November 26, 2014

Hari Ragat: More Viking Parallels

Sainsbury-Exhibitions-Gallery-British-Museum-Extension-London

I’m branding Hari Ragat as “a game of Southeast Asian Vikings,” drawing on the obvious parallels of two maritime warrior cultures with similar reputations and values. Chinese annals telling of Malay raids on the Fukien coast sound a lot like the chronicles of British monks lamenting Viking activities. But I didn’t know just how strong that resemblance was until I saw this article in The Mirror online.

Vikings-teeth

Not only were the Vikings far-ranging raiders and traders, they also valued bling (valuing the same kind of detailed workmanship), tattooed themselves extensively, and … decorated their teeth. Grooves were filed into the teeth and filled in with colored resin. Compare this to what W. H. Scott writes in Barangay: “The most impressive examples of Visayan dentistry was its goldwork … A common image is the flash of golden brilliance when the hero opens his mouth to speak or smile.” I never thought the Norse had practiced it too.

[Photos by Paul Raftery and the Trustees of the British Museum]

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