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Ilik

by Micha F. Lindemans
The lizard ("Ilik" or "Boraspati ni Tano") is very commonly found among Batak themes (Sumatra), whether it be among the Karo, where it is painted on the walls at either side of the doorways to the houses, or among the Toba, where it is used to decorate carved wooden doors and covers of Pustaha's (book of divination). The Boraspati ni Tano constitutes one of the elements of the Batak pantheon and symbolizes prosperity, the fertility of the earth, and the underworld.

The name is derived from the Sanskrit brihaspati and indicates its magical and divine nature, for it is one of the names given by the Indians to the planet Jupiter. It forms part of some sort of trinity along with Boru Saniang Naga, the snake-god of the waters. This trinity would seem to have been central to the traditional animist Batak religion called Sipelebegu before the conversion of the Batak to Islam of Christianity.

It is usually depicted with its head raised as if emerging from the underworld to join the middle-world.


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