Biographical data

Photo gallery


Schebesta, Reverend Father Paul


(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 1: Cyclopaedia of collectors)

(Source: Flora Malesiana ser. 1, 8: Cyclopaedia of collectors, Supplement II)


Born: 1887, Gross-Peterwitz, Austria.



Missionary and linguist.1

From his books it is apparent that he travelled extensively in the Malay Peninsula for the study of the Sakai people, visiting the states of Perak, Kelantan, Negri Sembilan, the mountains of Pahang, Malacca, etc. Subsequently he visited the Kubu region in Sumatra, situated north of Palembang.

He was educated at the Mission Seminary St. Gabriel at Mödling near Vienna; Dr.Phil. of the University of Vienna. From 1912-16 missionary in Portuguese East Africa. Because of World War I he was interned and stayed from 1916-20 in Portugal. In 1924-25 he stayed for 20 months in Malaya, Sumatra, and Siam (Thailand); in 1929-30 and 1934-35 for respectively 20 months and a year with the Ituri pygmies in Africa; in 1938 for 8 months in the Philippines and Malaya; in 1946 and 1954 two expeditions to the pygmies. He is a member of the Anthropos Institute, member of the board of the Africa Institute, and honorary member of the London Anthropological Institute, etc.

In 1967 he stayed in the Mission Seminary at Mödling.

Author of numerous other books, including ‘Tanah Malaya’ (Wien 1960).



Herb. Sing. [SING]: some useful plants collected near the Kedah-Perak boundary (at Baling etc.) in the Malay Peninsula (1924) (cf. Burkill in Gard. Bull. Str. Settlem. 4, 1927, nos 4-5; by mistake sub Ichebesta).



(1) Author of ‘Among the forest dwarfs of Malaya’ (London 1929), transl. from German: ‘Bei den Urwaldzwergen von Malaya’ (Leipzig 1927); ‘ “Orang-Utan”. Bei den Urwaldmenschen Malayas and Sumatras’ (Leipzig 1928); and of several ethnological papers. A.o. in Peterm. Geogr. Mitt. 72, 1926, p. 253-257, map.


biographical data:

By courtesy of the Dutch Radio Broadcasting on Mission Work.


photo gallery:

Mid-1930's with aid / interpreter

(Honoré Vinck, pers. comm.)