Schlagwort-Archiv: Java

Tjipandak, 22 April 1893

Rain, nothing but rain. Already during the whole night the heavy drops of rain hit the palm roofs of our huts and it trickled through now and then, so that the already wet possessions were completely soaked. Black clouds were hanging low in the sky as if the sky had opened up all sluices. As soon as the rain relented a little bit, a new downpour followed with an intensity unknown at home. In such conditions it was impossible to think about hunting, as the river was so swollen that it seemed impossible to cross it. The drivers and the hunters too could not have been motivated to move and enter into the thicket. Thus we had to be patient and spent the day with weather observations that however provided only very regrettable results.

As it happens in such cases we spent the time in eating in short intervals and complained extensively about the weather and the vexed rainy season. The water in the river rose so much and, by the way, the push back of the sea was noticeable in the waves of the river too, that we feared about our bathing hut and had to protect it.

As expected the harsher consequences of the bad weather did manifest themselves. One of our servants was struck by a heavy fever due to the constant wetness in which we are living and it its expected that we will see more sick cases.

Only after 5 o’clock in the evening the rain started to diminish a bit, so that we decided despite the great humidity to undertake a small hunting tour in the vicinity of the camp. I climbed a hill above the huts where palm groves extended between Alang grass areas. I bagged multiple doves, among them especially fruit doves. In the distance I also saw two monkeys and a beautiful but unfortunately very timid Javanese peacock sitting on a barren palm tree. The attempt to get closer failed as the thicket that separated me from it proved completely impenetrable. In fact sneaking up on game is nearly impossible here due to the noise involuntarily caused by any movement. I did not manage to bag a Javanese hornbill either of which multiple flew high up above the trees during the day.

From the hill I hunted down to the sea coast. There I met the other gentlemen and returned to camp only after it was completely dark.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 22.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Neue Freie Presse features a correspondent report in Calcutta about FF’s hunt in Nepal dated from 4 April 1893.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Bürgerlich und romantisch“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Tjipandak, 21 April 1893

The outlook of catching Bantengs was not very good. Mr. Kerkhoven did not feel well in the morning and decided to stay in camp. Our chief hunter, the Mohammedan Haji, had received news that his daughter had died during the night from fever, an illness that had broken out only nine hours before. The poor man immediately departed to his far away home village to attend the funeral of his dead child.

Thus  we rode under the guidance of Baron van Heeckeren into the hunting ground where we had already hunted the day before and where we would hunt on the opposite ledge of our hunting stands of the day before. The drive again took up three hours. I had a very beautiful stand with good open space. In front of me lay a valley which looked very inviting, but unfortunately nothing emerged out of it. I believed however once hearing noise of breaking. The drivers too claimed to have seen a Banteng. As no shooter noticed anything, this bull must have been a mythical one.

The heat was not as sweltering hot as the day before but still  severe, so that upon my insistence another drive was improvised. The drivers ignited the grass from all sides and entered a certain distance into the jungle  but soon re-emerged out of the thickets. Due to the tiredness of the drivers and their lack of engagement this drive too ended without success.

After the usual bath while wading the river we were already at 4 o’clock in the camp where we failed to meet Mr. Kerkhoven as he had gone out for a peacock hunt, a good sign for his recovery.

It still seemed to early to stay at home and thus we picked up our pellet guns and hunted in the thickets close to our camp to complete the ornithological collection. Even though it was very difficult to advance in the jungle and the nearly impenetrable Alang grass so that we had to struggle at nearly every step, we nevertheless bagged in a relatively short time a quite respectable quantity of birds, among them some interesting species such as the multi-colored Javanese pink-necked green pigeon (Osmotreron vernans); then the green imperial pigeon (Carpophaga aenea); furthermore brown large cuckoo dove (Macropygia emiliana); lineated barlet (Cyanops lineata), red minivets; Java sparrows (Munia oryzivora) and multiple specimens of a glittering dark-green glossy black mynah (Calornis chalybea), as well as various species of swallows. In the evening Mr. Kerkhoven returned from his hunt with a beautiful Javanese peacock hen.

When we assembled in the camp, a heavy rain comae down, that even pierced the roofs of our huts. Still we passed the time in a  very cozy manner: Our hunters yodeled and Hodek presented famous poems of Stieler in Upper-Austrian dialect.

No wonder that I was taken by a quiet reminder of homesickness, that in the midst of this gorgeous tropical world my thoughts flew towards my home, that many memories of the beautiful days spent in Upper Austria were recalled — especially now were recalled when spring entered into the land at home and nature starts blooming anew after the winter’s rest, the ground starts ornamenting itself with young grass and the mountain cock high up in the mountains, sitting on an old weathered fir tree starts singing his amorous song until the hunter’s bullet throws him off, the shoot echoing like thunder breaking against the mountain face and the joyful shout is sent down to the valley veiled in mist.

In the tropics nature reveals to the astonished eye the luxurious splendor of its wonders, intoxicates the senses, when we feel surrounded by the jungle’s magic in the sweltering mugginess — in the mountains at home, nature is met veiled by its poetic charms, talks to the heart when we look up out of the dark coniferous woods to the firns bathed in a hint of pink, announcing dawn.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 21.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Kriemhilde“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Troubadour“.

Tjipandak, 20 April 1893

The ground for the Banteng hunt today was considerably farther away than the one the day before. Only after a three hour march did we reach our destination. The ride during which we had, like the day before, to cross the river multiple times lead almost continuously through Alang grass without the need to overcome any especially difficult terrain obstacles. Only one time there was a very steep gorge to pass which seemed impassable for horses but which our local nags overcame in a truly admirable way, as they slided and glided, sitting on their rear legs, down into the gorge without accident and then climbing almost vertically up out of the deep again while we on foot were only getting across with difficulties over the stone plates and the smooth clay underground.

During our ride I saw on a hill in the distance the head of a deer rise out of the tall grass. The attempt to sneak up to the shy game was unsuccessful.

This time too the drive pushed towards forests down in the valley but the hunting positions were taken up along a ridge. Mr. Kerkhoven first positioned me at the lowest level and had the intention to put one of my gentlemen in the closest upward position. By a mistake of the native who Mr. Kerkhoven had sent back with the order of this arrangement it was Mr. Borrel and not one of my gentlemen who took up position next to me. I sat under a tree and had to suffer during the three hours of the drive much exposure to heat as the tree offered no shade, even more so as it deemed necessary in the interest of the hunt to keep very quiet. Thus I could only sit quietly and envy the legions of ants that were running up and down unimpressed by the heat. The open space around the position was very limited.

After the lifting shot I heard a strong breaking that could only be the result of large game but soon everything was quiet again. Some time afterwards my neighbor fired a shot then I saw and heard nothing more than the monotonous rattles of the drivers in the defensive line.

Finally at the end of the drive, Mr. Borrel approached me and apologized vividly that he had shot a Banteng bull, convinced that the piece would not come into the range of my rifle. How correct this was I could not assess. In any way, I was not much pleased that neither I nor one of my gentlemen had had hunter’s luck and looked with much shooter’s envy upon the capital bull that distinguished itself by its remarkable size and strength.

Much taller than our strongest cattle the Banteng stands on high legs. Its mighty head is ornamented with upward pointing crooked horns. The top skin is glittering black. The extremities below the knee are white as snow. When a Banteng moves through the thicket, one can hear from afar the breaking and crackle of the branches that are crushed by the animals. In the forests which we were passing through today we found everywhere large quantities of broken and dry bamboo sticks — apparent marks of the mighty Bantengs.

Mr. Kerkhoven who stood there somewhat annoyed that the bull had been killed not by me but Mr. Borrel had seen a Banteng cow in the distance. Wurmbrand too saw three animals that crossed at a great distance. Even though there was time to continue the hunt, the retreat was sounded because a heavy storm was brewing on the horizon and our hunting master feared that a heavy rain would make crossing the river impossible. But the storm cleared up and we only were touched by a few rain drops.

As hunters, drivers and dogs were already lost and thus the hunt was over for today, we wanted to use the remaining time after the return to the camp to fish in the river. It was not an especially beautiful way of fishing that we were practising. We namely used dynamite which all of our rational fishermen would have found abhorrent, but we wanted mostly to know whether there were any fishes in the river and if so of what species. Here too the natives had claimed that the river contained crocodiles. Thus dynamite was the quickest and safest means to answer these questions.

The river was closed off a few hundred paces downstream with a net. Then the Dutch gentlemen started adjusting the dynamite cartridges while my hunter as a former NCO of the engineer corps had to provide them with help and advice.  With the greatest calm they were handling dynamite and fuses in our dining hut After they had prepared everything without causing a rightfully feared explosion, the cartridges were hurled into the river after their fuses had been lighted. The explosion followed soon afterwards but for the present without the desired success as no fish appeared on the water surface.

We, I and some of the gentlemen, had in the mean time gained control of a vehicle composed out of two canoes bound together by bamboo and were expecting to find some fishes. As we took it upon ourselves to guide the vehicle with bamboo sticks, we played a miserable role as our double boat either was turning in a circle or with a loud crash hit the shore, so that we attracted the attention of the natives who had remained on land and generated general merriment. We did not catch any fishes but instead Clam fell head first into the water at a very deep spot while in the midst of busy rowing and touched the underside of a canoe with his head but was rescued out of the river by a united effort.

After this intermezzo we considered it advisable to desist from testing our nautical skills further but disembarked in order to observe the next effects of the exploder on land. As for quite some time no aquatic animal became visible in the river, we finally returned home.  Half an hour later, a native brought us a basket filled with dead fishes and told us that many hundreds of fishes were being washed down the river without a possibility to catch them as the people with the nets had already gone away. My knowledge in ichthyology were unfortunately insufficient to determine the specimens precisely that had become victims of the dynamite. One of the fishes with a remarkable red coloring of the scales could be possibly classified as a barbel.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 20.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „De Widerspänstige“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Carmen“.

Sindangbarang to Tjipandak, 19 April 1893

A consequence of the unwelcome Ramelan feast was that we, unfortunately, were absolutely unable to get our horses in the morning and neither horse keepers nor coolies nor village elders could be found. Everybody was still at rest after the joys of the day before and we were finally  starting to move towards 6 o’clock in Sindangbarang, despite being ready for departure since half past 4 o’clock. Sleepily the caravan moved towards the sea.

The ride in the soft sand of the dune was very attractive as the prescribed route led almost all alongside the coast and we had the wide blue sea with its mighty waves crashing into the shore to our right and the green coastal hills on the left. The morning before sunrise was agreeably cool and the fine water mist of the crashing waves was refreshing us and the horses. After two hours the tide increased more and more and the outliers of the waves were splashing under the feet of our horses. The crashing waves on the Southern coast of Java that approach in giant waves from the open sea only to foamingly break against the insurmountable wall is one of the noble sights of nature which the eye never tires to look at, which the memory will forever preserve. Enormous, boundless, holy is the power of the elements; how small and weak is man in comparison!

Thousands of crabs were running back and forth on the warm sand in which we found large pieces of pumice which the sea has disgorged and which are said to come from the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883.

Near a cadaver of a dead horse I observed a sea eagle with a fully white breast and head in the same color. Later I saw a second specimen sitting on a barren palm tree.

At one place rocks were barring the way to the beach so that we had to take a detour deep into the shore land- Even there we were faced with many obstacles, especially the rather wide Tji Udjong (Oedjong) that lay in such turns that we had to cross it three times in a very short distance. The first time on an improvised raft on which the horses were loaded too. the other two times wading across whereas we were submerged rather deeply in the water. An especially stubborn pony jumped from the raft into the river and swam happily to the other shore so that this intermezzo had no other disadvantage than the fact that the rider of that pony had to sit on a water-soaked saddle.

The wading of the river offered a pretty view due to the depth of the water: In front rode always our local guide, then followed I on my white mare which by the way behaved very sensibly in the water, then the other gentlemen and at the end the hunting baggage train on ponies which advanced partly swimming partly splashing and sometimes only keeping the head above the water.

We became in fact completely wet during each crossing but considered this an agreeable bath as the heat was intense. The sun mean very well, it sent its vertical hot rays down upon us. The temperature was today for once suitable for an equatorial zone!

Again at the beach we finally turned after a ride of 20 km to the north and stood after a short while in front of the camp in Tjipandak which we would occupy during the next few days. Something more habitable and cosy one could not find. With loud shouts of joy and appreciation we greeted Mr. Borrel, a  friend of Kerkhoven, who had rushed ahead a few days before to create this camp here. At the shore of the glittering blue Tji Pandak that rushes similar to a mountain river were huts between green trees, built airily completely out of bamboo while  palm leaves formed the walls and the roof. In the center of the camp stood some kind of platform on poles under a palm leaves roof which was to serve as our dining room. To the right was my accommodation, to the left those of my entourage. In the background were huts intended for Hodek and the servants. For the horses there were provided open barns. In front of the camp there was a small hut in the water to allow taking a bath or sunning oneself without the danger of catching a sunstroke.

This was all but just the right kind for a camp in the jungle. Mr. Borrel had fully taken into consideration the climatic and local relations and left out every unnecessary comfort; one could thus live completely out in the open but was protected against the sun and enjoyed the agreeable refreshing night thanks to the river nearby.

Thus we intend to live truly in an Arcadian way in our small valley cut off from the world. The hours not devoted to hunting we wanted to spend in conversation and rest in the dining hut, dive from time to time into the water of the mountain river whose clear cool water offers a delicious bath and would refresh us. No mail, no telegraph, no steaming locomotive would interrupt the pleasant calm. I greet you, virginal nature that surrounds us here in such a lovely manner! Today still, a hunt was planned. The result of my desires namely should be to bag a Banteng and bring its splendidly horned head back as a trophy.  Bantengs (Bos sondaicus) which live in herds are truly the largest wild cattle of the present era in the Indian islands, Siam and Burma. Mr. Borrel reported that all was ready and placed himself as a guide on a Sandelhout pony  at the front of the column. Close to the camp fresh tracks of Bantengs had been found and thus two drives were to be undertaken from there. The ride to the place was again very tiring for the horses as we had to pass over very steep ridges and the river had to be waded across three times. The first two crossings went rather well, at the last one we had to go so deep into the rapidly flowing water that the small ponies came across only with difficulties.

The ground we wanted to hunt in had a different character than the areas we had up to now crossed. The formation, however, was the same, but here the highlands cut by valleys and filled with gorges was not covered equally with woods anymore but had extended green areas  with Alang grass between patches of woods. Apparently large forest fires had raged here some time ago and laid bare the ground in numerous places.

This spot was the favorite place of the Bantengs that stay in the thickets of the woods during the day and venture out towards evening to those spots where the Alang grass offers saplings for grazing.  The only possible art of hunting Bantengs here is the drive, a chase through the impenetrable thickets is not possible. After the end of the rainy season, that is the beginning of May,  the natives ignite the dry Alang areas so that then the game can be easily discovered in forest clusters and confirmed. Drives can then be immediately undertaken. Unfortunately my presence on Java was still during the rainy season, which made hunting extremely difficult due to the tall and still green Alang grass. The discovery of game was nearly impossible and even game that emerged out of a thicket was only visible from a few paces away in the tall dense grass — The Alang grass was in many places so high that not even a horse could be seen in it, the points of the grass stalks could even rise higher than the head of a rider.

Hunting Bantengs is performed in the current era in the following matter: The drivers surround a clearing and defend it in creating great noise with bamboo rattles after the lifting shot, while individual hunters enter into the clearing and as soon as they have found a track, send out the dogs that will bark as soon as they discover the game. If this method is unsuccessful, all are ordered to advance into the clearing if this is possible but usually without much success due to the hunting methods used everywhere in the southern regions.

Disorder, carelessness and waste of time by the drivers was very noticeable today. In a systematic and correct drive it should not have been too difficult in my opinion to bag some Bantengs. But then this rare species would soon go extinct. Apparently it is only due to the deficiency of the hunting organization that this mighty wild cows had not yet been eradicated.

As our chief hunter served a Mohammedan preacher (Haji) who was considered the best authority on hunting matters here and forcefully took charge of the affair.

The first drive ended completely without a result. Originally it was intended to follow-up the first drive with a second drive but Mr. Kerkhoven believed to desist as the drive had made all game escape so that there was no hope to achieve better results in the second attempt. Thus we returned, crossing the river three times again, to our palm huts where a meal cooked by a Javanese cooking artist was awaiting us. After the conclusion of the meal we went to rest at an early hour of the night.

I was already sleeping when a loud noise woke me as close to my rest an animal voice was heard. I jumped up and soon noticed the animal whose sounds had awoken me so abruptly. It was a gecko, one of these large lizards whose loud screams might mislead a novice to  think that it was a large animal. The light of a few matches which I had quickly ignited chased away the intruder that did not appear again during the night.

Links

  • Location: Tji Pandak, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 19.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Tanggeng to Sindangbarang, 18 April 1893

Today, the first of the month Sawal after the end of the fasting month Ramelan (Ramasan) or Pasa, was the Javanese feast of Idul-Fitr. This day — Garebeg Puwasa day — is considered the start of the new year by the natives which became apparent to us during the ride when the small settlements we passed through were all filled with music and a festive air.

After a long refreshing sleep we departed to first climb a mountain along our route whose steepness was in no way less demanding than one of our own mountain trails. The sky had completely cleared up, the sun stood high and we enjoyed a wonderful view upon the countless mountain peaks and volcanoes during our way up and on the way down upon the mountain ranges and surrounding valleys. A large part of the Preang residency lay in front of our eyes and feet, a splendid piece of West Java.

The full enjoyment of these enchanting panoramic views suffered from the care demanded by the difficult terrain so that we had to attend to our horses, as the rain of the last few days had made the steps cut into the steepest parts of the mountain trail very smooth and slippery so that our horses had great difficulty in climbing. Finally, with great effort we reached the top which marked the divide between the districts Djampang wetan and Tjidamar. There we were greeted by the district chief of Tjidamar with many bows.

Our very tired horses required a short rest and then the route descended on relatively good trails only to go up again. The scenery surpassed in beauty even that seen the day before which had enchanted us so much. This was true tropical forest in which one picturesque view displaced the next one; each, however, was enchanting and unique. Here giant trees are lining the trail that was thickly covered with grass. There emerges rampantly growing brushwood in a clearing, Then we are enclosed for miles by a thick high forest which provided cover for game that was unreachable for the hunters. Whether it was a tree, a bush, a herb or moss, every plant was luxurious and beautiful, the diversity of the plants decorating the ground seemed inexhaustible. Thus the trunk of a dead tree provided the seeding space and root bed for twenty of the most different plant species. We all agreed that the vegetation of Java surpassed the splendid plant variety of Ceylon by far, to say nothing about the other floral kingdoms of India.

The poverty of the variety of birds was noticed by us as, apart from some Columbidae as well as some small nectarines, I only saw a single large hornbill.

Starting at a settlement where the horses were switched, the trail descended steeply towards the Southern coast of Java as well as towards Sindangbarangab which was situated close to the sea coast. Now we saw between the trees deep down below us the glittering wide blue sea and were able to distinguish clearly the white line of the strong breaking waves.

The descent happened mostly on foot with us leading the horses by the reins. Then we crossed the deep river Sadea, which went very quickly despite the small bamboo barges we used that could only carry one horse at a time.

After 7,5 km in plain terrain along the river shore we reached the small rest lodge of the district village of Sindangbarang,  which was surrounded by a settlement and lay in the shadow of mighty trees and was to serve us as our much desired accommodation after a long ride. Our horses too seemed to appreciate the rest. They had covered 28 km of very demanding terrain so that they had to be pushed at the end of the ride and were stumbling constantly.

Despite Sindangbarang’s location about 20 minutes from the sea coast, one could still hear the booming sea in the rest lodge. Towards evening I went to the beach with the gentlemen of my entourage in order to bag some ornithological catches. We enjoyed the view of the powerful breakwater that expands over the totally flat sand  just like at Ostend or Helgoland. But just the view of the salty water did not provide sufficient entertainment and thus Clam and I ran without a plan into the man-high waves and took a gorgeous refreshing bath. The other gentlemen soon followed our example and now we were standing in the most diverse costumes on the beach and let the foaming waves splash around us which was very agreeable after the heat of the day. Our clothes which we had not taken off were however considerably damaged so that we  returned to the rest lodge all happy and entertained but in very deficient clothing.

To honor the great Ramelan feast there was a common spectacle in the village so that I made an extended tour to learn more about the customs and manners on Java, but it did not offer much that was new or remarkable. Some native women were beating again in time with bamboo sticks upon a hollowed out tree trunk, singing or actually howling, while nearby large crowds were packed around a Wajang. This Wajang, which reminded me vividly of a Javanese version of a „Punch and Judy theater“,  was similar to a shadow play which we had seen in Garut.

Until late in the night one could hear the monotonous beats of the gong and melancholic music of the Gamelang which didn’t help to catch some sleep that was so necessary for all and led not to words of appreciation but rather to expressions of displeasure.

Links

  • Location: Sindangbarang, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 18.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die Journalisten“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Robert der Teufel“.

Cianjur to Tanggeng, 17 April 1893

Today starts our hunting expedition to Cipandak which will take us across the jungles of Preang. Already at 5 o’clock in the morning, reveille was called and soon afterwards the special train departed which took us within half an hour to Tjibeber. Here it was time to say good-bye to our travel companions and the resident and entrust us to the guidance of Mr. Kerkhoven and Baron van Heeckeren van Walien, the two main organizers of the hunts who were expecting us with horses that we should use. After examining the saddling and bridles, the caravan set off, the necessary baggage having been sent ahead the day before, carried by coolies.

Our cavalcade was quite strangely composed and would have made many European spectators smile. In front of the column rode a native official with two village councilors on very small ponies. Then followed I and the gentlemen of my entourage, all in the most „tropical“ costume on excellent horses provided by the two planters. The end of the column was formed by our servants many of whom were riding a horse for the first time and were comical to look at on their fidgeting Sandelhout ponies, as well as Hodek and his assistant, furthermore a large number of village elders with gold laced hats and in half Dutch, half Javanese clothes.

In very beautiful and relatively not hot weather we advanced one behind the other towards the mountains. As we were at first riding through a small plain I would have preferred to proceed at a canter but  Mr Kerkhoven made me aware that the undulating terrain we would soon enter would only permit to ride all day in trot. This perspective did not meet my approval as we had to cover a large distance of 47 km. Truly after a short time the road began to ascend steeply up the mountains. The road was filled with stones and very difficult for our horses.

During the day we found ample compensation for the uninterrupted ride at a trot in the beauty of the countryside we were passing through. The monotonous rice paddies of the plains ended and the vegetation changed its character. Where there were no coffee or cinchona plantations, gorgeous jungle was rising high. Behind us lay culture in front of us nature! There stood on both sides of the road sky high Rasamala trees (Altingia excelsa, part of the family of Hamamelideae), whose trunks would grow up to 45 m and were the best wood for carpentry next to the teak tree; bananas and banians; Urostigma species (Urostigma religiosum, altissimum); all kinds of low jungle trees such as Ficus valida, obovata, javanica and Myristica species; thick groups of Bambusaceae etc. In between all kinds of herb- or treelike ferns were growing most luxuriously and orchids in full bloom and in hundreds of forms, called Angrek in Malay. Here I saw those plants grow for the first time in open air and enjoyed the sight of the rich variety of enchantingly beautiful flowers.

The road was meandering without break soon up over hills, ridges and saddles, down into green valleys and soon up steeply to cragged mountains. The road seems to be never driven in despite its width but only used by riders and pedestrians. The upkeep of the road is extraordinarily difficult due to the considerable slopes and the strong downpours in this zone. Every 4 m to 5 m stood a numbered stone that marked the road which had to be maintained by work groups from the inhabitants of the closest villages.

From time to time one sees small villages made completely out of bamboo, especially where two plantations are close together. The villages  look nice and friendly and are almost all built upon poles due to the copious rain. Despite being in the jungle, elements of culture had already reached these villages. A proof was supplied by finding a Singer sewing machine in one of the houses!

The population in this area seemed to be even more submissive than those in the northern part; as already at a great distance they took up their squatting position with downcast head and eyes as a sign of respect as if nobody was deemed worthy enough to look us in the face.

I rode on this tour on an old white horse named „Ratu“ that had been imported from Australia that took me despite its advanced age at to the cinchona plantations in Sukanagara (Soekanagara) in a kind of fast trot of 4,5 hours. Here the administrator, Mr Vlooten, invited me to a breakfast in his nicely decorated one story house. With great pleasure I accepted the friendly offer and stayed half an hour in the gentleman’s house at Sukanagara, where I also found a stove to my surprise. Answering my question Mr Vlooten explained that at an altitude of 877 m above the sea level it was very cool in the morning in August so that he had to heat. So close to the equator I would not have thought this possible!

Again in the saddle we entered the jungle, leaving behind the extended plantation dedicated entirely to the cultivation of cinchona. We had switched horses in Sukanagara and I now rode a delicate thoroughbred mare raised by Baron van Heeckeren that had earlier won many prizes on the racing course.

Just in the woods we were reminded about the still active rainy season by a heavy downpour; first heavy drops were falling and finally a heavy storm came down on us whose force made within half an hour all the streams and rivers rise so highly that we could only pass with difficulties two rivers that would otherwise have been easy. The first water course named Tji Djampang could be still passed by riding across, even though the high waves were breaking nearly above us and our horses. At the second river named Tji Lumut, riding across was impossible. We had to use a bamboo raft while the horses swam across led by the bridle.

I noticed here two large black monkeys of the kind which are called in Java Budeng (Semnopithecus maurus) in the branches of a tall tree where even the long-tailed four handed animal had sought shelter from the storm.

The downpours softened the road, the clay ground became very smooth and difficult for the horses so that we advanced very slowly. The jungle had ended in some places and given way to ridges and mountain slopes without trees but covered densely with alang.

Towards evening we passed over the Tji Buni (Boeni) through a high covered bridge. The river was foamingly roaring over the rocks like one of our local mountain rivers and finally went out of sight at a chasm. On the opposite shore, in the midst of all the green scenery, the small village of Tanggeng was greeting us where we would spend the night in a government bungalow, in Malay Passang Rahal, a lodge for government officials. Gamelang music was heard at the entrance to the village while a couple of the village belles expressed their joy about our arrival by smiling and singing while beating bamboo sticks on a wood block which thus produced a dull tune.

This lodge too had been built out of bamboo only and had just enough room for six among us — me, Wurmbrand, Prònay. Clam, Kerkhoven and Heeckeren — while the rest had to sleep on the veranda. Behind the lodge there were simple barns for the horses.

We exchanged our completely wet clothes for dry ones, took a frugal meal and smoking sat together for a short time on the veranda while out in the distance one could hear the sound of the Gamelang which reminded me about our Southern Slavic music. Then we went to bed as we had completed an intense march. The monotonous chirping of a Javanese locust and the tiny whirring of countless beetles, butterflies and other insects that all  had taken refuge in the house from the rain swayed us into a refreshing well earned slumber.

Links

  • Location: Tanggeng, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 17.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Die neue Zeit“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Cavalleria Rusticana“.

Cianjur, 16 April 1893

This regent too wanted me to enjoy a hunt. He therefore invited me to a deer hunt in his favorite private hunting ground Panoembangan. Cianjur was still asleep when we left the small town. Only here and there a Chinese was visible who was just opening his shop. But the tireless escort was already in the square and accompanied us at a brisk gallop which again put some of the gentlemen in a tough situation. After only a few Paals (1 Paal = 1506.9 m), their up to then considerable number of riders had reduced itself to a minimum as some had been separated from their horses and others did not manage to guide their horses past the houses along the road.

This time we did not use the large government carriage as in earlier occasions but a very light hunting wagon with a roof which was much faster but had the big disadvantage of being built only for the short legs of the natives and we thus were sitting in a very uncomfortable position.

First the road led across the plain through a valley of many villages and numerous rice paddies. Then we turned to the north-east and reached a mountainous terrain which contained besides a few plantation mostly savannah of alang and forests.

In this mountainous terrain we advanced naturally much slower than in the valley below despite the exertions of our ponies. Some inclines could only be conquered with the assistance of an army of coolies who pushed behind each wagon, heaving and dragging while the coachmen were shouting and cracking their whips.

Strange were the numerous bamboo bridges of the roads we drove through. At a glance these filigrane constructions seemed not to look very trustworthy, as the trusses were only about 30 cm strong bamboo poles while the cross beams are even thinner. There are no pillars, the bridge hangs freely over the valley or river on bamboo ropes that are tied on both sides to trees.  Solid bridge fillings is missing too. It is replaced by woven bamboo fibers that resemble a mat. If a wagon is driving over such a bridge, the whole construction is swinging and creaking alarmingly even though the elastic material is said to have great lifting power. The Dutch resident seemed to be of a different opinion and not have much trust in the bridges in his residency as he asked us repeatedly to leave the carriage and pass the bridge on foot. Very naive was the behavior of the coolies: In the opinion to reduce the strains upon the bridge, about fifty guys carried the wagons across.

After a drive of three hours we finally arrived with our horses completely spent at the regent’s delicate hunting lodge built out of bamboo. The friendly owner offered us first a snack and use the time it took to eat to make final preparations with the hunters.

On a mountain ledge we saw an immense crowd of drivers who were beautifully assembled from the valley up to the top of the mountain.

The hunting ground was this time a mountain range without trees, completely covered in tall thick alang grass through which the drivers were to march towards us. Along a foot path on the ledge we were assigned raised stands all made out of bamboo that offered a view upon the grass jungle. The brave people had decorated my raised stand with crossed flags in black-yellow and red-white. As much as I appreciated the attention, I still asked to remove the flags as it would chase away the game.

I took up position at the outward right flank; next to me were the other gentlemen of my entourage. At a sign from the regent the drive started with the terrible noise of the drivers who advanced concentrically from the hills toward our position.They happily used their bamboo rattles which jumped up and down the whole line like platoon fire. Strangely the drive advanced in complete order even if at a very slow pace.

Just at the start of the hunt I saw an animal and a a calf cross at a large distance; after a while they came a bit closer in full flight and I managed to kill the animal. When the drivers had approached to about 800 paces, a strong animal and a spike became visible that collapsed after fleeing from my shots and died. Finally — the drivers were already close to the dais — a good deer escaped out of a bamboo thicket and fled just in my direction. Hit by my fire, it collapsed.

The other shooters had not killed anything; Wurmbrand shot in vain at long distance at an animal while one of the other gentlemen saw the game flee before he had even arrived at his hunting position.

The six-ender antler of the deer I killed was still in velvet. The deer on Java as well as those in India seem not to have a season for casting the antlers as at the same time there are deer with totally used up antlers, deer in velvet and those that had cast off their antlers.

Questioned about the reasons for the meager result of the hunt the native hunter explained that the current time period was not very favorable for a deer hunt as the abundant rain had led to very tall grass which made the finding of game and the hunt much more difficult.

By the way, the big game has already been mostly killed in the whole of Java. Hunting is free, the Javanese nobles are eager hunters and everywhere everything is mercilessly hunted that comes into view. The quantity of game that the island originally had may be assessed by the following:  When 25 years ago a Dutch resident visited one of the provinces of central Java, the native regent organized a hunt in which 1200 pieces of game were killed on a single day.This fact was reported to me by an eye witness who also said that the area was foul for weeks afterwards as the killed game could not be removed due to a lack of manpower but left behind on the spot.

At the end of the hunt all the drivers, more than 2000 men in numbers, streamed to my dais and started upon the sign of the chief hunter, a small old man, into a deafening cheer that nearly made the air tremble. The four bagged pieces were laid out beside the dais and soon I was standing in a a downpour of hats as the densely packed crowd had thrown their straw or bamboo hats into the air in order to applaud again.

Even more original was the procession to the hunting lodge. This procession was led by uniformed minor officials who performed a jig in front of the game carried on poles like King David did in front of the ark of the covenant. Then followed  the 2000 drivers, in whose midst I was quasi wedged in, all of them shouting and crying and making noise with bamboo rattles. A stranger who encountered this procession would think that a legion of madmen had escaped out of the madhouse and was enjoying their regained freedom. At the hunting lodge, the exaltation fortunately stopped.

Links

  • Location: Cianjur, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 16.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers. The Wiener Salonblatt mentions that FF has set course for Java from Singapore on 11 April 1894.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Margarethe (Faust)“.

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“.

Garut, 14 April 1893

Travelling in the typical volcano country of Java I could not resist to ascend a still active volcano, all the more so as the known Papandayan, one of the peaks of the South-eastern mountain range of Preang, is easily accessible from Garut. So we started very early in the morning and reached the foot of Papandayan after a drive of about three hours.The route is very difficult. It is very steep and the road goes continuously up and down which is the case of all roads in Java. The roads are generally very good, have a firm base, good water drain systems, firm bridges and other installations. The layout, however, is quite primitive as usually a straight line is chosen over hills and valleys and serpentines and similar technical solutions to ascend heights seemed unknown to the builders of Java’s roads or at least are not used by them.

Our carriage was drawn by four Javanese ponies that marched at a fast pace. They were driven by the coachman as well as additionally two boys with whips who stood on the rear axle of the carriage and jumped from time to time from the carriage, ran in front and urged the ponies on. All inclines were surpassed at full speed. The three persons beat the four ponies in unison and the peak was quickly reached. If the inclines proved too much or would have taken too long to surpass, two strong bulls were yoked to the carriage too so that we were driving with a six animal team. As carriage brakes or wheel spikes were unknown here, the Javanese use a primitive method to prevent the rapid descent of a carriage in hilly terrain. In such a case the carriage is fastened with rope which is held by about twenty coolies who are charged with the task of slowing down the speed of the descending carriage by the counterweight of their bodies.

On the whole tour to the Papandayan we were protected by escorts in which Wedanas or Demangs (district chiefs) and Djaros (Dessa chiefs or village chairmen) besides an number of the village elders and other local dignitaries rode along. These escorts offered, if this was possible, an even more comical look that the riders in Bandung and Garut. The fast speed of our drive seemed to be unfamiliar to the gentlemen and certainly too fast as many times a dignitary was separated from his horse or was carried nolens volens by the animal during the ride through of a village into the next barn.

We passed numerous Kampongs or Dessas, as the native villages are called. The leave their dwellings and assemble along the road to greet us. The civilized settled Javanese are characterized by their gentleness, calm and sense of order. Their main occupation was agriculture to which they tend much more industriously than the inhabitants of continental India. As the most numerous tribe of the Malay race, the Javanese generally are slim, well proportioned, of small stature with a light brown, bronze skin. Beard growth is very meager.  The long hair is carried in an intertwined knot at the back of the head. The women, much smaller than their men are also of well proportioned stature.

The clothing is very simple: the men usually wear a calico jacket (Badju) that reaches the hip and some kind of female skirt called Bebed. On the head they carry a turban-like wrapped cloth whose ends West Javanese let hang out  from the head; the women wear a sarong (Kain), slung around the waist as well as a breast cloth which covers the upper body knotted in the manner of a Scottish plaid. Above this the wear a calico jacket (Kabaya). The coolies often wear but a loin cloth while the children are most of the times completely nude.

Of jewelry there is little to be seen among the people. Instead in every man’s belt is his favorite weapon, the kris or duwong, a dagger-like sharply honed knife whose  sheath is ornamented more or less richly according to the wealth of the owner.

The poor Javanese lives together with but one wife; the rich one, however, arranges his household, according to the rules of Islam, as a polygamy. In all cases, the women who carry the burden of most of the work are completely subordinate to the men. The way the Javanese mothers carry their babies is strange. The baby, wrapped in a cloth, is carried above the waist.

The general impression of the Javanese I received is very favorable. This judgment is based on two special moments: the agreeable cleanliness of the Javanese dwellings and the respectful and at the same time friendly manner towards foreigners.

At the foot of the volcano, riding ponies were awaiting us next to a house of a government official. The ponies were to carry us up the steep path after a short break.

On the open space in front of the government building multiple Gamelangs were posted whose combined play made an ear-shattering noise. Here I could closely examine the different instruments that the Javanese musicians use. Especially the Rebab with its two metal strings, a sort of slim violin with a crooked bow; then the Gendeer, a combination of upright bamboo tubes that are beaten with small hammers and produce different sounds according to their size. Furthermore the Gambang kaju, an instrument similar to our xylophone that consists of a box in which are wood and metal plates which are beat with wooden sticks.The different Bonongs, metal bowls that are hung between bamboo poles as well as large gongs, kettledrums and  drum-like instruments that complete the Gamelang.

Finally we had seen everything; we mounted the ponies and now we advanced at a trot towards the peak of the Papandayan. The path led through gardens, coffee and cinchona plantations; then came open areas covered with alang and finally virgin jungle that accompanied us nearly up to the crater. The ride in the middle of this tropical luxurious forest with its countless clear streams and sources was gorgeous. The path ascended at a more and more steep grade and was so smooth in the darkness of the forest that our small ponies could climb up only with great effort.

At a distance of 1 km from the crater, the character of the landscape changes. The tall trees, the tree ferns and palms recede and bush-like myrtle takes their place. Along the path one already finds lava and pieces of sulphur; the sources emerging out of the ground are hot and contain much iron and sulphur. The atmosphere lets one expect the presence of a crater. At the turn of the path, suddenly all vegetation ceases. We are in the midst of a sea of stones. White stones crossed by sulphurous veins are surrounding us. Large naked rocks lay around in wild disorder; Naked, the stones of both mountain sides limiting this desert are shimmering. No bird, no butterfly, no insect. Everything is dead and monotonous. In some distance one can already see the fog-like vapors of the crater rise. We are at the spot where the last eruption has created an eternally bare debris field and thus has left indelible marks.

Once the volcano Papandayan had a height of up to 3000 m; but about 50 years ago there was such an extraordinary eruption that a vast stone mass sent destruction down the mountain to the valleys, so that the actual crater now is at an altitude of only 2634 m above sea level.

There was still a very steep stretch to cover; our horses climbed like goats over the stones, then we stood at the edge of the crater. Papandayan is one of the few volcanoes whose crater one can climb and thus permits to examine the subterranean forces at work really closely.

The crater has the shape of a cone that is covered all over with burnt pumice stone as well as yellow glittering sulphurous crystals and sulphur pieces of the strangest shape. These sulphur products are created out of the slowly cooling vapors that escaping out of numerous small openings with a hissing sound fill the atmosphere with foul-smelling suffocating air. The volcano also throws out boiling water and out of many openings and cuts hot springs emerge. We pushed poles that we had taken along into these opening and threw stones into them which were thrown out again in a hot state. We also tried to open the ground at multiple spots. We had barely pierced a few centimeters when boiling water was gushing out or whizzing pieces of stone were sent flying into the air, driven by sulphur gas. The cone of the crater is totally hollow. Everywhere it resounded and echoed. In many spots it is even dangerous to walk as the fragile crust will split all to easily and crumble. Only recently a Malay had disappeared in such a crack and was never seen again. The booming, hissing and whizzing, the pungent and burning vapors nearly intoxicated us so that we could only breathe freely many hundred paces from the crater. Unfortunately we noticed that all golden objects we were carrying had turned black.

Still within the range of the crater, the government had built a bamboo hut for my visit in which a rich breakfast was served. But I must admit that other meals tasted better as in this atmosphere all dishes seemed to be spiked with the ingredients of this witch’s kitchen. There was music here too at this altitude. Without interruption, the monotonous sounds of the bamboo instruments were played while we were at the top of the volcano.

After I had collected some stone samples I left the strange volcano after a too short stay which sent after us a thundering last salute of departure.

At the location where our carriages were ready, the natives arranged a ram fight which the animals executed with grim determination. This spectacle differed from similar ones seen which we had seen in India by the fact that the people here let the rams fight to the end until one of the two combatants gave up and beaten, fled the field.

The regent who had heard about my passion of collecting was so kind to arrange an ethnographic exhibition after our return to the place in front of his palace. I could then select the suitable objects for my collection. There were all kinds of instruments that the natives used to cultivate the ground as well as use in their homes. Furthermore tools for artisans as smiths, potters etc. Some music instruments  and complete Gamelangs; weapons, mostly arrows, bows and kris.

In the evening we again enjoyed a performance of a Wajang, namely this time a Wajang Kulit, in which colorfully painted leather puppets were moved behind a white paper screen as shadow figures. As in the other Wajangs music was played and out of the background a nasal voice narrated the story which had a tiring effect.

At the conclusion of the performance the comely pair, the regent and his court lady, again amused us with a dance. This one was performed, apparently due to the success of the dancers the evening before, with even much more vigor and ended with the enhanced detail that not only a Ganymede appeared but three Wedanas who offered champaign.

Links

  • Location: Garut, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 14.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Gringoire“.

Buitenzorg to Garut, 13 April 1893

As the special train which was to take us to some interesting points in the interior of the country was set to depart at half past 6 o’clock, I made a very early morning tour of Buitenzorg. It only had begun to dawn; many of the winged singers were awake and sang their songs in the tree tops of the botanical garden. In the Chinese quarter its industrious inhabitants started their daily work. Across a splendid forest in which were many Malay villages and on across many rice paddies we entered a deep valley to arrive at the bathing place Soekaradja which was populated by a great number of bathing men and women who performed their ritual washings.

The European houses in this valley form their own quarter that like the European quarter in  Batavia is characterized by its niceness, cosiness and the splendor of its numerous gardens. From the barracks and the obelisk honoring a governor runs an alley of slim very tall trees — I guess they might be at least 14 m to 18 m — to the train station of Buitenzorg. To my great surprise I learned that these trees had reached this height within four years. This must be the fastest growing trees in the world!

Soon our train departed for Garoet. The railway leads from Buitenzorg in a southern direction and enters at Tjitjoeroeg station into the Preang residence where it turns east. The drive to the destination Garoet was very attractive. The landscape is lovely. The traveler imagines himself to be in a park with tropical vegetation with attractive views upon hills and mountain ranges but especially upon the spiky cones of many volcanoes of which there are so many in Java. In deeply cut valleys and gorges flow rivers and streams with almost vertically descending shores. We only detected them when we arrived at the edge of the shore. The railway director who accompanied me  as a polite Cicerone answered all my questions and was not a little proud about his mountain railway which extends trough the country in frequent turns and crosses over valleys and gorges with their watercourses on audacious bridges the highest of which leads over Tji Taroem.

Just beyond Buitenzorg the land in the valleys and on the mountainsides along the railway line is intensively cultivated. Here, sugar cane, coffee, tea, cinchona bark and especially rice is grown which is the main staple of the native population. The rice paddies are not adding to the beauty and variety of the landscape due to their monotonous impression upon the spectator. It merits to observe how skilfully the Javanese manage to transform the ground into terraces necessary for the irrigation of the fields. The land seems to be built up in stacked layers like upon a relief map.

Where too large distances from the villages or the composition of the soil have prevented the creation of fields, the train is driving through completely tropical jungle or over large areas that are covered with no other plant than the reed-like blady grass which displaces any other plant and stands so densely that it it nearly impenetrable for humans.

Who else than a specialist researching the flora of Java might describe the luxuriousness and beauty, the variety and strangeness of the plants adequately which this island favored by a constant stream of warm ocean air and rainfall to its low-lying tropical plain, its subtropical virgin mountain land in which the higher regions of the volcanic mountain ranges are covered with numerous European plants!

Tropical evergreen forests, palm trees — among them, the nipa palm (Nipa fructicans), whose leaves are used for the production of cigarettes (Rokos), while the juice provides brown sugar and palm wine — bamboo, pandanus ornament the plains covered by the alang savannah; yew-like pinewoods, oak and teak trees, flower rich Zingiberaceae, broad leaved Musaceae, furthermore tall fern trees covered in orchids and Lycopodia, overgrown by moss and ferns, fill  the jungles and gorges at medium altitude. Horsetails, blackberries,  pinewoods reminding of cypresses, bushes and herbs of a temperate zone rise just up to the green slopes of the craters on whose edges a strange flora is prospering.

Thus even the autochthonous plants of Java are numbered in the thousands of families of which only around 7000 have been cataloged botanically, a range of plants which can be used as food, condiments, woods, weaving material, medicine, all kinds of fruits, juices and resins supply the natives with all they need and which seems to be sufficient for the planters and merchants. And still the never resting long-term oriented and innovation seeking business sense of the Europeans has covered the Javanese areas with plant commodities for trade which make up now, despite being immigrants, justly the first rank of the agricultural products of Java. Africa sent coffee trees, South Asia sugar cane, tea, cinnamon, cotton, China rice, America cacao, cinchona, vanilla, tobacco — plants which are the most important export goods of Java.

At the station of the small town Tjiandjoer the seat of the native regent, I was received by him and the Dutch resident of Preang who was to accompany me on the coming tour. A native musical band squatting on the ground in the local manner played our anthem on the Gamelang which sounded quite nice in the soft accords of the tuned cymbals and the kettle-like instruments. As it had become well known that I collected ornithological objects, the natives brought a large number of living birds of which I selected some.

After a stop of ten minutes the train continued and only stopped again in Bandoeng. Here in the residency of Preang I was offered breakfast by the resident in his palace, an invitation I accepted gladly. A large crowd consisting mostly of natives but also of Europeans had assembled at the station. A four horse team, almost antediluvian wagon took us to the government building which was built in the Javanese style, of one story and was located in a very well tended clean garden.

Very funny did the Javanese escort look that was rushing around in front and behind the wagon. Local mayors and city councilors, they were our honor guard, wearing a mixtum compositum of Dutch and local clothing on very small Javanese ponies. The riders had yellow lacquered broad hats, Dutch blue coats with golden or yellow laces — of the kind our court band singers are wearing and probably in the possession of the gentlemen for quite some years,  a short sarong a police scimitar en bandoulière and white pants. The riders were barefoot and desperately held the stirrups together with their big toes. The horse-gear of many consisted solely of strings. As the small ponies often balked, many of the city fathers found themselves in critical situations which vividly exercised my laugh muscles but this did not irritate or offend the members of this motley crew at all as they themselves laughed out loud in such cases in a Homeric smile so that the drive ended in a common merry mood.

In the streets stood the densely packed natives, not all from the city but also from the surrounding areas and showed their respect by squatting and looking down upon the approach of the carriage. The natives never look at the face of the person they are greeting in this strange but very common way of greeting. Sometimes they even turn away from the person greeted and higher class Javanese, especially regents and officials complement the salute by clapping their hands above their front. I often observed that Javanese regents and even native princes, if they are spoken to by the governor general or by one of the residents,  will approach them only in a crouching manner and remain squatting or kneeling with their eyes cast down in front of the dignitary. As it was known in the areas that we were passing through that I used the special train and the locomotive was decorated with flags, the country-side population was squatting on command in the fields or villages when our trains was flying past which made a very strange impression.

Between Bandoeng and Garoet, the latter one we were now getting close to, the railway journey offered a special view upon the valley of Garoet. The train had now climbed still higher up the mountain, having passed over some high bridges and viaducts, until we could suddenly see, the luxurious, water rich valley of Garoet enclosed by mighty mountain peaks and volcanic cones. Everywhere there were rivers and stream meandering like silver threads in the gorgeous green in the evening sunshine. This valley offered an enchanting view with its rich water veins, common in all of Java.

In Garoet the reception was organized similarly as in Bandung: the antediluvian wagon with a dark colored coachman in a laced red coat with a lacquered top-hat who reminded me involuntarily about an actor in a monkey comedy; the wild riders (Banderium), the crowds and — even here a fast photographer!

I put up at a very clean and comfortable hotel consisting of multiple pavilions which was located in the middle of a garden in whose bushes and trees numerous singing birds were giving a funny concert every morning and evening.

After I had walked up and down the streets of the small city for a while and observed a couple of megabats that were all flying in the same direction to their resting places, it was time to eat. Then again a Wajang was performed in the house of the regent.

The regents are natives, most are descendants of earlier princes and thus of noble birth which carry the titles of Raden Adipatti (lieutenant colonel) or Raden (Mas) Tomenggung (major). These regents who command a whole army of officials are responsible for the political administration and the collection of taxes in their territory, the regency. They are subordinate to the Dutch resident whose wishes and orders they normally execute with utmost compliance. The office of regent can not be inherited; rather the regents are appointed on a case by case basis by the government. A practice that has proven its worth as a regent deemed not fully suitable by the government can simply be stripped of his office and the appointment given to another native nobleman. Of the 22 residencies into which all of Java is divided, 19 are regencies, in turn split into districts etc. Two of the residencies are the vassal states of Surakarta (Solo empire) und Djokjakarta (sultanate) that are independent in appearance only. These and the residency of Batavia are not organized as regencies.

As an exterior sign of dignity every regent carries a richly laced Dutch coat, a golden kris with the name of the ruler of the Netherlands an finally a richly gilt sun screen called Pajung that is carried by a servant behind the dignitary everywhere. In all of Java this sun screen fastened to a long staff serves as a sign of the most noble grandeur. Such a screen was following both the governor general as well as each resident and higher official and even I was not spared this honor. At every occasion as if it were my own shadow this golden roof was held behind and over my head. The grade of a rank is distinguished by larger or smaller amounts of gold as well as differences in colors on the screen.

The Wajang performance that the regent of Garoet had organized to honor us resembled the performance seen the day before in Buitenzorg completely with the only difference being that the pas and gestures of the dancers were even more grotesque and the performance took much longer so that the unhappy daughter of the king only acquired a groom after two hours.

Completely new was the dance which the regent performed personally at the end of the feast and which made me pull together my whole moral force in order not to burst out laughing. The regent, a rather old man, had wrapped a sky-blue band around his government uniform whose ends he was carrying with grace in his hands. He appeared in the company of a young Malay woman which was part of this court but whose actual social position I could not be determine. This lady of the court was wearing an airy dress suitable to the hot climate and started the dance by first singing the verses of a song in daring soprano and then started turning  rhythmically around her own axis. Now the regent developed his choreographic activities with his eyes chastely cast down by turning funnily around his partner and performing a grotesque dance which was a mix between a  pas of a prima ballerina and the comportment of a blackcock in full mating season. As soon as the dancer approached the lady with delicate jumps, she answered these with flight-like escape so that the dance turned into a danced game of catch which was not lacking in comic and original behavior.

When finally the power of the old man started to be exhausted, a lower civil servant approached by solemn bounces and poured the tired artist sparkling champaign. The regent continued to dance around the sparkling goblet for a while and then grasped and emptied with visible delight while the lady of the court who had received nothing dried her sweat upon her front with a corner of her scanty costume.

After this exquisite feast I returned to my hotel. Between the palm trees in the garden hundreds of fireflies were whirring through the mild tropical night.

Links

  • Location: Garut, Indonesia
  • ANNO – on 13.04.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Das Heiratsnest“, while the k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der Freischütz“.