The Jalid Culture was a complex society that succeeded the Muwng Culture in the South of Region D in the Early Bronze Age.
- Chijen Ma
There is something of a fixation for polished, fixed surfaces in the Jalid culture. Tin, copper and bronze are all commonly utilised in this aspect, with the use of bronze statues totally unique in this era. Emeralds and onyx are both imported at expense, along with the incredibly expensive Resinite. However, the biggest fixation is with the rare Ammolite and its highly colourful polished surfaces. Ammolite jewellery is associated with royalty. A great emphasis is placed on military affairs, and the King in this society is explicitly associated with military adventures- even in this period, a number of specialised and distinct weapons exist. Social castes here are highly stratified already, particularly immobile in the case of warriors and priests. This is reflected in the wildly different burial customs of different parts of society; the poorest generally get cremations, whereas the elite get elaborate basalt crypts. Coral is considered a poor man's substitute for actual jewellery, but is nonetheless ubiquitous among the lower rungs of society in many decorative contexts, and is a frequent export as well. Cities are generally built in round arrangements, with spoked roads leading towards a grand building at the centre which is usually home to the King. Hard woods are extensively used for housing, though the most expensive housing uses quarried limestones and also basalt. Highly burnished surfaces are common, usually in imitation of metallic surfaces. The most affluent kings in this society use bronze tiling on floors.
Social stratification is balanced by the potency of each caste in turn. However, the warrior and priest castes tend to look down on the rest, and on the city of Muen-Thong which operates with almost no caste distinctions. The militaries of the various city-states are highly organised into regiments with specialised equipment, and these militaries are frequently used against unsettled peoples of the forests who cause trouble and against one another. The Jalid culture is considered somewhat xenophobic by the standards of many neighbours, but impressive bronze artifacts are a surefire way to gain their attention. This is also changing, as frequent contact with the nearby Kadano complex is slowly wearing down the edifice of splendid isolation many of the Jalid cities erect. Religion is generally in the hands of the priestly caste, though great festivals are common which include all the residents of the city at once. Here social boundaries tend to relax, particularly with the widespread drinking of alcohol at these festivals. Avocado oil is exclusively utilised for ritual purposes, and the idea of using it in cooking is unthinkable! The most important cult is that worshipped by the kings and their families exclusively, towards the sun. Other popular deities include various natural forces incarnated as animals, in particular the sea worshipped as a dolphin. Crossroads are also frequently associated with particular, individual deities and informal shrines often grow up around crossroads. At Muen-Thong, trappings of Kadano Complex culture are more visible; the city lacks a priestly caste, and utilises ceramic copies of the Kadano metal tableware products.
Rice is the most major staple, frequently supplemented by water yam and abiu. Wheats and avocado are more difficult to get hold of due to the need to clear quite dense forest. Seaweed, beef, and fish are common supplements to ordinary diets, but the richest dine on pork, mango, loquat and oranges.
Muen-Thong is likely to end up with more in common with Kadano Complex culture than their fellows nearby, and eventually producing their own synthesis. Also, the frequent warfare between states probably means that if things go wrong here, they will go wrong very quickly.