Jailangkung: Chinese Spirit-basket-divination in Indonesia

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Spirit-basket-divination is a 1,500 year-old Chinese divination method that might have been written off as extinct, had it not been rediscovered in Indonesia. Here the practice is not only alive; it is widespread and thriving to an extent that might be described as endemic to the country. This article1 presents perhaps the first ethnographic account of spirit-basket-divination and fills a gap in world-knowledge on methods of divination, as well as provides an important trace of Sinic contributions to Indonesian culture. Edward B. Tylor had written how the global distribution of games might provide anthropological evidence of a relationship between communities. Jailangkung, Indonesian spirit-basket-divination is a living legacy of 1,600 years of Chinese-Indonesian relationships, a connection that has been largely neglected because scholarly attention on the socio-cultural history of Indonesia has hitherto been inordinately focused upon Indic influences.


Asian History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

Research Areas



Asian Studies Association of Australia 18th Conference

City or Country

Adelaide, Australia

This document is currently not available here.