Thousands of people have travelled from near and far, by motorcycle and pickup truck, to Kodi village field, in the Waingapu district of Sumba, a small island in eastern Indonesia. Here, more than 50 horsemen, each armed with four spears, are arrayed in two teams on either side of a sparsely grassed area for an equestrian war ceremony known as Pasola.

This ancient tradition is repeated each spring in the remote villages of Kodi, Wanukaka, Lamboya and Gaura, and involves men on horseback…



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