the hunt and as soon as it was given entered with infernal cries and shouts into the tall grass where they released a pack of about forty hounds of all kinds of breeds. Immediately the spectacle started as the dogs had soon found the boars and barking, were chasing around in the undergrowth. The undergrowth was despite the clearing activities still so thickly filled with tall grass, bamboo trees and ferns that we could see even the strong boars only for a few moments. Every now and then a boar stood its ground and defeated many dogs that returned wailfully to their masters.

The first victim of my rifle was a brash young boar which I discovered on the other ledge and shot like a chamois. Actually the shots were interesting and in no way easy as the game was very flighty and only visible for a few moments on the steep ledge or in the deep valley. The young boars were no larger than hares and offered at a distance of 100 paces opportunities for beautiful shots.

Extremely entertaining were the incredible fear of the drivers and their leaders about the harmless boars. If a boar came close to a hero or, pursued by the dogs, tried to break the line, the drivers and the dignitaries were quickly up on the trees. It was an overwhelmingly comical sight when a dignitary wearing all the glittering insignia of his office was fleeing from a crying young boar and in his already funny uniform climbed up a slim palm tree as fast as a monkey, so that the palm was bending under the unexpected load. If there was no danger, the drivers advanced in true oriental manner without order and plan in the area. The dignitaries followed with swords drawn. The dogs were entertaining themselves in some corner to hunt for young boars and naturally bite them so that many could be bagged only in the pieces that remained.

In total I shot 21 pieces, but among them only one good boar. The boars were of a completely different type than ours; they are smaller, have a completely naked rind and only around the snout it had a kind of whiskers with thick bristles as well as very pronounced cheekbones and a much longer pointed snout. The teeth were fitting to the body size much smaller. The natives distinguish two types: the field and the woodland boar  (Sus verrucosus and Sus vittatus); but I could not see much difference in their main attributes.

A young boar was captured in a large wood pile. We bound the animal’s feet together and sent it in a rucksack directly to the ship in the harbor of Tandjong Priok where it would probably display its special ferocity and would be a hard test for the taming powers of my animal  keeper Biaggio.

The hunt had ended, the people started cheering in an unarticulated way and I left the scene of this funny boar hunt in some sort of ceremonial procession. During the drive back to Garut — the cloudy sky at the beginning of the hunt ha fully cleared —  I enjoyed the splendid sight upon the crater of Papandayan.

In the afternoon we said good-bye to the friendly Garut and drove the same evening to Cianjur where I was very hospitably received in his house by the regent, a kind man who carried the title and name of  Raden Adipatti Prawira dij redja. The palace was festively illuminated. To illuminate the inescapable bamboo sticks were used, grouped in bundles and decorating the triumphal portal and facades to great effect. The hollow bamboo sticks were filled with oil in which a burning wick was swimming. Such a stick will burn for hours.

The regent seems to be a passionate hunter too as he showed his rifles with pride as well as the heads of his bagged deer  (Cervus hippelaphus), of Bantengs, the wild cow of the Indian islands, and of rhinoceroses. As a living piece of booty of a Banteng hunt, there was a tame Banteng bull captured as a small calf and now enjoying his life that seemed to be the special favorite of the regent who personally was feeding it every day.

A second passion of this dignitary is painting. But his success in this pursuit are rather not outstanding and the outcome of his art of such a quality that even a jury of the Salon des refuses in Cianjur would have to shake their heads. Nevertheless the noble born master from Cianjur has sent some of his works to the exhibition in Chicago.

The world exhibition at Lake Michigan seems to have gone to the head of this brave Javanese. Everywhere it was said that he had sent this or that to the distant America. Mr. Kerkhoven has even sent a whole Javanese village there in which gracious Javanese girls will sell tea from their master’s plantation.

To the black coffee after the dinner appeared a whole flock of dancers, one uglier than the other, all fervently masticating betel and making us so tired by their boring rhythmical dance that I quickly went to our bed.

Links

  • Location: Cianjur, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 15.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Der Hüttenbesitzer“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Merlin“.

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