The Melanau traditionally believed that most sickness are caused by supernatural elements. Therefore, they can identify more than 40 main such spirits.
In its early stage, or if it is slight, the sickness is usually dealt with by the Dukun. Thus, an expert in herbal cures and magic charms, who would also prescribe medicine. If the sickness persists, then an expert would be invited to carve image of the responsible spirit in sago pith, called a Blum / Belum or Melanau statue.
After the appropriate spell is said over it and a mixture of chewed betel nut, sireh leaves and lime spat at it, the bad spirit is said to have left the patient and entered the Melanau statue. After water has been poured over the image and patient, recovery would take place if the diagnosis has been correct. Thus, the spirit would remain in the Melanau statue for 3 days. After that, it would be taken to the proper habitation of the spirit, the jungle or the river, and abandoned there.
If the above ritual is not successful then more complicated healing ceremonies like the Berbayoh, Baguda and Berayun will be carried out in which images are sometimes used.
Height: 39.5 cm / 15.6 inches
Base: 11.5 x 9.5 cm / 4.5 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 1.2 kg / 2.6 lb
After packing: 2 kg / 4.4 lb
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