Keeping the ancient wisdom alive in the Kingdom of Boti

OVERVIEW

Nestled in the remote hills of West Timor, the Kingdom of Boti has long earned the moniker "Indonesian Amish" for proudly preserving its ancient traditions for centuries. The small community of 400 people practice a tribal animist religion, live in round grass huts, make their own clothes using the traditional Ikat weaving process, and keep their way of life against the powerful forces of modernization. 

BOTI IN NUMBERS

10

community members participated

3,789

photographs produced

GALLERY

HIGHLIGHTS

Setting up a participatory photography project in Boti is an interesting challenge. The people have had little experience with modern technology, and few opportunities to talk about their unique culture. In sharing their stories, they always referred to the King and the King's Advisors. 

Circle of Life

After ruling Boti for 30 years, the beloved King Nune Benu passed away in 2005, and his son Nama Benu was poised to assume the throne. Many rituals and rites were halted, only resumed once King Nune Benu's cremation was completed. 

Beginning the Boti Adat Loe Ceremony

The birth of a new baby in Boti is celebrated with elaborate rituals, known as the adat Loe. The first ceremony of the adat Loe is held four days after the birth to welcome the child into the village. Four months after the birth ceremony, the child is presented with a name. Finally, a hair cutting ceremony is held whenever the child’s mother becomes pregnant with a new baby to symbolize that she is with child again.

PROJECT STAKEHOLDERS