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ground on which he trod taboo, so amongst the Mexicans children on the day of birth were so taboo they might not be put upon the ground. Amongst the Dyaks, as commonly in modern European folk-lore, new-born children are the especial prey of evil spirits,” that is to say are taboo, for the restrictions of taboo are frequently thus explained, when the institution itself has otherwise perished. The child, like the mother, being thus “infectious," must be purified. Amongst the Caribs, the purification was effected by sprinkling the child with some of the father's blood.3 Amongst the Alfoers, the child was washed in swine's blood. On the Gold Coast rum is squirted over the child by the father. The rum is a substitute or surrogate for blood. Finally, in Polynesia, the Tohunga or priest dips a green twig into water and sprinkles the child's head, or else immerses the infant totally. The common custom of washing the new-born child is probably to be regarded as originally ceremonial rather than cleanly in intent. Amongst the Damaras, “a new-born child is washed
-the only time he is ever washed in his life—then dried and greased, and the ceremony is over.”?
The perfect parallel between the three notions of “ uncleanness," “ holiness," and taboo pure and simple, is well marked in the case of corpses—with which our list of things inherently taboo concludes. As contact with what is holy or taboo makes a thing holy or taboo, so in West Africa—and indeed we may say universally—“those persons who have touched the corpse are considered unclean.": As the newborn child or a “tapued person ” tabooes the ground he touches, so amongst the Buryats the corpse of a Shaman is placed“ on a felt carpet, so that it be not defiled by contact with the ground”; 9 and a lingering survival of this feeling is probably the explanation of some modern European folklore, e.g. in the Tirol a corpse must be conveyed by the highroad ; 10 in some parts of England the conveyance of a corpse i Bastian, Oest. Asien, v. 41.
2 Ibid. 47. 3 Müller, loc. cit.
- Bastian, op. cit. v. 270. 5 Ellis, loc. cit.
6 Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie, vi. 132 and 362. 7 Galton, South Africa, 190. 8 Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 241. 9 Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxiv, 2. 135. 10 Bastian, Der Mensch, ii. 329.
over private property is supposed to give a right of way. That contact with a corpse, like contact with things holy or taboo, renders special vestments necessary, has been already mentioned. Here we need only add one quotation to show that the reason is that the garments are rendered useless, and therefore, sometimes at least, must be destroyed. On the Slave Coast, " at the end of the period of mourning the widows put on clean cloths, the old cloths being burned. At Agweh, men who have lost their head wives do this also.”1 Not only are clothes taboo but the house also, either for a certain period (eight days amongst the Hill Dyaks, one according to the funeral law of Ceos 3), or altogether, in which case the house is deserted or destroyed (“usually the apartment in which the deceased is buried is closed, and never used again, and sometimes the roof is removed ”4), just as amongst the Ewe-speaking peoples the house of a person struck by the lightning.god is plundered, and even in the Middle Ages a murderer's house was formally and solemnly pulled down." That death, like the service of the gods, makes the day on which it takes place taboo for other purposes, has been already pointed out, as also that the very name of the deceased or of a god may be tabooed. Again, those who have touched holy things, or are like the priest and priestess of Artemis Hymnia @_themselves holy, may not eat like other people, i.e. may not touch food with their hands, and on the same ground, namely, that they would taboo their own food; "those who attended the deceased were most careful not to handle food, and for days were fed by others as if they were helpless infants."? Hence some peoples, pushing things to their logical conclusion, fast altogether in mourning, as also in the case of vows (for persons under a vow are dedicate and sacred to the god
1 Ellis, Ewe-speaking Peoples, 160. · Waitz-Gerland, Anthropologie, vi. 355. Roehl, Inscr. Ant. 395.
* Ellis, Yoruba-speaking Peoples, 160. Cf. Dobrizhoffer, History of the Abipones, ii. 273, “the house which he (the deceased) inhabited they pull entirely to pieces"; Im Thurn, Indians of Guiana, 225, "a feast is celebrated, and the house is then deserted for ever"; Dorman, Primitive Superstitions, “the Ojibways pulled down the house in which anyone had died "; so, too, the Navajos, Seminoles, Arkansas, and New English tribes. 5 Post, Geschlechtsgenossenschaft, 113.
Pausanias, viii. 13. 7 Turner, Nineteen Years in Polynesia, 228.
to whom the vow is made). “Fasting was common at such times (i.e. mourning), and they who did so ate nothing during the day, but had a meal at night; reminding us of what David said when mourning the death of Abner: So do God to me and more also, if I taste bread or ought else till the sun be down."1 Amongst the Ewe-speaking peoples, “the relatives must fast.”2 Amongst the Tshi-speaking peoples, “from the moment of death, the relatives of the deceased, and the members of the household, abstain from food and continue fasting as long as their strength permits." 3 Amongst the Yoruba-speaking peoples, "usage requires them to refuse all food, at least for the first twenty-four hours, after which they usually allow themselves to be persuaded to take some nourishment.”4 The Caribs also fasted during mourning. 5
Holy persons, such as the Selli, and tabooed persons, e.g. candidates prepared for initiation in the Eleusinia, generally may not wash, for fear, probably, lest the sanctity should be communicated by the water to other persons or things, in the same way as the impurity of the murderer in Greece might be conveyed by the offerings used in his purification. The hair and nail-parings of holy persons are also capable of conveying the taboo-infection. Hence they either remove their hair before entering into the taboo-state, or else allow it to grow during that period and remove and dispose of it carefully afterwards. These restrictions are common to mourners, as well as to persons under a vow, or otherwise sacred. In Central Africa, “while a woman's husband is absent, she goes without anointing her head or washing her face";6 and amongst the ancient Mexicans the relatives of a merchant abroad did not wash their heads or faces -a restriction which was probably part of a vow for the safety of the absent one. In the Miaotze tribe, at a parent's death the son remains in the house forty-nine days without washing his face ; 8 and when it is said of the Leaf-Wearers of Orissa that the only death ceremonies known to them are
bathing and fasting, this probably implies a previous (ceremonial) unwashen state. Amongst the negroes of the Gold Coast “the relations may not wash themselves or comb their hair during the funeral ceremonies, in consequence of which the rites themselves are sometimes styled Ofo, 'unwashed.'” “In Agweh a widow is supposed to remain shut up for six months in the room in which her husband is buried, during which time she may not wash or change her clothes. . . . At the end of the period of mourning the widows wash, shave the head, pare the nails, and put on clean cloths, the old cloths, the hair, and the nail-parings being burned.” 2 Amongst the Crow Indians the widow shaves her head and her mourning ceases when the hair has grown again. In the Tonga Islands, at the death of a Tooitonga the whole population shaved their heads. In Savage Island “ the women singed off the hair of their heads as a token of mourning on the death of their husbands.” 5 In Siam the head is shaved as a sign of mourning. The classical reader will be reminded of the Greek and Roman funeral custom. On the Gold Coast “the nearest relations of the deceased, of both sexes, shave the head and all hair from their bodies. This has commonly been regarded as a sign of grief; but, having in view the shaving of the head by women on the sacred days of deities, which are days of rejoicing, it appears rather to be a sign of respect.”? Amongst the Ewespeaking and the Yoruba-speaking peoples also, shaving marks the termination of the period of mourning Amongst the Soumoo or Woolwa Indians of the New World," the hair is cropped in sign of mourning”;' and the Australian blacks “ usually shave the head and plaster themselves with white copi or pipe-clay.” 10 Amongst the Bakongo, on the death of a chief, “ all his followers shaved their heads in token of mourning.” 11 Of the Abipones, last century it was noted that “it is also a custom to shave the heads of widows ... and to cover them with a grey and black hood . .. which it is reckoned a crime for her to take off till she marries again. A widower has his hair cropped, with many ceremonies, and his head covered with a little net-shaped hat, which is not taken off till the hair grows again."1 Of the Indians of Guiana it still holds good that “the survivors crop their hair,” ? and of the Fijians “many make themselves 'bald for the dead.'”s
* Ellis, Yoruba-speaking Peoples, 160.
* Mariner, Tonga Islands, 214. 5 Turner, Samoa, 306.
6 Bastian, Oest. Asien, iii. 320. ? Ellis, Tshi-speaking Peoples, 241. 8 Ellis, Ewe, 160; Yoruba, 160. 9. Journal of the Anthropological Institute, xxiv. 2. 207. 10 Ibid, 188.
11 Ward, Congo Cannibals, 43.
Purification, again, is required not only of the mourners, but of all who may have touched the dead, just as contact with a holy volume “defiled the hands ” of the later Jews and entailed ablution. “ Contact with a corpse renders a person unclean, and he must purify himself by washing in water from head to foot.” 4 “Those persons who have touched the corpse are considered unclean ; and, after the interment, they proceed in procession to the nearest well or brook, and sprinkle themselves with water, which is the ordinary native mode of purification." 5 In Samoa “ the fifth day (of mourning) was a day of 'purification. They bathed the face and hands with hot water, and then they were clean,' and resumed the usual time and mode of eating." In Peru “ certain springs were assigned as places for ablution after performing funeral rites.”? In ancient Greece a basin of lustral water was placed at the door of the house of mourning for purposes of purification.
Since, then, the reluctance to come in contact with a corpse and the precautions taken by those who have to come or have come into such contact are identical with the reluctance and precaution observed in the case of other things taboo or tabooed, it is reasonable to look for an identical cause. Now, the supposed hostility or malevolence of the spirit of the deceased will not serve as a common cause : the phylacteries and the sacred volume of the Jews were not
1 Dobrizhoffer, History of the Abipones, ii. 18.
* Ellis, Ewe, 160.