chapter  10
27 Pages

Conclusion: What were the ebu gogo?

This chapter completes our return to the eastern Indonesian figure of ebu gogo. If a shared culture history and long memories of Asian apes can account for Oceanic images, then they could equally account for the Nage wildmen. But even if the first interpretation were secure, to leave things thus would be premature. For one thing, the thesis does not explain why ebu gogo and comparable representations among other Malayo-Polynesian speakers have for so long been sustained and maintained. To address this question, we need to reconsider the possible symbolism of ebu gogo and the social and cultural value such images might possess. Additionally, we should consider how far hypothetically durable images can be explained as particular realizations of an ‘archetype’ or, otherwise expressed, some pan-human cognitive disposition that can find expression in the most diverse cultural, geographical and historical settings. Finally, in the light of comparative evidence presented in the last six chapters, more attention must be given to possible connections between eastern Indonesian images like ebu gogo and empirical creatures, present or formerly present in the local environment.