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Saturday, May 22, 2010

PANGAZOU - also known as Huguan Siou

In the olden days headhunting was the practice of the KadazanDusunMurut peoples who in their quests to protect their communities of customary rights. Headhunting and collection of skulls were significance of bravery and strength to protect their own communities from the onslaught of their own communal enemies, particularly from land grabbing. The more skulls one had collected, the more he was considered and revered as their leader and thus known as PANGAZOU.

The term PANGAZOU was/is also known as HUGUAN SIOU (brave leader) - a roving fighter in his quest to protect his community from being harassed by the community’s enemies. Human skulls were considered trophies as a yardstick to show that one had killed his enemies in order to be known as PANGAZOU.

Legendary Monsopiad from Kandazon was one of them. His grave is still found at Kandazon, Terawi.

A person with prized possession of skulls in those days was recognized for his fighting prowess and as such he was most sought after by lady suitors. Perhaps the number of skulls he possessed would probably account to meet her dowry, without which one would not get married that easily.

Ina Bianti at extreme left.

In Kadazan society, particularly from Penampang region, the skulls were appeased with animal sacrificial blood in a ceremony called ‘Magang’ or animistic rituals. This practice had since stopped long after the Catholic missionary had evangelized the Kadazan communities and when there was no longer ‘Bobohizans’ (Kadazan Priestess) to perpetuate the rituals. The actual picture of relocating the Skulls from Ina Bianti's house to a new location at Gundohing Dounsia Moujing's new house.

The pictures shown in this video are related to the Magang ceremony in Kandazon, Penampang in honour of the legendary Mosopiad who had killed and collected his enemies heads consisting 42 skulls.

The Chief Kadazan High Priestess happens to be my great great grand mother, Bianti, the descendant of Monsopiad. I was one of those witnesses during the ceremony when the Skulls were actually relocated from the old house of Ina Bianti to the present house of Gundohing Dounsia Moujing.

"The headhunting raids of the former days has stopped entirely, but the instinct to hunt is merely dormant ... "