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In Manggarai you will certainly notice the impressive lingko fields. The most amazing view over a number of these fields is offered at Cara Village situated on a small hill 17km west of Ruteng in Cancar. With their round, spider-web structure, these pieces of land are unique eye-catchers in Manggarai.

Long before wet-rice cultivation, the ancestors of the Manggaraian people grew dry rice, corn, and tubers in the lingko fields. Every village used to own several fields. During planting and harvesting time, ceremonies and ritual offerings were held at the lodok, the ritual center of the lingko. The lodok features a wooden pole and a rock. These two objects symbolize the reunion of the male and female, the heaven and earth, and the creation of mankind. If a new lingko was developed, the sacrifice of a water buffalo was required. The division of a new lingko was guided by the tu’a teno, the Lord of the Land. This traditional leader had the authority over the land and the rituals and ceremonies related to the agricultural cycle. The distribution of the fields to different families was carried out at the lodok. Every family of a community had the right to work a certain piece of land. Depending on the family’s size, the head of the family held a certain number of fingers to the pole in the lodok. The distance between the fingers was marked on this pole. From these two points, lines were drawn to the outer circle of the lingko, defining the size of a family’s land. These pie segments were called moso, which means ‘hand’ in the Manggarai language. The moso were not conceived as the private property of a single person or household. Traditionally the lingko was farmed with a system of shifting cultivation, thus claims of constant land tenure were not yet common. After a two-year utilization period, the old fields were given up, and virgin forest – which in the past was abundant – or former fallow land, was cleared for new fields. Even though these fields still exist today, their agricultural and ritual context has changed drastically.

Nowadays the lingko fields are primarily used for wet-rice cultivation. With the dominance of this new form of farming, the significance of the traditional agricultural

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Additional Photos by gee hoo (geehoo) Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6 W: 16 N: 86] (638)
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