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be absent on a journey, he must on that day make a halt.” 1 In l'olynesia, not only on the death of Tuitonga, or in time of general mourning or of sickness in the royal family, but before war (a sacred function), or before a great feast, a tabooday or days are proclaimed; no one may cook food, no fire or light may be kindled, no one may go outside of his house, no domestic animal may utter a sound (dogs are muzzled, cocks put under a calabash). In Mexico, too, the principal feasts of the two chief deities, Tezcatlipoca and Huitzilopochtli, were preceded by a taboo period, “notice of which was solemnly given by the officials." 2 In Madagascar there are days on which it is taboo to go outside the house or begin any business ; "the child who comes into the world on one of those days is drowned, exposed, or buried alive, for it belongs to the gods, and therefore may not be kept from them." 3
This last quotation may make it easier to understand why work is taboo on a holy day; anything begun or done on such a day belongs to the god, and is not for common use. But the reference to a god is not indispensable; work done or begun on an “unclean” day is equally unfit for everyday use, though there is no god for it to belong to. An exact parallel may be found in the matter of raiment, of “best clothes " and "mourning.” The clothes which a mourner wears become “ defiled” by his contact with the deceased ; and, when the days of his “ impurity” are over, they are cast aside; they can no longer be used in his ordinary avocations, for they would communicate to all that he touched and to everything that he did the pollution with which they are infected. He therefore confines himself to one set of garments, in order not to spoil too many; and if it is the custom in his country to mark tabooed objects by some special colour, he is expected to wear raiment of that colour, to warn off those who otherwise might unwittingly come in contact with him and become defiled. So, too, the clothes which a man wore in the worship of the gods acquired sanctity and could not be used in his ordinary avocations (just as "among the later Jews the contact of a sacred volume or a phylactery 'defiled the hands and called for an 1 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 93.
Payne, New World, i. 486. 3 Réville, Rel. des peup. non-civ. i. 167.
ablution "1). A special set of garments therefore was reserved for this purpose exclusively; these were presumably the best that the wearer possessed, and so “ in early times best clothes meant clothes that were taboo for the purposes of ordinary life."? On the Gold Coast there is a special colour (white) for holy days, distinguished from that distinctive of mourning (red). 3
Intermediate between the taboo on “best clothes” and that on “mourning" is the New Zealand taboo already mentioned on a garment on which the glance of a chief has rested. Intermediate, too, between “holy days ” and days of mourning are the dies nefasti of the Romans and the nuépai #Troopádes of the Greeks, which were neither dedicated to any god nor "unclean," but were certainly taboo days.
To a certain extent, it is plain, the transmissibility or infection of taboo can be explained by the laws of the Association of Ideas : the sentiment with which a person or thing is regarded colours all that is associated with that person or thing, and may be revived by anything which reminds us of it or him. “The glove upon that hand” has for the lover some of the glamour which surrounds his mistress; to all, the scene of former misery is painful. So, too, the terror which attaches to a thing taboo may be reawakened by anything which calls it to mind; of all things blood is most taboo ; hence in Polynesia red berries are taboo, because of their colour; on the Gold Coast "every spot where the earth is of a red colour is believed to be or to have been the place of abode of a Sasabonsum,” 4 and is taboo; and in both countries red is the colour used to signify that a thing is tabooed. But whereas civilised man is aware that the association between such ideas is merely mental, to the savage the connection is real. The savage believes that the same terrible consequences
-whatever they may be—which ensue on contact with blood, do actually and really follow on contact with things which by their colour or otherwise remind him thereof. That primitive man should mistake the mental association for a real connection was inevitable; he could not do otherwise. The reality of the connection was not for him matter of * Robertson Smith, Religion of the Semites, 452.
2 Ibid. 453. 3 See Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 88, 89, 93, 156,
* Ibid, 35,
argument; it was a self-evident fact, of which he had direct consciousness and immediate certitude. But if this is so, if man began with this belief, and did not infer or deduce it from anything, then we must reject those theories which represent taboo as being the consequence of some other belief, such as that things taboo transmit a material, physical pollution, or that some supernatural influence is transmitted, or that the dead man's spirit adheres to those who touch the corpse. The material, physical theory (implied in the use of the terms “contagion,” “infection” of taboo) is untenable, because the belief in taboo is not an induction based upon observation, experience, and experiment, but an à priori conviction : it is not an inference from such facts of observation as that pitch, mud, etc., defile, but a belief prior to, independent of, indeed, irreconcilable with the facts of experience. The theory of a supernatural cause is simply superfluous; the connection between the two associated ideas was a self-evident fact, which for the savage required no explanation—supernatural or other—but was rather itself the explanation of other things.
But though the laws of the Association of Ideas explain the transmissibility of taboo and account for the fact that whatever is mentally associated with the thing taboo awakens the same terror as the thing itself, still they obviously cannot explain why the thing itself is terrible to begin with. To learn that, we must examine the things themselves.
BEFORE beginning to examine things taboo, with a view to seeing whether they possess any common quality, whether any general statement can be made with regard to them, whether, in fine, it is possible to frame any induction from them, it is plain that we must discriminate between things which I will venture henceforth to distinguish as things taboo and things tabooed. Both classes are “infectious” and communicate their mysterious and dangerous qualities to whatever they come in contact with; but things tabooed are those which would not possess the taboo-infection, if they had not derived it from contact with something else taboo or tabooed, whereas things taboo are those which do not derive the contagion from anything else, but have it inherent in themselves. A single thing taboo might infect the whole universe; on the Loango Coast, a divine king's glance would infect a river and the river infect all in its course;' in modern Polish folklore a corpse may not be carried over a stream,” for the same reason; taboo persons are generally not allowed to be seen by the sun, for they would infect him, and he the universe.
For the purpose of this chapter, therefore, we must set aside things tabooed. Food, for instance, is not inherently taboo, though it may become tabooed in many ways—if it is touched, intentionally or unintentionally, by a sorcerer (in the Mulgrave Islands), or by an Amatonga (amongst the Zulus), or by a “tapued person " (in New Zealand), or by the Mikado, or by the sick (in Fiji), or by mourners (Tahiti, New Zealand, Samoa), or by a superior chief (Fiji and Tonga), or by an outcast (Burma and the Brahmins); and as the hands are ? Bastian, Loango Küste, i. 263.
? Am Urquell, iii. 51.
used for all sorts of things and are specially liable therefore to become “unclean," not only are mourners not allowed in Tahiti to feed themselves “ lest the food, defiled by the touch of their polluted hands, should cause their own death,” 1 not only has the tabooed person in Timor to be fed like a little child, for the same reason, not only was sacred food consumed in Mexico by a sort of “ bob-cherry” performance without the use of the hands, but in Tanna no food whatever might be offered with the bare hands, as such contact might give the food a potency for evil; finally, as a taboo person can infect things by his mere glance, it is a common precaution to allow no one to see you take your food.4
Tabooed persons, too, must be distinguished from persons taboo; and under the former head must probably be placed criminals and the sick. There is reason to think that in primitive society the only criminals are the violators of taboo ; and this crime carries its own punishment with it, for in the act of breaking taboo the offender himself becomes tabooed, and no one in the community will touch him or have anything to do with him. In fine, as the only offence known to primitive society is taboo-breaking, so the only punishment is excommunication. As far as the early Indo-Europeans are concerned, the evidence of linguistic palæontology is clear upon the latter point: "wretch " is a word which goes back to the earliest Aryan times, and it means an outlaw. Even in historic times the Roman community continued to protect itself by the interdict from fire and water, the object of which was probably in its origin rather to save those necessaries of life from pollution than to punish the offender. As for the sick, the taboo on them is, I think, confined to Polynesia, and is expressly explained as due to the fact that an atua or spirit enters them : they are thereby tabooed, but they are not taboo.
1 Wilkes, U.S. Exploring Expedition, iii. 115.
* Mr. Crawley gives instances from Abyssinia, Nubia, Madagascar, the Aztecs,
5 Schrader, Prehistoric Antiquities of the Aryan Peoples, 350.
aque aliquam sir.is, Mister
Yours of dirvintos