Working Inventory of Stones in Belau

Working Inventory of Stones in Belau

Richard J. Parmentier

Brandeis University

June, 1989


Vocabulary for stone works:


balang "limestone"

bad "stone"

bad el chei "stones from the sea"

bad er a omoachel "river stones" (used in spells)

btangch "backrest, standing stone"

cheldukl "paved with stone"

cheluatl "defensive wall"

did el bad "stone bridge"

klidm "face"

kingall "seat"

metengetang "forked stone"

oleketokel "offering stand, altar slab"

ollachitnger "teaching stone"

ollumel "stone water vessel"

risois: "natural stone formation"

terrekelel a udoud "money measuring stone"

uleoech el bad "stones for casting spell"


typology of carved faces:


A: large, rough-hewn andesite conglomerate with sunken eyeballs; called

   "Great Face" by Osborne; "large eyeball style" by Hidikata

B: smaller finished stones with thin nose with high bridge,

   oblong smiling face, small topknot


Bad el Ketau [Stone of the Red Snapper]


Hidikata 1973 fig 83

"a little sun-house, but made of stone rather than wood.  The door

opening was a hole, where you could offer sacrificial gifts for the

catch of the ketau] fish, which are also called keremlall], the

red Myripristia; hence the stone is also named Bad el Ketau." (Kramer)


Bad er a Buil [Stone of the Moon]


Roisingnang hill





Parmentier slides


Bad er a Chilong


Parmentier slides



= Bairemechau

Ngerechelong, Ngerulechau

Type A

stone colonnades and 6 puddingstone andesite faces

Hidikata 1973 fig 71

Osborne 1966 fig 63B

Osborne 1979 figs 122-148

Lucking fig 8

"By far the most striking and obvious characteristic of these unusual

carvings are the huge, staring, bulging eyes set beneath a bulging

forehead.  The nasal and alveolar area is low and curves down to an

open mouth with pits at each end and typically three huge teeth or

fangs prominently displayed.  One is at each side, curving outward

below or inside the pits and the third is central.  Below the mouth 4

wide wedge-shaped depressions, opposing one another in pairs,

apparently form the highly stylized outline of a quadruped, facing up

into the mouth of the Being--or they may represent the latter's

genital area." (Osborne 1979:161).

"The salient characteristics show well in one or another of the

illustrations: the bulging forehead, goggle eyes, the three central

'teeth'; the pits and the side fangs and the quadruped-like object

below.  I have wondered if this last is not a stylized representation

of the more clearly delineated animal figure which I consider to

depict a crocodile on the Koror 3 stela (Osborne 1966:112-115, fig.

30a) [Dirrangerekesuaol]." (Osborne 1979:176)


Beduch Liel


Hidikata 1973 fig 23

"this klidm] from the side clearly looks as though it were a typical

stone phallus." (Hidikata 1973:22)


Bekeurebodel [Brave of Ngerebodel]

= Ius el bad [Crocodile Stone] (Hidikata)

= Bad el ius (Osborne)

Ngerebodel, blai Ngerukoi

ref: story of Bekeurebodel and Osecheluib

Hidikata 1973 fig 3

Kramer II:3 fig 51

Osborne 1966 fig 46

"the prominent ears and general thickness and crudity, slant eyes, and

small mouth are the outstanding features" (Osborne)

Hidikata says it was given to Bekeurebotel as a reward by Mad of



Boi [Rooster]


rooster on hexagonal basalt pillar

Hidikata 1973 fig 76A

Kramer II:3 33 fig 9

Osborne 1966 fig 64A

"At first the rooster and its pillar were in Ngetmel.  When this

village was abandoned, the natives brought it to Ngerebau.  Later,

when this was beseiged and conquered by Ngebuked, they were both taken

as loot, and the stones were loaded on a bamboo float.  But the

rooster frightened everyone by crowing when it got to Ngebuked, and it

seemed that the voice came from the inside of the stone.  The natives

were so frightened that they carried the rooster on a bamboo float to

Oketol near Mengellang, and thence to Ollei" (Kramer)


Chebecheb [Facing Down]

Imeiong, on bai platform

taken to Ngetechum as payment

ref: story of destruction of Uluang


Chebei el Bad [Taro Stone]


risois] upon which a man rode down from heaven


Chedebsungel Bad


Hidikata 1973 fig 16A

natural stone

"he said that it was a cursing stone, and that if anyone procured one

of his enemy's articles and offered it to this stone and cursed him,

the person would become sick and die" (Hidikata 1973:17)


Chiuaiu [Sleeper]


Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 100

Parmentier slides



Ngerechelong, hill Cheleos

Kramer II:3 fig 2




Hidikata 1973 fig 105D


Dellalchelid [Mother God]


Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 18A

represents Iluai, mother of Medechiibelau


Dengarech [Face Up]

Imeiong, on bai platform

taken to Ngetechum as payment

ref: story of destruction of Uluang



Ngcheangel, Ngerdimes village

Osborne 1966 fig 93A

ref: story of Orachel

stone was moved from ancient village to present location

"It is said to be Dirrabakaruus and is referred to above as a

Janus-faced stone, although one side is infinitely more finished than

the other.  It would appear that the second face, although in the same

outline, had been added long after the first was done.  As I recall,

the unusual piece stood about 3 feet high.  It is not one of the usual

Palauan style and is thus, as far as I know, unique.  The peculiar bib

below the chin does not occur elsewhere." (Osborne 1966:309)


Dirrangerekesauaol [Mrs. Ngerekesauaol]

= Tekeok el Mid [Stubborn of Ngeremid]


Type A

Kramer II:3 fig 53

Hididata fig 4A

Osborne 1966  fig 91A

"It was very fragile, like the stone at Ngerebodel. It was made by

rough striking, and was so worn out and covered with green moss all

over, that it was difficult to distinguish it from other stones.  The

upper part was said to show the face of a mother, and the lower part

the back of her child sucking milk, with its four limbs spread."

(Hidikata 1973 8)

"On stone square A there is a stone slab of Dirrangarekesauaol with a

large face, and a child below it; the fern growth at the top gives the

whole thing a peculiar appearance.  Legend tells that a woman from

Ngerekesauaol once came back from a fishing expedition and watched the

ruk] dance.  The dancers had a salt-water tabu, and she had a salty

smell; accordingly she was very ashamed, and she turned into stone

with the child still at her breast" (Kramer)

"carved monolith, spread-eagled quadruped below human face" (Osborne)

"A young mother holding her infan in his arms" (Belau Museum)


Dirramellomes [Mrs. Bright]


Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 17

"the characteristics of this kind of stone image are large eye-sockets

and no nose at all.  Even if the line of the nose is visible to some

extent, there is no shape of any fleshy nose.  When there is a mouth,

big teeth are shown more often than not.  All these characterisics are

those of a skull." (Hidikata 1973 18)



Imeiong, Ngeluong


Iechadrachuoluu [Mr. Protection]


Osborne 1966 fig 51A & B

Parmentier photo 2

Parmentier slides


Iingerturong [Cave of Ngerturong]


Kramer III:6, fig 206

Parmentier slides

refuge seat



Ngersuul, Tmachel

face is worn away, .6 m high

"in the past food was offered to her on festival days" (Hidikata




Type A


Kramer II:3 fig 11

ref: story of Iluochel, who introduced taro




Hidikata 1973 fig 15A

natural stone


Imiungs el bad

Ngellau, Illai bai

Hidikata 1973 fig 88

Lucking fig 69

Parmentier slides

ref: story of Milad

circular mortar stone

at Ngerutechei, taken to Orukei in Imeiong, then to Ngellau


Isngel a Choi


"The stepping stone on the Ngebiul side, Isngel a Choi, has a face

without any mouth, on the ditch side.  The story goes that once upon a

time a man called Choi, who came from Ngebiul, told a great many lies,

and so the chelid] cut off his mouth and turned him into stone"



Kedung [Behaved]


Hidikata 1973 fig 25A


Kingellel a Buil [Seat of the Moon]

Ngetmel, house Iromel

Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 80

Osborne 1966:208?

ref: story of moon cycles


Kingellel a Ngiraidemai


basalt block

"The Ngiraidemai in Ngebiul has in front of his house a mighty square

block of basalt, 1 meter thick and about 2.5 meters high, which is

also his kingellel]. Formerly the custom was that a man who alleged

he was possessed by the Medechiibelau had to come here and prove his

calling by jumping onto the top of the block without the help of his

hands.  If he succeeded, his claim was sufficiently legitimized; he was

bedokel chelid]." (Kubary "Religion" 23).


Kingellel a Uchererak [Seat of Uchererak]


Parmentier slides

moved from Chedukl to Ngerungelang



Kingellel a Uchelchelid


stone pillar about 80 cm tall with stone head on top



Lmangellbad [Weeping Stone]


Parmentier slides

smoothly polished curving upright



Type A

Ngchemliangel, Lbeng bai

Hidikata 1973 fig 11B

Osborne 1066 fig 55C

Hidikata says .75 m high;

"it is of andesite and appears to have been brought in from elsewhere

and not to have been made at the time the probably relatively recent

platform was constructed.   The head is 26 inches tall." (Osborne




Type A


Osborne 1966 fig 55A



Kramer II:6, fig 218

face on top of post



Ngchemliangel, Ngelmuul hill

= Madrangeoal?


Mengachui [Eats Hair]

Ngetbang, Urreked bai

Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 15B

moved from hillside Ngeremedangeb, carried as tokens of victory


Mengachui [Eats Hair]


Hidikata 1973 fig 11A



Mengachui [Eats Hair]


Hidikata 1973 fig 92

Parmentier slides


Mengeraod el Bad

Mengallang, at bai

"a flat, rectangular stone measuring some .9 m across, and it looks

like a female genital stone like the large stone at the ruins of the

bai] of the old rubak] in Ngkeklau and the triangle stone at Bai

el Chelab." (Hidikata 1973:51)




stone seat

Kramer II:3 fig 20

Hidikata 1973 fig 34

ref: story of Meruubelau


Mesekiu el Bad

Ngeremetengel, in front of bai

mentioned by Hidikata, but I collected no information


Mlechell [Childbirth]


Type B, .6 m high

Hidikata 1973 fig 27C


Mlil a Chelebucheb [Money Boat]

Ollei, bai

Kramer II:3 fig 11 (13)

brought from Ngebuked

ref: story of Techocho




Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 16B

called Odubechelchelid by cult group


Ngartemellang [About to Destroy]


Parmentier photo 7

Parmentier slides

tall pillar



Ngerutechei, at bathing pool

heals skin sores


Ngiraomekuul (Bedengel a) [Body of Ngiraomekuul]


Hidikata 1973 fig 60



Ngerechol (Beliliou)

"The surface of this stone had two scars as if it has been used for

sharpening objects." (Hidikata 1973:79)


Obadebusech [Carries Conch Trumpet]


Type A

Osborne 1966 fig 73B

Osborne 1979 fig 154

Parmentier slides




"a large, natural stone, and not artificial" (Hidikata 1973:11)




Type A

ref: Milad story




Type B

Hidikata 1973 36A (calls it Bilmeyai)


Odalechmelech [Planted at Ngeremelech]


Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 91

Osborne 1966 fig 73A

Osborne 1979 figs 98, 99

Parmentier slides

"the god Odalechmelech of Melekeok is a native of Ulimang" (Kramer)


Olebadabel [Measuring Stone]

Ngellau, Illai bai

Hidikata 1973 fig 88B

Parmentier slides


Olekeok [Stubborn]


Type B

Kramer II:3 fig 30

Hidikata 1973 fig 90B

ref: story of Milad

"from whom the land of Melekeok derives its name and who is

personified by a stone in the shape of a human head." (Kubary

"Religion" 32)

"Von Miklucho-Maclay says that the stone chelid] Olekeok receives

sacrifices, and that it rises from the earth when club people have

captured a head, and that residents of the village don't know anything

about it." (Kramer)



Oleketokel [Offering Stand]


Hidikata 1973 fig 24A

brought from Uluang

ref: story of destruction of Uluang


Ongeluluul [Whisper]

Ngiual, Belod

Parmentier slides

ref: story of Kelulau





ref: story of Orachel


Oreor el bad

Oreor, in front of Irachel blai (formerly a shrine)

ref: story of Milad


Orrengeschais [Hear News]

Ngetbang, road near Urreked

Hidikata 1973 fig 16A


Orrengeschais [Hears News]


Hidikata 1973 fig 91

Parmentier slides




Hidikata 1973 fig 47

"well esteemed by the new society people" (Hidikata 1973)

ref: story of Bekeurebodel




120 cm tall

Kramer II:3 fig 11 (12)

represents Olungiis, who freed the daughter of Techocho


Tang el Ongos [Pillar of the East]


Hidikata 1973 fig 75D

forked monolith, .54 m high


Tekeok el Mid see] Dirrangerekesauaol




Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 96A




Hidikata 1973 fig 25C

"It was said that only people who became gods could mount the stone,

pehaps indicating it was a seat for humans who acted simultaneously as

chief and priest" (Hidikata 1973:25)

large flat stone




Kramer II:3; photo in III:6, 18 

taken to Germany? 

ref: story of Milad

small head statue




Hidikata 1973 fig 40

small face

ref: story of Milad

"According to folklore there was certain person (Temdokl) residing at

the entrance of the settlement whose duty it was to keep a watch over

things inside and outside of the settlement and to report any trouble.

The stones may have been put here in remembrance of this figure."

(Hidikata 1973)


Terrid [Bird]


Type A

Hidikata 1973 45B

ref: story of Milad


Tet er a Ollei

moved to museum in Oreor

stone coffin

Hidikata fig 3




Type A

Lucking fig 37

Parmentier slides


Tunglch [?]

Ngerechol (Beliliou), Ibesachel bai

"nothing was known about this god called Tunglch, but because it seems

he has been worshipped by the natives for many years, we may assume

the designation was not new" (Hidikata 1973:79)


Uchelchelid (Bedengel a) [Body of Uchelchelid]



Uchelkebesadel (bedengel a)

Ngerekebesang, Roiskebesang

Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 8B

"This hard stone had a small indentation where the nose would be, as

illustrated, but an indefinite pair of hollows to the sides of the

indentations for eyes, but the stone cannot defintely be claimed to be

artificial" (Hidikata 1973:10)


Uchelchelid (bedengel a)

Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 6

"The lower part was left bluntly pointed, probably because it had been

stuck in the ground in the past. It was brought from a stone pavement

(cheldukl]) called Ulechouch beside an association (bai]) called

Ngerebachesis in Desekel.  It was said to be Bedengel a Uchelchelid,

obviously a recent designation and meaning." (Hidikata 1973:10)


Uchelkeklau see] Ngkeklau group, stone (d)


Uchuladebong [Origin Point Where We Go Forth]


pavement in front of Olechaulchau bai

Parmentier 1967:237-41


Ux[Unnamed Stones]


Chelab, Roisang

Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 46

"two weird klidm], but aside from the explanation that 6 is a god

and 7 a goddess, no other tradition exists about them.  These slightly

over-worked images are perhaps the creation of the later years of the

large eyeball style." (Hidikata 1973:37)



Osborne 1966:47C & D

cf. Osborne 1979: fig 171!


Irrai (Osborne), Ngeremid (Hidikata 1973)

Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 4B

Osborne 1966 fig 69A

"A human image with a face on each of the four sides was carved on top

the cylindrical stone, as shown in the figure.  The front and rear

faces were male, and the right and left faces were female.  According

to an old man, it stood in front of the shrine when he was a child."

(Hidikata 1973:9)

"It recalls, in the shaping and handling of nose and eyes, the large

carving at B 1.  The west face is clearly that of a female; the eastern

is broken and eroded but does not appear to have represented a woman,

while the northerly face is a less well-established duplicate of the

southern" (Osborne 1966:222)



Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 97 (Stone H)



Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 103 (Stone D)

"Instead of the eye sockets and eyeball boss and the elaborately

toothed mouth, there is a seeming merging of forehead area and toothed

area so that a stylistically reduced representation of a face appears.

There are two elongated downward pendant bosses, one on each side.

These may be the malar area.  Within these is a pair of deep vertical

grooves terminating abruptly at the forehead, apparently delimiting

the eye sockets.  The latter are separated by an elongate, vertical,

slightly downward flaring ridge which could be nasal." (Osborne



Ngerdermang, near Ulimang

Type B

Hidikata 1973 fig 54A


Ngerdermang, near Ulimang

Type A

Hidikata 1973 fig 54B



Type B

Osborne 1966 fig 68 (sketch)

Parmentier slides

"a small, roughly cylindrical stone on which a face had been carved"

(Oborne 1966:215)



Osborne 1966:44D



Type A


Ngereklengong? = Osborne B 3

Type A, 2 stones

these are the ones I could not locate



Hidikata 1973 45C

standing stone with forked top


Ngkeklau, Ngaramesikt bai

grouping of stones:

Hidikata 1973 fig 57

Osborne 1966 fig 72A

Kramer II:3 fig 21

(a) "mast" (orrakl]) of Uchelkeklau, pillar

(b) "sails" (ears]) of Uchelkeklau; large triangular stone, upright

in Kramer, lying flat in Hidikata, missing in Osborne?

(c) unnamed Type B face: "formed largely by grooving; it is a head,

blocky and flattened on top, with large slanting almond-shaped eyes,a

long, low nose, labial grooves, a small upcurved mouth and a

self-satisfied smirk." (Osborne 1966:234)

(d) Uchelkeklau, Type B face: "taller, grim and dour Uchelkeklau....

He stands about two feet high, above the forest mold.  The piece is

the best example of the art style that I saw." (Osborne 1966:234)  (e)

"small round stone; it is a pensive little thing; the only discernable

features are two small pecked eyes" (Osborne 1966:234); "it was

brought here from Ngiual" (Hidikata 1973:46)

(f) "owl" (chesuch]), Type A face. "A small Great Face, broken

across the midsection and known as the 'owl'. This upper fragment must

have been brought from elsewhere to its present position." (Osborne


ref: story of Uchelkeklau

Hidikata says all were brought from Ngerechebetang


Ollei, on terrace B 19 B

Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 187

"Unfortunately exposure has destroyed he appprently shallow sculping

but he [Stevens] states in his notes that his interpretation of the

face would make it closely akin to the Sleeper at B37 [Melekeok],

There are the two eye sockets and two large depressions below the eyes

with a bar or boss in each.... Its present position cannot well be the

place where it first functioned" (Osborne 1979:213).


Ollei, bai

Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 170


Ollei, bai

Type A

Osborne 1979 fig 172

"Great Face" carved on top portion of upright



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