BATTAS, BATAKS, &c. n.p. [the latter, according to Mr. Skeat, being the standard Malay name]; a nation of Sumatra, noted especially for their singular cannibal institutions, combined with the possession of a written character of their own and some approach to literature.

c. 1430.—“In ejus insulae, quam dicunt Bathech, parte, anthropophagi habitant…capita humana in thesauris habent, quae ex hostibus captis abscissa, esis carnibus recondunt, iisque utuntur pro nummis.”—Conti, in Poggius, De Var. Fort. lib. iv.

c. 1539.—“This Embassador, that was Brother-in-law to the King of Battas…brought him a rich Present of Wood of Aloes, Calambaa, and five quintals of Benjamon in flowers.”—Cogan’s Pinto, 15.

c. 1555.—“This Island of Sumatra is the first land wherein we know man’s flesh to be eaten by certaine people which liue in the mountains, called Bacas (read Batas), who vse to gilde their teethe.”—Galvano, Discoveries of the World, Hak. Soc. 108.

1586.—“Nel regno del Dacin sono alcuni luoghi, ne’ quali si ritrouano certe genti, che mangiano le creature humane, e tali genti, si chaimano Batacchi, e quando frà loro i padri, e i madri sono vechhi, si accordano i vicinati di mangiarli, e li mangiano.”—G. Balbi, f. 130.

1613.—“In the woods of the interior dwelt Anthropophagi, eaters of human flesh…and to the present day continues that abuse and evil custom among the Battas of Sumatra.”—Godinho de Eredia, f. 23v.

[The fact that the Battas are cannibals has recently been confirmed by Dr. Volz and H. von Autenrieth (Geogr. Jour., June 1898, p. 672.]

BAWUSTYE, s. Corr. of bobstay in Lascar dialect (Roebuck).

BAY, The, n.p. In the language of the old Company and its servants in the 17th century, The Bay meant the Bay of Bengal, and their factories in that quarter.

1683.—“And the Councell of the Bay is as expressly distinguished from the Councell of Hugly, over which they have noe such power.”—In Hedges, under Sept. 24. [Hak. Soc. i. 114.]

1747.—“We have therefore laden on her 1784 Bales…which we sincerely wish may arrive safe with You, as We do that the Gentlemen at the Bay had according to our repeated Requests, furnished us with an earlier conveyance…”—Letter from Ft. St. David, 2nd May, to the Court (MS. in India Office).

BAYA, s. H. baia [baya], the Weaver-bird, as it is called in books of Nat. Hist., Ploceus baya, Blyth (Fam. Fringillidae). This clever little bird is not only in its natural state the builder of those remarkable pendant nests which are such striking objects, hanging from eaves or palm-branches; but it is also docile to a singular degree in domestication, and is often exhibited by itinerant natives as the performer of the most delightful tricks, as we have seen, and as is detailed in a paper of Mr Blyth’s quoted by Jerdon. “The usual procedure is, when ladies are present, for the bird on a sign from its master to take a cardamom or sweatmeat in its bill, and deposit it between a lady’s lips…. A miniature cannon is then brought, which the bird loads with coarse grains of powder one by one…it next seizes and skilfully uses a small ramrod: and then takes a lighted match from its master, which it applies to the touch-hole.” Another common performance is to scatter small beads on a sheet; the bird is provided with a needle and thread, and proceeds in the prettiest way to thread the beads successively. [The quotation from Abul Fazl shows that these performances are as old as the time of Akbar and probably older still.]

[c. 1590.—“The baya is like a wild sparrow but yellow. It is extremely intelligent, obedient and docile. It will take small coins from the hand and bring them to its master, and will come to a call from a long distance. Its nests are so ingeniously constructed as to defy the rivalry of clever artificers.”—Ain (trans. Jarrett), iii. 122.]

1790.—“The young Hindu women of Banáras…wear very thin plates of gold, called tíca’s, slightly fixed by way of ornament between the eyebrows; and when they pass through the streets, it is not uncommon for the youthful libertines, who amuse themselves with training Baya’s, to give them a sign, which they understand, and to send them to pluck the pieces of gold from the foreheads of their mistresses.”—Asiat. Researches, ii. 110.

[1813.—Forbes gives a similar account of the nests and tricks of the Baya.—Or. Mem., 2nd ed. i. 33.]

  By PanEris using Melati.

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