Pigs and Pork


Consumption of the pig was banned in Islamic diet in the seventh century. Although wild pigs did not thrive in the semi-arid conditions of the Islamic heartland, they did in Indonesia’s rain forests. They especially adapted to forests inhabited by nomadic cultivators, uprooting their crops and eating tubers, fruits, and nuts.

Pigs were raised and presented as taxation in Hindu Majapahit; their flesh was consumed at feasts. There are references to pigs and dogs—another animal unclean in Muslim tradition—being brought to the capital by happy taxpayers. Majapahit texts tell that kings hunted wild pigs for sport, while commoners hunted them for food. For Muslims, the taboo on eating pork was a boundary marker between converts to the new religion and others. The taboo redirected cookery in the kitchens of palace, town, and village and brought Islam into the female domain of food selection and preparation.

Jungle habitats shrank owing to agriculture and population growth. Pig breeding and hunting remain important economic activities only in Bali, Papua, and Manado.

photocredit: buddy-dubaibase.blogspot.com

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