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In the same way, it is clear that, for the purposes of this chapter, we must class as tabooed and not as taboo all persons, animals, and objects in which a supernatural spirit takes up his abode. But though all supernatural beings are inherently taboo, we are not yet in a position to convert the proposition simply and say that all things taboo are supernatural: we have to inquire without prejudice whether as a · matter of fact there are things taboo and yet not supernatural. However this may turn out to be, a thing or person may undoubtedly become tabooed by contact with the supernatural. Hence strangers are not inherently taboo, but as belonging to strange gods bring with them strange supernatural influences. It is well, therefore, not to touch their food or eat with them—as the Yule Islanders hold and are supported by the Papuans of Humboldt Bay, the blackfellows of Victoria, and the Atiu Islanders, as well as the inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land. A common practice, also, is to fumigate strangers, to drive away their evil influences, or for the natives to offer blood to their own gods and so gain divine protection. The early explorers of the New World mistakenly regarded these proceedings as done in their honour : in Palmeria, “when they recieue straungers or newe guestes ... in token of friendshippe, they drawe a little bloud from themselues either out of the tongue, hand, arme, or any other part of the bodie.” 3
Finally, to our list of things tabooed rather than taboo we must add two-if originally they were two and not one class—in which the institution of taboo has had marked effects on the progress of civilisation; they are property and wives. In Polynesia, women before marriage are noa (common, safe), afterwards tabooed. So, too, in Mayumbe it is death to touch another man's wife, whereas unmarried women are free to all ; 4 and, elsewhere on the Loango Coast, married women are so taboo that things must not be handed directly to them by a man, but must be put down on the ground for them to pick up. In the same way a Waliah making
i Crawley, loc. cit.
2 Réville, Rel. des peup. non-civ. ii. 159. 3 Hakluyt, Historie of the West Indies, Decade iv. ch. 4. Bernal Diaz repeatedly makes the same mistake. * Bastian, Loango Küste, i. 244.
* Ibid. 168.
offerings to a Brahmin must not hand them but put them on the ground for him to pick up. As for property generally, in Polynesia the owner protects himself in possession by tabooing it; where fishing is conducted co-operatively, the catch is tabooed until divided; when a diamond mine was supposed to have been found near Honolulu, King Tamehameha at once tabooed it, in order to appropriate it exclusively to himself; and European shipmasters who did not care for native visitors got their vessels tabooed by a native chief. In the Moluccas charms are used for the protection of property which have the power of bringing illness or misfortune on the thief.? And, according to Hakluyt, the Caribs cultivated the plant called by them Hay; each man had his own plot of ground, and “euery one incloseth his portion onely with a little cotton line and they account it a matter of sacriledge if any passe ouer the corde and treade on the possession of his neighbour, and holde it for certayne that whoso violateth this sacred thing shall shortly perish.”3 So, too, in Melanesia, “in the eastern islands, the tambu [taboo) sign is often two sticks crossed and placed in the ground. In such a manner, the St. Christoval native seoures his patch of ground from intrusion.” 4 In Eastern Central Africa, “ the same word that is used for betrothing a girl is also applied to the selecting of a piece of ground for hoeing. A person who wants a new farm goes forth and makes his selection. After doing so he takes bunches of long grass and ties round the trees in that field. Everyone that passes knows by the grass put upon the trees that the field has been taken possession of. . . . In the same way the intending husband points to the cloth that he has given to the girl, and says, 'She is mine.'” 5
But the distinction between things tabooed and things taboo is not the only distinction that it is necessary to draw. The very conception of taboo, based as it largely is on the association of ideas, is one peculiarly liable to extension by analogy. If, for instance, a species of things is taboo, then
i Bastian, Oest. Asien, v. 53. Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie, vi. 354, 3 Hakluyt, Historie of the West Indies, Decade viii. ch. 6. * Guppy, The Solomon Islands, 32. • Duff Macdonald, Africana, i. 118.
e abundantia cautelæ, in the supererogation of precaution, the whole genus to which the species belongs might well come to be taboo. Or an individual which originally was only taboo at certain periods of its existence might easily come to be considered taboo at all times. Or we might expect à priori that new social institutions would, on the analogy of old ones, come to be protected by the power of taboo. And, as a matter of fact, unless we are going to ascribe division into castes to primitive society, we have in them a clear case of the growth of a taboo, and of its extension by analogy: the members of an inferior caste are treated by the superior castes as criminals were treated by primitive society; outcasts are, like outlaws, taboom eating, especially, must be avoided “with publicans and sinners."
It was not, however, specially for the benefit of outcasts that the last paragraph was penned. Of persons or things inherently taboo we have now two classes left: one consists of supernatural beings, the other includes blood, new-born children with their mothers, and corpses ; and it is conceivable that the taboo on one class was extended by analogy to the other class. That is a question to be considered hereafter. At present our business is to show that blood, etc., are as a matter of fact taboo.
As for blood, its taboo character has been so fully demonstrated by Mr. Frazer as to be beyond possibility of doubt. Here it will suffice to add one or two instances to his collection. Blood, as we have already seen, tabooes whatever it falls on, and renders the object or spot useless for all common purposes. Hence the very general precautions taken to prevent royal or sacred blood from being spilled on the ground. Thus in Angoy the blood of royal women may not be shed, and if they have to be put to death, their ribs must be broken. In Dahomi, in 1818, Gezo dethroned Adanlosan, and “as the royal blood may not be sbed, Adanlosan, bound hand and foot, was walled up in a small room, and left to die of starvation.” 3 In Dabaiba it was ordained that a priest who has offended “shall eyther * Golden Bough, i. 178 ff.
? Bastian, Loango Küste, i. 216. 3 Ellis, Eroe-speaking Peoples, 89.
be stoned to death or burned.”1 So, too, the blood of sacrifice was not allowed to be spilled on the ground either in ancient Egypt or in ancient India; according to the Grihya Sutra, “the effused blood, which at the time of immolation was held in a vessel, should be thrown on bundles of kúša grass." Strabo,too, says of an Indian tribe that they do not shed the blood of the victims they offer to the gods, but strangle the animals. And in ancient Egypt, “ when an ox was sacrificed at the grave, a priestly official caught in a vessel the blood which flowed from the throat when cut (cf. Pyramid text, Teta, line 144).” 4 Even to see a thing taboo is dangerous. Blood therefore must not be seen, and in ancient India, it appears from a Prayoga,“ “ the institutor of the sacrifice and the priests should sit during the operation with their faces averted, so as not to behold the sanguinary work.” Naturally, therefore, the shedder of blood is regarded as taboo. Amongst the Yumos of Colorado the man-slayer is taboo for a month, during which time he must fast; 6 and the Kaffir is “unclean” after a battle. Animal blood produces the same effects. The Hottentot after a hunt must purify himself from the blood of the animals he has slain.
The “sanctity” or “uncleanness” of the new-born child and its mother may next be illustrated. In West Africa, “after childbirth, the mother is considered unclean for seven days.” 9 The Leaf-Wearers of Orissa also seclude a woman after childbirth for seven days.10 On the Loango Coast the mother is taboo for as long as six months.11 In Celebes she is pamali ( = taboo) for a period the length of which is not stated. 12 Amongst the Australian tribes of lat. 31° 0 S., long. 138° 55' E., “ for a short time after birth of child she is considered unclean.”i In Central Australia “the mother is isolated until she is able to leave her seclusion with the baby.”2 For the Australians generally, one moon is the length of time stated.3 Being herself taboo, she tabooes everything with which she comes in contact; therefore, on the Amazon, “when a birth takes place in the house, everything is taken out of it, even the pans and pots, and bows and arrows, till next day”;4 and in Western Africa the mother “can touch nothing without rendering it also unclean." 5 The vessels she has used must therefore, like those of the Mikado, be burned; and her hair-for it conveys the infection of taboo— be likewise burned. Persons taboo cannot take food into their hands without “infecting” it and rendering it unfit for consumption. The Kaniagmut mother therefore must be fed by others, and they, to avoid the contagion, must not touch her but offer the food on a stick. In Travancore the Veddah father shares the taboo, and dare not eat anything but roots. Among the Piojés of Putumayo, both parents fast for days after the birth of a child. The Caribs, too, fasted on the occasion. Finally, the taboo is removed by some mode of purification : amongst the Leaf-Wearers of Orissa the woman bathes and a feast is made. Amongst the Alfoers, not only must the mother be purified in running water, but, on the return from the stream, the whole village must beat the father with sticks, wishing good-luck to the new-born child. On the Gold Coast, when three months have elapsed, the mother “makes offerings to the tutelary deity of the family; and then, attired in her best clothes, and covered with gold ornaments, she pays visits to her friends and neighbours, accompanied by a band of singing women, who sing songs of thanksgiving for her safe delivery.” 10
i Hakluyt, Historie of the West Indies, Decade vii. ch. 10. 2 Quoted by Rajendralála Mitra, Indo-Aryans, i. 365.
P. 710. * A. Wiedemann in Am Urquell, iii, 114.
* MS. No. 1552, Sanskrit College of Calcutta, quoted by Rajendralála Mitra, Indo-Aryans, i. 372.
6 Bastian, Der Mensch, iii. 24. 7 lbid. 8 Ibid.
9 Ellis, T'shi-speuking Peoples, 233. 10 Journal of the Anthropological Society, III. cxxxvi. 11 Bastian, Loango Kiiste, i. 184. 12 Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie, vi. 355.
The new-born child also possesses the taboo-infection in a high degree. Just as the Polynesian chief rendered the
1 Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxiv. 2. 168. Ibid. 183. 3 Ibid. 187.
- Wallace, Travels on the Amazon, 345. 6 Ellis, loc. cit.
Journal of the Anthropological Institute, viii, 222, 7 Müller, Geschichte der Amerikanischen Ur-religionen, 212. 8 Journal of the Anthropological Society, III. cxxxvi. 9 Bastian, Oest. Asien, v. 270. 10 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 233.