Erenlai - Items filtered by date: Saturday, 03 February 2007
Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:26

彝族舊時婦女裙子

調查地點:涼山州鹽源縣白烏鎮一村六組
調查對象:一村六組黑惹莫阿支(hli sse mop at nry),女,六十八歲

以下為黑惹莫阿支所介紹:
彝族裙子的變化:
彝家姑娘一歲以下的小女孩都不穿衣服,一至六歲給她穿一件長衣,從七歲那年起給她換一條童裙,童裙的樣式如附圖一。
整條童裙用三斤羊毛,具體用在各部分,分別是:裙口帶一兩、固播一斤、乍莫兩斤,各種顏色用不同的染料在羊毛,沒有織成線就染成不同的顏色,把羊毛放進染料中,過幾分鐘後撈來曬乾。染料各種顏色都有,由漢族出產,不知具體的來歷,這裡有兩種主要的,一種是漢族出產的染莫,原來是藍色粉末,用水泡後變成了紅色,另一種是彝族從山上挖出來的﹝無杰﹞,無杰挖出來是黃色的根,煮後成了紅色。彝族裙子的紅色幾乎是用這種,而黑色的有些不需要染料,因為羊毛自身就是黑色。羊毛首先用剪刀剪下,後用海莫彈﹝海漠是用一塊大竹塊和一根很細的竹條構成的,形狀似弓﹞。羊毛彈後,再用手捻,分成一塊一塊,然後捻成毛線,構成了細線,再用兩根細線一起紡成一根線,這樣就可以用依莫、依惹、依克…等這些工具來紡織。織成一塊一塊後,用線連起就織成了裙子。捻線沒有一個固定的時間。
至十七歲那年開始換童裙,代表已成熟,從這以後就再也不穿童裙了。換童裙有一個儀式:第一天就用一塊紅色的毛布乍里,把兩個酒杯放在木盆上,另外再和蕎麥元子一起放在頭上旋轉。同時還要說些話,內容是:兒子可以成家,姑娘可以嫁人,以後要生九個兒子和一個姑娘。然後就給她換成人的裙子。成人裙子如附圖二。
成人群和童裙織的過程和各種材料都是一樣的,只是組成的各部分所用的羊毛、時間和裙子的大小不同,織一條成人裙要用六斤二兩羊毛,各部分分別是:裙口帶一兩、疊惹半斤、固播一斤、都提半斤、小錛子一斤、乍莫二斤、喜底一斤、克約一兩,捻毛線仍然沒有具體的時間,但織完一條成人裙需要十四天十六小時:裙口帶四小時、疊惹一天、固播一天、都提一天、小錛子三天、乍莫五天、吉莫一天、喜底三天、克約半天,裙子各部分的長度和寬度不太清楚,因為沒有量度尺,只能用眼睛看著做,但有一規定,就是成人裙一般在十五米以上,十五米以下就不能織成裙子。裙下百摺也沒有規定。
織裙子一年中哪個月都可以織,但一般都在五、六月,因為這兩段時間日長夜短。
以上為黑惹莫阿支所述。我想織一條裙很複雜,但人們為什麼都織這些裙子穿呢?這表明那石國家的手工業不發達,缺乏創造力,也表明當時的人們都處於貧窮落後的狀態,現在我們彝家姑娘再也沒穿這種羊毛織的裙子了,甚至看不見羊毛織的裙子了。這也說明我國的手工業有了很大的發展。

記錄於2001年7月9日晚上八點
整理於2002年6月17日中午十二點

附加的多媒體:
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Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:24

凉山婚姻状况

关于三代人婚姻状况的调查

调查地点:凉山洲盐源县白乌镇一村六组
调查对象:盐源县白乌镇一村六组,马日摞〔nge bbu ryt nuo〕男,64岁

以下为马日摞所述:
我们彝族家对于婚姻观念很严重。以前的社会里人要分为等级,只能和同等级的人结婚,不同等级的人就不能结婚,如和不同等级的人结婚时,许多亲戚和家人都来反抗。他们采取不同的方式,有的被活烧死、有的被强迫自杀,还有的被赶出家,从此家人和所有的亲戚都不认他们。姐妹家的孩子也不能结婚,兄弟之间的孩子也不能结婚,任何人都不能违反这规矩,凡是违反者都会受到严重的逞罚。由此在以前的社会里婚姻完全没有自由,都是由父母亲或者是亲戚做主的,儿女们根本没有反抗的馀地。可是现在的社会提倡婚姻自由,其实我们彝族家的婚姻还不是自由的,自由只是表面上的。我们一家三代人的婚姻状况如下:
第一代
马巫合与沈巫甲结婚于一九三八年,马巫合的爷爷奶奶是沈巫甲的外婆和外公,他们都由父母亲做主的,他们两的孩子也是由他们做主的,他们的孩子分为:
第二代

1. 马日摞〔男〕与李阿支结婚于1957年,在结婚之前他们互不相识,但是他们的父母亲是亲戚。他们俩双方都不喜欢,但没有反抗的能力,只好忍受著许多痛苦生活在一起。
2. 马日歪〔女〕与李巫合结婚于1969年,父母亲是属辈子妹〔姐弟〕,刚结婚时,李巫合不喜欢马日歪,在结婚时,李巫合始终都不想和她生活在一起,他几次都想逃避,但没办法。许多亲戚都守著他,逼迫他结婚,而父母亲为了不破坏姐弟间的感情,一方面为了钱,只要是子妹家的在经济方面都可以互相帮助,这样不管孩子怎样反抗他们都不听。
3. 马日青〔女〕与李志祥结婚于1968年,他们也是亲戚,还是由父母亲做主的,父母亲都为了感情,为了经济,把我们三的子妹的对象都是同一家最亲的人家。
第三代
1.马日摞与李阿支的孩子:
1.1 马阿呷〔女〕与李拉则结婚于1974年,从这代开始,婚姻提倡自由了,但其实我们彝族家还没完全自由。李拉则和马阿呷都是由父母亲定的,还是最亲的表子表妹,他们喜欢或不喜欢都得依从父母亲的决定,根本没有自由谈恋爱。
1.2 马巫甲〔女〕与李阿卡结婚于1989年,他们是自由婚姻,但是他们的婚姻还是由父母亲做主,在结婚之前他们都不认识,父母亲定了,他们互相喜欢然后才结婚的,假如不喜欢他们也可以不结婚。
1.3 马金权〔男〕与沈秀珍结婚于1996年,是自由婚姻,他们的婚姻仍是父母亲定的,他们的对象常常是父母亲选好,然后他们互相喜欢才结婚。
1.4 马巫各〔女〕与杨聪结婚于2001年,是自由婚姻,但仍是父母亲戚介绍的。

2.马日歪和李巫合的孩子:
李加甲〔女〕、李芳〔女〕、李远〔女〕,她们三个至今都还没结婚。

3马日青与李志祥的孩子:
3-1 李力挖〔男〕与荷各各结婚于1996年,他们是自由婚姻的,是父母亲定的,他们不是亲戚,但是他们的父母亲是最好的朋友,不是亲戚的话就要问以前祖宗是不是同级的,不同级的就不能通婚。
3-2 李明〔男〕,还没有结婚。
以上是我们三代人的婚姻状况就是这样。
据上所述,彝族的婚姻至今依然保有这个古老的民族传统。一家三代人的婚姻状况当中却找不到一个完全自由的婚姻,有几个是自由的婚姻,但是找不到一个是自己谈情说爱的,而他们的爱情是建立在父母亲身上的。现在许多人都说不存在等级之分了,可以从这一家三代的婚姻状况来看,彝族人的眼中仍存在著等级之分,以表示出彝族是个亲戚观念很强的民族,在三代人的婚姻当中,只有一家采不是亲戚。我也是一个彝族人,但是我反对我们民族的这个古老传统观念,婚姻应该是完全自由的,不应该由父母亲做主。不知曾经多少彝族家的儿女受过爱情的折磨来过了他们的一生。我们新的一代应该改掉这个古老的传统,获得完全由我们自主的婚姻。

附加的多媒体:
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Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:23

涼山婚姻狀況

關於三代人婚姻狀況的調查

調查地點:涼山洲鹽源縣白烏鎮一村六組
調查對象:鹽源縣白烏鎮一村六組,馬日摞﹝nge bbu ryt nuo﹞男,64歲

以下為馬日摞所述:
我們彝族家對於婚姻觀念很嚴重。以前的社會裡人要分為等級,只能和同等級的人結婚,不同等級的人就不能結婚,如和不同等級的人結婚時,許多親戚和家人都來反抗。他們採取不同的方式,有的被活燒死、有的被強迫自殺,還有的被趕出家,從此家人和所有的親戚都不認他們。姐妹家的孩子也不能結婚,兄弟之間的孩子也不能結婚,任何人都不能違反這規矩,凡是違反者都會受到嚴重的逞罰。由此在以前的社會裡婚姻完全沒有自由,都是由父母親或者是親戚做主的,兒女們根本沒有反抗的餘地。可是現在的社會提倡婚姻自由,其實我們彝族家的婚姻還不是自由的,自由只是表面上的。我們一家三代人的婚姻狀況如下:
第一代
馬巫合與沈巫甲結婚於一九三八年,馬巫合的爺爺奶奶是沈巫甲的外婆和外公,他們都由父母親做主的,他們兩的孩子也是由他們做主的,他們的孩子分為:
第二代

1. 馬日摞﹝男﹞與李阿支結婚於1957年,在結婚之前他們互不相識,但是他們的父母親是親戚。他們倆雙方都不喜歡,但沒有反抗的能力,只好忍受著許多痛苦生活在一起。
2. 馬日歪﹝女﹞與李巫合結婚於1969年,父母親是屬輩子妹﹝姐弟﹞,剛結婚時,李巫合不喜歡馬日歪,在結婚時,李巫合始終都不想和她生活在一起,他幾次都想逃避,但沒辦法。許多親戚都守著他,逼迫他結婚,而父母親為了不破壞姐弟間的感情,一方面為了錢,只要是子妹家的在經濟方面都可以互相幫助,這樣不管孩子怎樣反抗他們都不聽。
3. 馬日青﹝女﹞與李志祥結婚於1968年,他們也是親戚,還是由父母親做主的,父母親都為了感情,為了經濟,把我們三的子妹的對象都是同一家最親的人家。
第三代
1.馬日摞與李阿支的孩子:
1.1 馬阿呷﹝女﹞與李拉則結婚於1974年,從這代開始,婚姻提倡自由了,但其實我們彝族家還沒完全自由。李拉則和馬阿呷都是由父母親定的,還是最親的表子表妹,他們喜歡或不喜歡都得依從父母親的決定,根本沒有自由談戀愛。
1.2 馬巫甲﹝女﹞與李阿卡結婚於1989年,他們是自由婚姻,但是他們的婚姻還是由父母親做主,在結婚之前他們都不認識,父母親定了,他們互相喜歡然後才結婚的,假如不喜歡他們也可以不結婚。
1.3 馬金權﹝男﹞與沈秀珍結婚於1996年,是自由婚姻,他們的婚姻仍是父母親定的,他們的對象常常是父母親選好,然後他們互相喜歡才結婚。
1.4 馬巫各﹝女﹞與楊聰結婚於2001年,是自由婚姻,但仍是父母親戚介紹的。

2.馬日歪和李巫合的孩子:
李加甲﹝女﹞、李芳﹝女﹞、李遠﹝女﹞,她們三個至今都還沒結婚。

3馬日青與李志祥的孩子:
3-1 李力挖﹝男﹞與荷各各結婚於1996年,他們是自由婚姻的,是父母親定的,他們不是親戚,但是他們的父母親是最好的朋友,不是親戚的話就要問以前祖宗是不是同級的,不同級的就不能通婚。
3-2 李明﹝男﹞,還沒有結婚。
以上是我們三代人的婚姻狀況就是這樣。
據上所述,彝族的婚姻至今依然保有這個古老的民族傳統。一家三代人的婚姻狀況當中卻找不到一個完全自由的婚姻,有幾個是自由的婚姻,但是找不到一個是自己談情說愛的,而他們的愛情是建立在父母親身上的。現在許多人都說不存在等級之分了,可以從這一家三代的婚姻狀況來看,彝族人的眼中仍存在著等級之分,以表示出彝族是個親戚觀念很強的民族,在三代人的婚姻當中,只有一家採不是親戚。我也是一個彝族人,但是我反對我們民族的這個古老傳統觀念,婚姻應該是完全自由的,不應該由父母親做主。不知曾經多少彝族家的兒女受過愛情的折磨來過了他們的一生。我們新的一代應該改掉這個古老的傳統,獲得完全由我們自主的婚姻。

附加的多媒體:
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Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:13

房屋修建過程的調查

調查地點:涼山州鹽源縣白烏鎮一村六組
調查對象:涼山州鹽源縣白烏鎮小學教師馬呷呷,女,二十八歲;白烏鎮一村六組日伙爾歪,男,四十三歲;黑惹莫巫呷,女,五十三歲。
調查者:鹽源縣民族中學學生馬發根,女。

以下為馬呷呷介紹:
關於我家房屋的修建是這樣的:到2002年3月,我家老房子已有二十多年,比較陳舊,到處是耗子洞,甚至有一處要垮下來了。面臨這種情況,必須修建一下房子,但我們家當家的是母親,母親年老而文盲,她不知所措,所以新房子的任務也就落在我這個長女的肩上,但我們彝族傳統的風俗習慣就是修建這類工作全是男人的事,女人是從不過問也一竅不通的。但我們家的情況比較特殊,父親去世得早,兒子還不懂事,不能當家,只有我自己亂想著修,在修這個房子之前,我想了好幾夜,我覺得老房子這種修法不好,比較分散,難於管理,較不安全,四面都通,還有一個缺點就是牲畜和房屋沒有分開,比較不衛生。整個村子的房屋都存在著這樣的問題。通過這幾個問題,我想這個房屋應當儘量避免這幾個問題才對。所以我就想,這個房子必須用四個長方形的房子圍成一個四合院,只留一扇大門,牲口的房屋則建設另一處,這樣就比較集中、安全且衛生,如圖1-1。在建設這個房子的第一天,我把這個想法告訴了木匠日伙爾歪。經過和他們的一番爭論,這個房子還是按照我的想法修成了。由於各種原因,房子的面積小,但這是我們村裡的第一家。正房只有一間,比其他幾間都寬敞。這是根據我們自己的需要和風俗來設計的,因為在彝族家,客人來訪時,人比較多,而且都坐在正房。正房兩邊各有兩小間,一共四間,兩間是主人的臥室,一間是客房,還有一間是放洋芋的。正房對面那間是準備做廚房的,廚房門口有一扇大門,大門一鎖,就什麼東西都不能進來了,大門外是豬圈和廁所,我的設計就是這樣的。

接下來為日伙爾歪的介紹:
修這個房子前要先算命,以算媽媽的命為主。彝族的kut(注1)分為東、西、南、北、東南、西北、東北、西南等八個架子。媽媽的kut在tap ggie ap mop(注2)的一面,門就不能開向這一面。你媽媽屬鼠,今年五十三歲,kut在bbu ddu(注3),所以門不能向bbu ddu開,這些都是希望以後住這個房子不要生病。把命算好後,才開始修房子。修這個房子,經過多次爭論之後都贊同馬呷呷老師的設計來修的。修建的第一天,先把地坪量好。房子的正房長二丈五尺,寬一丈九尺八吋;主人臥室長三丈二尺,寬一丈一尺;客房長三丈二尺,寬一丈一尺;廚房長二丈五尺、寬一丈二尺八吋,這樣就把整個房屋的面積固定好。接著把牆板架好,牆板是用長六尺,寬一尺四吋,高一尺的木板做成的。牆板樣式如圖1-2。先將一畚箕泥土放進牆板裡,然後在一個木盆裡放兩個酒杯和草煙,一邊把酒倒在牆板上,一邊說:「你住在這間房屋裡平安無事,你住這個房子裡直到白髮的時候,子孫住在這間房子裡都能受到庇祐,長命百歲。」把草煙分給九個人,「九」代表ggu ko(注4)。接著就開始填泥土,第一層填好後用牆垂舂,牆垂的樣式如圖1-3。把第一層舂好後再填一層泥土,舂好了還填一層泥土,一把牆要填三層土才算舂完。第二轉牆以後,必須用一根竹棍或者木塊放在牆板的架子下,此外,每過一把牆就裝一層牆基,六把牆轉圓過門。過門這天必須要選好日子,日子不好,表示牲口養不好,財運也不好,還有過門這天必須吃豆腐,豆腐還沒有煮之前,先將豆腐泡撒在牆上,一邊說:「把不好的各種疾病壓在地下,不要讓它出來。」因為豆腐是用豆子做成的,豆子從地下長出來,所以能夠把各種疾病壓住。接著裝過門板,過門板長七尺五吋,寬七吋,厚三吋,然後再裝樓橋,每間房子必須裝九根、五根或三根竿子,六根或七根是絕對不能裝的,因為我們彝族家人死時,會在死人下面放置六或七塊木塊。在樓橋上放一些木板好放東西。這家房子的正房有五根樓橋,其餘三間各三根。樓橋裝完之後,再過兩把牆,牆的中間和牆腳上裝挑。正房裝四根挑,其他各裝三根,裝好後再收尖,把尖收好後,在主人坐的那邊安一根圓柱。圓柱上放一根got jie(注5),got jie上放一根ie ddu ddu(注6),上面還再放一根got jie,最後就是兩根yi mu iie(注7)。Yi mu iie的上面是竿子,竿子上面再釘木板。正房有二十二根竿子,前後各十一根,木板共一百六十塊。接著再蓋瓦,瓦大概是六千塊,這樣就把房子蓋好了。然後再選個好日子才開門,把門開好後,就挖一個火塘。火塘上安三個鍋庄,三個鍋庄各有各的名字,但我不知道它們確切的稱呼。把鍋庄安好後,就燒火,燒火時還說:「鬼不要進屋,好的可以進屋,在這家房子裡不要出現吵鬧。」再把門裝在從外入內時的左邊,按照門的方位,就分成了客人和主人坐的位置。裝有門的一邊是主人坐的,在主人坐的一邊牆上裝兩根木棍,然後把一塊木塊放在上面。這是用來接菩薩的。任何其他的人都不能亂摸,主人家也不能隨便摸。我們彝家殺雞、豬、羊、牛時,首先必須把肝拿來燒,燒熟時放在木塊上,一會兒後拿下來,主人吃了客人才能吃。還有主人的位置,客人是不能坐的,最特殊的是,凡是主人家的哥哥都不能坐主人家的位置,假如坐了,就表示對主人的妻子不尊重。整個房屋就是這樣修好的。

下面再由黑惹莫巫呷介紹:
我家這個房子總共修了十一天,每天都使用三個牆板。人分成三組,每天修房的人數都不少於二十八人,這些人都是我的鄉鄰們,他們都是來幫忙的,我沒付給他們工錢,只是在我家吃。修這座房子用了五百元錢,都是用在買瓦上的,其他都是鄉鄰們幫著修的,不花錢。

綜括以上三個人的介紹,我覺得這座房子設計的優點是把牲口與人分開,這一點很好,因為我們彝族是個不怎麼講究衛生的家族,對生活很隨便,沒有一個生活程序。這個房子排除了鄉鄰們以前所存在的問題,也給鄉鄰們起了一個帶頭的作用。經他們的介紹,我們可以了解到,彝族的封建思想還沒有徹底消除,許多人都還相當迷信,這是現存的一個很大的問題。我們年輕的一代怎樣才能解決這個問題呢?

第一個介紹紀錄於2002年6月28日中午十二點
第二個介紹紀錄於2002年6月28日晚上
第三個介紹紀錄於2002年6月29日
整理於2002年6月30日

注:
1. kut:命宮
2. tap ggie ap mop:本命
3. bbu ddu:東
4. ggu ko:牢固
5. got jie:屋樑
6. le ddup:屋樑
7. yi mu jie: 前後橫樑

附加的多媒體:
{rokbox}media/articles/ma_maison_ct.jpg{/rokbox}
Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:12

房屋修建过程的调查

调查地点:凉山州盐源县白乌镇一村六组
调查对象:凉山州盐源县白乌镇小学教师马呷呷,女,二十八岁;白乌镇一村六组日伙尔歪,男,四十三岁;黑惹莫巫呷,女,五十三岁。

以下为马呷呷介绍:
关于我家房屋的修建是这样的:到2002年3月,我家老房子已有二十多年,比较陈旧,到处是耗子洞,甚至有一处要垮下来了。面临这种情况,必须修建一下房子,但我们家当家的是母亲,母亲年老而文盲,她不知所措,所以新房子的任务也就落在我这个长女的肩上,但我们彝族传统的风俗习惯就是修建这类工作全是男人的事,女人是从不过问也一窍不通的。但我们家的情况比较特殊,父亲去世得早,儿子还不懂事,不能当家,只有我自己乱想著修,在修这个房子之前,我想了好几夜,我觉得老房子这种修法不好,比较分散,难于管理,较不安全,四面都通,还有一个缺点就是牲畜和房屋没有分开,比较不卫生。整个村子的房屋都存在著这样的问题。通过这几个问题,我想这个房屋应当尽量避免这几个问题才对。所以我就想,这个房子必须用四个长方形的房子围成一个四合院,只留一扇大门,牲口的房屋则建设另一处,这样就比较集中、安全且卫生,如图1-1。在建设这个房子的第一天,我把这个想法告诉了木匠日伙尔歪。经过和他们的一番争论,这个房子还是按照我的想法修成了。由于各种原因,房子的面积小,但这是我们村里的第一家。正房只有一间,比其他几间都宽敞。这是根据我们自己的需要和风俗来设计的,因为在彝族家,客人来访时,人比较多,而且都坐在正房。正房两边各有两小间,一共四间,两间是主人的卧室,一间是客房,还有一间是放洋芋的。正房对面那间是准备做厨房的,厨房门口有一扇大门,大门一锁,就什么东西都不能进来了,大门外是猪圈和厕所,我的设计就是这样的。

接下来为日伙尔歪的介绍:
修这个房子前要先算命,以算妈妈的命为主。彝族的kut(注1)分为东、西、南、北、东南、西北、东北、西南等八个架子。妈妈的kut在tap ggie ap mop(注2)的一面,门就不能开向这一面。你妈妈属鼠,今年五十三岁,kut在bbu ddu(注3),所以门不能向bbu ddu开,这些都是希望以后住这个房子不要生病。把命算好后,才开始修房子。修这个房子,经过多次争论之后都赞同马呷呷老师的设计来修的。修建的第一天,先把地坪量好。房子的正房长二丈五尺,宽一丈九尺八寸;主人卧室长三丈二尺,宽一丈一尺;客房长三丈二尺,宽一丈一尺;厨房长二丈五尺、宽一丈二尺八寸,这样就把整个房屋的面积固定好。接著把墙板架好,墙板是用长六尺,宽一尺四寸,高一尺的木板做成的。墙板样式如图1-2。先将一畚箕泥土放进墙板里,然后在一个木盆里放两个酒杯和草烟,一边把酒倒在墙板上,一边说:「你住在这间房屋里平安无事,你住这个房子里直到白发的时候,子孙住在这间房子里都能受到庇佑,长命百岁。」把草烟分给九个人,「九」代表ggu ko(注4)。接著就开始填泥土,第一层填好后用墙垂舂,墙垂的样式如图1-3。把第一层舂好后再填一层泥土,舂好了还填一层泥土,一把墙要填三层土才算舂完。第二转墙以后,必须用一根竹棍或者木块放在墙板的架子下,此外,每过一把墙就装一层墙基,六把墙转圆过门。过门这天必须要选好日子,日子不好,表示牲口养不好,财运也不好,还有过门这天必须吃豆腐,豆腐还没有煮之前,先将豆腐泡撒在墙上,一边说:「把不好的各种疾病压在地下,不要让它出来。」因为豆腐是用豆子做成的,豆子从地下长出来,所以能够把各种疾病压住。接著装过门板,过门板长七尺五寸,宽七寸,厚三寸,然后再装楼桥,每间房子必须装九根、五根或三根竿子,六根或七根是绝对不能装的,因为我们彝族家人死时,会在死人下面放置六或七块木块。在楼桥上放一些木板好放东西。这家房子的正房有五根楼桥,其馀三间各三根。楼桥装完之后,再过两把墙,墙的中间和墙脚上装挑。正房装四根挑,其他各装三根,装好后再收尖,把尖收好后,在主人坐的那边安一根圆柱。圆柱上放一根got jie(注5),got jie上放一根ie ddu ddu(注6),上面还再放一根got jie,最后就是两根yi mu iie(注7)。Yi mu iie的上面是竿子,竿子上面再钉木板。正房有二十二根竿子,前后各十一根,木板共一百六十块。接著再盖瓦,瓦大概是六千块,这样就把房子盖好了。然后再选个好日子才开门,把门开好后,就挖一个火塘。火塘上安三个锅庄,三个锅庄各有各的名字,但我不知道它们确切的称呼。把锅庄安好后,就烧火,烧火时还说:「鬼不要进屋,好的可以进屋,在这家房子里不要出现吵闹。」再把门装在从外入内时的左边,按照门的方位,就分成了客人和主人坐的位置。装有门的一边是主人坐的,在主人坐的一边墙上装两根木棍,然后把一块木块放在上面。这是用来接菩萨的。任何其他的人都不能乱摸,主人家也不能随便摸。我们彝家杀鸡、猪、羊、牛时,首先必须把肝拿来烧,烧熟时放在木块上,一会儿后拿下来,主人吃了客人才能吃。还有主人的位置,客人是不能坐的,最特殊的是,凡是主人家的哥哥都不能坐主人家的位置,假如坐了,就表示对主人的妻子不尊重。整个房屋就是这样修好的。

下面再由黑惹莫巫呷介绍:
我家这个房子总共修了十一天,每天都使用三个墙板。人分成三组,每天修房的人数都不少于二十八人,这些人都是我的乡邻们,他们都是来帮忙的,我没付给他们工钱,只是在我家吃。修这座房子用了五百元钱,都是用在买瓦上的,其他都是乡邻们帮著修的,不花钱。

综括以上三个人的介绍,我觉得这座房子设计的优点是把牲口与人分开,这一点很好,因为我们彝族是个不怎么讲究卫生的家族,对生活很随便,没有一个生活程序。这个房子排除了乡邻们以前所存在的问题,也给乡邻们起了一个带头的作用。经他们的介绍,我们可以了解到,彝族的封建思想还没有彻底消除,许多人都还相当迷信,这是现存的一个很大的问题。我们年轻的一代怎样才能解决这个问题呢?

第一个介绍纪录于2002年6月28日中午十二点
第二个介绍纪录于2002年6月28日晚上
第三个介绍纪录于2002年6月29日
整理于2002年6月30日

注:
1. kut:命宫
2. tap ggie ap mop:本命
3. bbu ddu:东
4. ggu ko:牢固
5. got jie:屋梁
6. le ddup:屋梁
7. yi mu jie: 前后横梁

附加的多媒体:
{rokbox}media/articles/ma_maison_cs.jpg{/rokbox}
Sunday, 04 February 2007 03:06

自述

我从小就很想读书,读书这件成了我日夜的追求,可是不管我怎样请求,父母亲都不让我读书。难道我生在这世上是多馀的吗?如果是多馀的那为何还要生我?同一个父母亲,为什么姐姐和弟弟他们三个能读书而我却不能?真的我不该活在这个世上呢?

记得小时候,我每天都在放羊,每当到开学的时候,我总是哭著要求父母亲让我去上学,可是我怎样请求,他们都不听,当时我很恨他们。放羊回来的时候,我总是哭闹著要求让我去上学。那时,我的脑海里出现了一个坏念头,希望我家的羊子快死掉,好让我去上学。我哭了三年,父母亲还是老样子。后来,眼看等待他们的同意是不可能的,离开学只有一个星期时,我在被盖里想来想去,最后我决定逃走去读书。但是我平日挖药菜所累积的钱只有二十元,学费还差十元,我该怎么办呢?后来,我骗了我爸爸最小的妹妹,借了十元钱,说是家里的人借的,她一句话也不说就把十元钱拿给我了。我准备好了学费,心里暗自高兴地放羊去了。到了山上,我不放羊,悄悄地跑向学校去报名。到学校时,一年级已经把班级都分好了,正在数人数,这下我心里很紧张,我站了许久,老师还是没发现我。舒元珍老师是我一至四年级的班主任,这下,我勇敢地走向她,她看见之后给我说了很多话,但是我听不懂汉语,所以不知道她在说什么。当她把手伸向我时,我才知道把学费拿给她。

下午回来的时后,我不敢回去,我到叔叔家里去。当我到叔叔家时,狗叫的时后,我心里就怦怦跳个不停。害怕父母亲把我的学费害怕父母亲把我的学费退回来。后来我的爸爸来了,他没打我也没骂我,只是说我只能读到六年级,假如成绩不好,我就得马上回来放羊,然后就把我带回去了。

“成绩不好就回来放羊”这句话让我更努力去读书,一至六年级我的成绩都很好,舒元珍老师也对我特别的好。小学毕业的时候,我考了白乌小学六年级的第一名,因此父母亲只好让我继续读书。可是,老天又和我作对了,我进入民族中学初一二班还不到一个星期,我的爸爸就去世了。这下我大学的梦也就结束了吧!爸爸去世了,只有妈妈和大姐照顾我们三个子妹读书实在太难了。父亲去世以后,我心里总是产生一种矛盾:不读书,我实在舍不得;读书,看著年老体弱的妈妈实在不忍心,而且我定有娃娃亲,那一家人给过我家一头牛,多少次都要求我结婚,不结婚就把牛的钱退给他们。但是,我始终都不放弃读书这件事,马马虎虎的过完了初中一年级,到了二年级,我准备放弃了我的一切要退学。几次悄悄地把被盖收好准备回家,但当我要走时,读书这件事又站在我的前面,我舍不得又放下被盖重新和我的同学一起上课。初中一年级到三年级,我一分钱都不敢多花。初二时,有一次,为了节约钱,我早上买一个馒头吃,中午和下午各打五角钱的饭,然后要一碗白菜汤配饭一起吃,这样吃了三个星期,我的胃病又开始痛了。我睡在上铺,每到晚上我就拿我的洗脸盆放在床下接我的呕吐物。就这样我每晚都坐著吐,有时一天晚上只能睡三个小时。我的身体越来越弱且常生病。但是不管我的病怎样严重,我都咬紧了牙,在心里面想,我要做个坚强的女孩,不管环境怎样困苦,我也要做坚强的女孩。每当我在无奈时,只有坚强出现在我眼前安慰我、鼓励我。

到了初三第一学期,听妈妈和大姐的话,我读书再也没希望了。我在无可奈何的时候,我的心也改变了,算了,没希望了。可当我在痛苦的时候,认识了许多好心人。以前我从来没有把我的任何情况告诉别人,但这次我没办法,我鼓起勇气把我一生的故事告诉了一位西南交通大学的一位大学生─陈佑松。他听后就要求妈妈让我继续读书,他愿每个月给我五十元的生活费,当时他对我说,他已经有工作了,读书也不需要钱,而且照样可以领到工资。后来,我从朋友那里听到他完全没有工作,更不说是工资。他给我寄过两次钱,每次我收到钱时,我都想退回去,但是我又不得不要他的钱,因为我若不接受他的钱我就不能读书。这样到第二学期,我的心也有了新的想法,乾脆退学好了。因为每次看到大姐和妈妈给我学费的脸色和那位大学生省吃简用给我钱时,我越想越害怕,然而坚强在我心始终挥不去,我实在改变不了我的心,没有办法放弃读书。在中学考试那天,我忍受著许多痛苦,进了考场,我鼓起勇气乱做题,因为我的妈妈和那为大学生,还有许多朋友都不愿眼睁睁看我失学,在考场中几次我都差点哭出声来。后来我只考了三百七十分,听到三百七十分时,我很高兴但也很难过。痛苦的原因就是一个从小渴望读书的女孩终于失去了自己日夜追求的梦想。我自己控制不住自己,哭了三天三夜,一口饭也没吃。我正在痛苦的时候,李星星教授和他的两个朋友来了,他们给了我安慰。但是我依然等著大姐一家人回来,因为我想他们回来一定会给我安慰,没想到他们一到家就给了我绝望,我真的没想到会是这样。其实就算他们不说,我也早准备退学了。当时,我的姐夫还说,叫我去做生意或去当厨师,我的年龄也大了,根本不是读书的料。我当时,我一句话也没说,因为我没有力量再次要求他们了。他这样一说,姐姐和妈妈也在旁边说,我小时定的娃娃亲,说和我定的那个沈家的儿子是怎么好,他会做什么了,意思是我可以和他结婚了,这样的话更像一把坚韧的刀刺进了我的心。我最后一次要求他们的是:首先不要把不读书这件事传出去,然后把娃娃亲给退了,我才不去上学,我可以自学。可一说到自学,姐夫又反对了,他说一般的人是自学不起的,而且我定有娃娃亲的那家给过一头牛,我们用什么钱来退还给人家。最后,我知道我越说,他们就越要我结婚,我就说了一句:「反正我是不跟娃娃亲家结婚的,我以后自学或不自学都不关你们的事。 」说完我就去睡了。

最近,我一直跟著许多外国朋友,虽然我的脸带著微笑,可是我的心…我真的舍不得他们走,因为和他们在一起的时后,我忘记了许多痛苦。也许我多年的梦想就此结束了吧!为什么在同样的天底下,人会有那么大的差别呢?我还能实现我的理想吗?我还能做个坚强的女孩吗?

(2002 年)

附加的多媒体:
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In 1974, a seminal book, Waterbuffalo Theology, authored by a Protestant Japanese theologian working in northern Thailand, Kosuke Koyama, started with the contemplation of a herd of buffalos grazing in a muddy paddy field. “The water buffaloes tell me that I must preach to these farmers in the simplest sentence-structure and thought-development. They remind me to discard all abstract ideas, and to use exclusively objects that are immediately tangible.” Kosuke Koyama was advocating the use of picture-words as a way to escape from Western abstraction and to return at the same time to the essence of Christian faith and to the core of people’s life. Monsoon frogs, sticky-rice and cock-fighting were realities providing the congregation with metaphors akin to the language and insights of the Hebraic psalms.

Koyama was also contrasting the “coolness’” of Thai Buddhism vocabulary and approach of life with the “hotness” of Christian lexical register. The stress on being detached from desires and liberated from suffering translates into a specific vocabulary, as does the insistence on the burning “Passion” of a God who intervenes in history. Making “hot” and “cool” religious standpoints meet and equilibrate each other involves a lexical operation, a recapturing of the full range of vocabulary offered by separate traditions in order to “warm” one tradition and to “cool down” the other. Within the biblical canon (and showing a sense of humor not foreign to the nature of his theological project), Koyama sees the Epistle of James as a good example of the use of picture-words and as an attempt at “cooling down” the tongue.

Koyama was advocating a humbling, a “kenosis” of the South-East Asian Christian vocabulary as the way to root the faith into the earthly realities shared by the poor living on these lands. On the whole, such calls have been well received. At a ecumenical consultation held in Singapore in 1987, it was recognized by participants that “the Asian ethos is very attentive and sensitive to the particular, the concrete. Every particular is let to live, respected, fostered for what it is. No attempt is made to reduce the particular to an abstraction, to ready-made categories of thought.” The lexical imperative was thus integrated into an epistemological endeavor: how to express and understand the Christian faith from within the Asian ethos?

It is on such premises that the theological stress has progressively been transferred from lexical questions to the narrative dynamic. Religious experience, it was recognized, is translated not only into creeds and practices but also into narratives of various kinds. Mythical tales, hagiographies, the story of one’s conversion, the enacting of certain rituals are all multi-layered narratives. Within Christianity, the narrative structure of the Apostle’s Creed as of the reenactment of the Last Supper has becomes a topos of contemporary theology. Was not the rooting of Christianity in South-East Asia dependent on the way faith-based communities were able to enact, develop and exchange their own narratives?

In the Philippines, notes Jose Mario C. Francisco:

“Traditional religious narratives before Spanish colonization have been preserved among some tribal groups who continue to tell folktales and to chant indigenous epics during ritual feasts and events. (…) {However} due to the majority status of Christianity in the Philippines, the dominant religious narratives are those of the Christ story--its canonical form from the Bible and its popular form in the vernacular pasyon tradition. Before the recent translations of the Bible into the vernaculars, the popular form of chanting and later of dramatizing the Christ story during Holy Week has functioned like an epic in lowland communities. It makes the Christ story available as foundational narrative and enables Christians to appropriate this story as their own.”

Such resources are seen as invaluable for the ongoing shaping of South-East Asian Christianity in terms of language and narrative identity. In so far as narratives also combine with a ritual dimension, they even open up to the field of extra-textual hermeneutics. Anthropological studies in the line of a Clifford Geertz have played a role in this attention given to forms of religious language going behind or beyond discourse and dogmas. At the same time, this reappraisal has been progressively leading to a questioning of Christian “identity” itself. An extra-textual hermeneutics blurs the denominational frontiers and points anew to the variety of religious experience in East Asia.

Quite naturally, the stress put on the rooting of Christian narratives and ritual expressions in South-East Asia’s cultures has led to a focus on the interaction between the various faiths operating in the region. Such attention has been also fostered by the various ethno-religious conflicts that have developed especially in the Philippines and Indonesia. If Christian communities had to be agents of peace, religious narratives were to play a role: creative interpretation of canonical narratives can stress peace and reconciliation; in the pluralistic situation of the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao, some narratives play a mediating role by incorporating elements from different religious traditions; the sharing of stories (especially role-model stories) at the local grassroots level is by itself a factor of reconciliation.
At the theological level, some thinkers nowadays see hermeneutics not as a tool for redefining Christian identity in the region but rather as a resource for challenging it. R.S Sugirtharajah says that “the task is seen not as adapting the Christian Gospel in Asian idioms, but as reconceptualizing the basic tenets of the Christian faith in the light of Asian realities. … There is a willingness to integrate, synthesize and interconnect.” (Admittedly, one can also witness the opposite tendency in the sharpening of denominational boundaries and accompanying lexical sub-species.) The need to connect with other believers in order to implement justice, peace and environmental concerns also plays a role in the “communication and interconnection” paradigm, which is strongly influenced by theologians such as Michael Amaladoss, Raimundo Panikkar, Paul Knitter and Aloysius Pieris. Of special relevance might be the concept of intra-religious dialogue as championed by Panikkar: one’s religion is very akin to a native tongue, and any religion is as complete as a language is. The discovery of the Other draws us out of our language and leads us to understand what its “words” means to our religious partner. To enter another’s world is a religious experience that engages a dialogue not only with the Other but also within our self. In this approach, and other similar, the hermeneutics of inter-religious diaogue is not seen as a theological task among other but as the one that determines the future of Christianity in Asia and even the shaping of religious forms, identities and experiences in the world. South-East Asia is a place in which the intermingling and communicability of religious faiths is esepcially visible, which gives it a prominent role in the continuation of this global endeavor.

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Sunday, 04 February 2007 02:11

The Future of Nuosu Religion

Will local religions proper to several ethnic minorities throughout Asia eventually disappear? Or is their resilience stronger than generally thought? Let us examine this question through the prism of “Nuosu religion” (Sichuan province, Liangshan prefecture) discussed in several sections of this website. How will this world vision and its expressions evolve during the next twenty years or so? For the sake of the argument, let me distinguish between three scenarios:

- A - The case for ultimate disappearance

It can be argued that further opening of Liangshan to the external world will lead to the progressive disappearance of Nuosu religion. Local religions (defined as religions in which local belongings are central to the definition of the “dogmatic” content itself) have a propensity to disappear. Taiwan aboriginal religions are a case in point. A progressive bettering of the health care system (still expensive and very deficient in China’s remote areas) would greatly concur to it.


The generalization of literacy might also contribute to the weakening of Nuosu religion. This would not be so just because of the content of the instruction delivered but rather because the education of bi-mox now works as a parallel educative system, costly in time and not easily compatible with compulsory education. In other words, the generalization of literacy, would contribute to rarefy the supply of bi-mox and would make the remaining bi-mox even more marginal in their own society.

It can be further argued that the very content of Nuosu religion makes it part of a social model that will disappear over time. It is not only that alternative health care models will take over ritual. It is also that “survival” will become less of a stake when Liangshan overcomes the stage of the subsistence economy. Besides, there is a certain pessimistic outlook of Nuosu religion (see the strong probability to become a ghost in case of premature or violent death for instance) that might contribute to its demise when fear becomes less of a dominant social and personal feeling.

Finally, the religious evolution of other groups of Yi and other Chinese minorities (in Yunnan province for instance) might confirm this prognosis. When they have occurred, intensive contacts with Han populations and, before 1949, with missionaries have greatly weakened the vitality and significance of many of these groups’ religions.

- B - The case for survival and creative adaptation

Against this model, it could first be argued that the outlook for Liangshan prefecture might not be necessarily one of continuous growth and progress in health care, education and communication, at least not for the next twenty years. Corruption and inefficiency greatly restrain the significance of the amount of investment consented there. The society should remain basically agrarian. When badly handled, health care can actually contribute to the surge of illness (the repeated use of syringes for shots illustrates this point), which in turn undermines confidence in public health care and encourages the recourse to rituals. Rising cost of medication works in the same sense.

Looking at the question from another perspective, I suggest that the development of communication networks and further exploitation of the resources of Liangshan could induce a surge of Nuosu identity that would express itself through rituals. Being a Nuosu and practicing Nuosu religion could become more and more one and the same thing, not only in an implicit way as is the case now but explicitly as well. The fact that Nuosu people have been exposed to foreign religions in the past (Lamaism for instance) and have not relinquished in the least their own system of beliefs and rituals reinforces the strength of this conjecture.

Actually, far from disappearing, Nuosu religion shows its plasticity by adapting ritual molds to new social situation and settings. And the surge of rituals is encouraged by disposable wealth, when resources are indeed at hand. In some ways, this plasticity as well as the “virtuous” link between religious activities and wealth reminds one of what happened in Taiwan from the beginning of the eighties on. Taiwanese popular religion adapted to new conditions (linking worship to bets in the stock market for instance) and flourished because of the prosperity of the island. Thanking gods and spirits for the prosperity one enjoys while ensuring the continuing influx of riches were reasons good enough for performing rituals and extending donations. A similar logic could work in Liangshan, should the economy develop. In other words, the Nuosu religious outlook is flexible enough for adapting to positive as well as to adverse circumstances.

This is not for denying that the content and expressions of rituals are being and could be further reinterpreted. It is actually possible that such reinterpretation will make Nuosu religion even richer. Religions are flexible, adaptable systems, this allowing them to express the identity, hopes and sufferings of a community by constantly renewing the meaning of ancient practices within an ever-changing context. Let me quote here the following statement by Roy A Rappaport: “That sanctity supports social order is one of anthropology’s most ancient truisms. That it may increase the adaptiveness of social ssytem is not. (…) In response to changing historical conditions, the connections of the eternal unvarying truth to ever-changing history may be reinterpreted, and in light of the reinterpretation social rules and even cosmological axioms may change without many or even any of the devout becoming aware of these changes.”

Summing up, by providing a framework for interpreting everyday events plus a certain amount of symbolic capital for the survival and ongoing building-up of Nuosu identity, Nuosu religion provides to the Liangshan Yis a ground on which social adaptation and group cohesiveness are made possible. This should ensure its long-term survival.

- C - The case for the emergence of a “civil religion”

The paradox might be that the core arguments of the two preceding paradigms are both true. Is there a way of finding a kind of in-between model?

First, let me assume that Liangshan will indeed experiment a process of gradual development, slower than in the rest of China but allowing for a more diverse economy, a greater integration into market mechanisms, certain social disruptions (migrations, further spreading of AIDS and drugs), a more diverse exposures to alien modes of thought, while retaining many of its present characteristics. The assumption might not be true. For instance, social disruptions might be much more severe than envisioned here, up to the point of inducing a large-scale disintegration of the traditional Nuosu social and familial model. Or sweeping changes in China could provoke a much broader exposure to other thoughts and religions - though such opening would certainly induce an adaptation process rather than a breaking down of traditional mental structures.

My thesis is that, under my assumption, confidence in the efficacy of traditional rituals will gradually erode. Besides, the relative revival of Nuosu culture presently witnessed will not be enough for avoiding a slow but significant attrition in the number of religious performers able to master bi-mox writings and to perform sophisticated, large-scale rituals. At the same time one might witness three phenomena: {a} the continuation of a certain number of rituals as an “insurance” against casualties as long as the cost does not appear as prohibitive; (b) further adaptation of rituals to evolving social conditions, an adaptation paradoxically facilitated by the lesser degree of formation of those who will perform the rituals; (c) the explicit justification of the continuation of rituals in terms of maintenance of Nuosu identity as well as of family and community cohesiveness. In other words, Nuosu religion will evolve into a form of “civil religion” that, in certain circumstances, might even not be incompatible with other sets of professed beliefs. Rituals will continue to be enacted but the lived experience that is at their ground will undergo transformations slowly affecting the very way they are performed.

The collective narrative of the Liangshan Yi people has to do with the natural history of the area and with their living conditions, with the bettering or the worsening of the global economy, with the evolution of their relationships with the Han and neighboring people. Nuosu religion unfolds this narrative at the level of individual existence as well as for communities. The resources contained in rituals, beliefs and stories will continue to be mobilized in the future, but they will also be reinterpreted. Ghosts will probably still be chased away, but the fears that their figures embody will be differently accented. Ancestors will be invoked like in the past, but the way one refers to one’s identity and ethnic history will necessarily be redefined. Illness will still be experienced as a persecution mechanism, but the whole set of relations to the physical and collective body will be lived against an evolving background. An open question remains: how far can such a reinterpretation go? Will Nuosu religion be an agent of social change by allowing Nuosu people to make use of its power for becoming agents of their own development, or will it just accompany and justify changes on which people will have no leverage? The answer to this question largely determines the future relevance of Nuosu religion. However, as choices have to be forged throughout a creative and yet undetermined process, such answer ultimately belongs to no one else than the Nuosu people itself.

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Sunday, 04 February 2007 02:03

Nuosu Religion: Rituals, Agents and Beliefs

Religion can be approached and defined from a variety of standpoints. I choose here to pragmatically study Nuosu religion as a complex of rituals; the agents that participate in them; and set of beliefs that somehow underline these rituals while their maintenance is supported by this very performance. In one approach, Nuoso religion can thus be described as a set of rituals proper to the Nusou people living on the Liangshan territory.

- A - Rituals

Although all Nuosu rituals conform to some patterns and sequences that identify them indeed as rituals, they are also characterized by their variety, a variety that answers to the diversity of the situations that require their performance. It is not enough to say that rituals in Liangshan are performed first and foremost when death and illness occur. Their particular configuration will depend on the cause of death and the situation of the deceased at the time he/she leaves this world and on still other considerations when rites are performed years after the death for ensuring his/her incorporation into the ancestors’ world. Likewise, rituals will vary according to the nature of illness and the rituals’ sequence will further unfold when the cause of illness is ritualistically determined. Not only are rituals diverse and numerous, they also organize themselves into sequences determined by the situations to which they respond.

Besides birth, death and illness, there is an indefinite number of situations that might call for a ritual. New Year (in November) and the Torch Festival (in July) are two obvious occurrences. Cleansing rituals (xuox-burr) regularly occur on a basis that varies according to families and districts. Other ritual occurrences might include: curses enacted as a vengeance; determination of a culprit’s identity, attempts at reconciliation between spouses; inauguration of a new house… In recent times, small-scale rituals are occasionally performed for ensuring success at exams or the safety of a car and its driver for instance.

Rituals can be summarily divided into two kinds: “below the road” rituals include all rituals that deal with death and the well-being of the ancestors. “Above the road” rituals include all other rituals. From this perspective, it can be said that rituals provide at the same time for the long-term sustenance of the community of the living and of the dead from which the living derive their existence and identity, and for flexible answers to a variety of existential and social situations, susceptible to be redefined according to circumstances.

- B - Agents

The most revered religious agent in Yi religion is called bi-mox. His importance is attested by the fact that Nuosu religion is sometimes called “bi-mox religion”, in the same way as Naxi religion is called “dongba religion.” The chanting of written scriptures is usually described as being the main characteristics of bi-mox’s activity. One becomes a bi-mox by virtue of patrilineal descent. Though necessary, this condition is not sufficient. A long apprenticeship under the guidance of the father or another member of the father’s clan is also required. Summing up, bi-mox mediate between the human and the supernatural world thanks to (a) their lineage, (b) their knowledge and chanting of written, fixed scriptures, (c) the efficacy of these scriptures themselves and of the ritual instruments that the bi-mox possess and use, (d) personal skills, that vary from one practitioner to another.

Bi-mox are usually contrasted with su-nyit. Both can perform similar deeds, with the fundamental restriction that rituals linked to death and to the subsequent destiny of the soul are strictly reserved to bi-mox. If lineage and knowledge of scriptures are the mediations that bi-mox make use of, su-nyit work through a process of “immediacy.” That is to say, the direct election that protecting spirits (wa-sa) make of them allow them to enter into a direct battle with malignant ghosts. Su-nyit, it is usually said, do not rely on a lineage but on election. They do not chase the ghosts by the power of the scriptures (as a rule they are illiterate), but by “seeing” them and beating the drum.

Such opposition has to be qualified. Though bi-mox are literate, the chanting of the scriptures rely above all on memorization. Similarly, the language and formulas used by the su-nyit is very similar to the ones of the bi-mox, as it also relies on a socialization process. It is very frequent to meet with su-nyit whose family has been in the trade for a number of generations, though election takes place for each member of the lineage. Even when this is not the case, su-nyit place themselves within a “guild” genealogy that they chant at the beginning of the ritual. Finally, meeting with people who can perform in quality of bi-mox and su-nyit (ni-bi-zhz) is not rare, which indicates that the distinction is far from being absolute.

Besides bi-mox and su-nyit, non-“qualified” religious intermediaries play a role in performing rituals. As a matter of fact, each family chief performs on various occasions, the Yi New Year and Torch Festival being the most conspicuous ones. The form taken by these ceremonies, that include chanting and sacrifices, do qualify them as full-fledged religious rituals. On an even simpler basis, everyone can perform a basic ritual with a few words, an egg or a glass of alcohol, if something specific frightens him, for instance. This kind of simple practice is called yy-hox-pyt. Finally, some elders or people with special skills are able to perform a large number of rituals, for instance those commonly grouped together under the term of va-xi. Performing a va-xi requires some skills (the ceremony lasts around two hours, the killing of a rooster is involved as well as various offerings and the use of “hot stones” for cleansing) but va-xi practitioners do not benefit from the help of protecting spirits as is the case for bi-mox and su-nyit. Vaxi is performed if bad words and curses against a family have been overheard, if one has reason to fear the approach of illness, if one has had bad dreams, if some troubling event has occurred, such as the sow eating the piglets, the hen attacking its eggs or a dog climbing on the roof of the house. Other types of va-xi rituals are meant to solve quarrels and disagreements. Religious specialists also include people able to find lost things through various divinatory skills.

- C - Beliefs

Nuosu religion thus appears as an integrated whole of practices giving its structure and meaning to the time-space of human existence. At the same time, it is not so easy to identify the set of beliefs that informs this structure of meaningful practices. Looking at the beliefs explicitly or implicitly stated in bi-mox writings is a necessary task (which is far from being complete) but not a sufficient one. There is a gap between the corpus of creeds and myths proper to a given place and the more systematic outlook expressed by the ritualistic writings. Such a gap is somehow harder to perceive in areas that are bi-mox strongholds (this is markedly the case in Meigu county), but can be very visible in areas where contacts and traditions are more diversified. Answers as to the nature (and number) of the human soul as its degree of immortality, the place of rest of the ancestors, the nature of ghosts and spirits vary to a much greater extent than usually recorded. What remains constant is that the stress is indeed on the ancestors (the only kind of spirits that can be truly known or identified) and on ghosts. The latter can be seen as “counter-ancestors” in the sense that, even if it is said that not all ghosts are souls unable to enter into the ancestors world, the other types of ghosts usually recorded are those of animals whose “blood lineages’ belong to the same class as human beings (cats and horses most notably)

Although there are differences in rituals and beliefs from one place to another, one can identify a “world-vision” that is proper to Nuosu religion. The plasticity proper to any “world-vision” makes it for me a more appropriate term than the one of “set of beliefs.” A good starting point for entering into this world vision might be the following: after a person has died, rites are meant to help him/her not to be devoured, nor to be devourer. To devour or to be devoured are actually the two sides of the same coin: the “devoured” spirit is the one which has fallen prey to the ghosts and becomes itself a ravenous ghost, as it tries to compensate for what has been preyed upon it. The ritual of cremation and the making of a “bamboo soul” are meant to spare the soul such a destiny. The large-scale rites for the final sending-off to the ancestors’ world will eventually allow the soul to access a place where it can find a plentiful supply of food without having to prey upon the world of the living. Once at its resting place, the ancestor can ensure peace to his/her descendants.

In contrast, a ghost is a glutton. (And a glutton is especially at risk to become a ghost.) The gluttony of the ghosts is the reason that makes people ill, and people must avoid at any price to become themselves hungry ghosts. Consequently, the healing process is communitarian in nature. By attending the healing ritual, the family and the neighbors call back the sick from the world where the ghosts are leading him towards the human universe, where meals are taken together. Togetherness is part of the ritual efficacy. Broadly speaking, to heal the social body and to heal the sick body are to be seen as joint operations, as ghosts are the powers that break living connections, be it within the flesh or within the community. They break living bodies into pieces. The goal of the ritual is always to reassemble what has been driven apart. Most notably, by ensuring the proper “consumption” of the deceased (as long as the circumstances of his/her death allow it) through the cremation process and the rites that follow during the years, one allows him/her to join a new community. From there, the deceased can protect the community of the living from the improper gluttonous behavior of the ghosts – those who have not been properly “consumed.”

Summing up, meal can be the ultimate metaphor for ordering Nuosu religious rituals, agents and world vision into a whole. Meals are about the survival, cohesiveness and prosperity of the community. The performing of a ritual is like the preparation and enactment of a meal that will restore physical and social forces against divisive agents. Finally, the passage that leads from this world to the afterlife can be adequately represented by the cooking and consumption process.


Sunday, 04 February 2007 00:00

If all spirits were good...

A few days ago, we visited a sick woman. She told us she had been ill for one month and four days. It looked like she was very sick but she told us she had not seen a doctor since she was sick! I asked why and she told me that her mother died one year ago, she thought her mother turned into a bad spirit and caused her illness. Some people said that because she divorced then married again, her former husband punished her by asking a bad spirit to hurt her. I don’t believe there are spirits on the earth.

We came to visit her to attend a healing ritual as her relatives finally decided that it was the best chance to help her recover. We sat around the fire (more than a dozen of her relatives were already here), there was a lot of smoke in the room. They invited a “Bimo” because medicine could not heal when bad spirits come to bother you. It was the first time for me to attend that kind of ritual, so it helped me understand more about the religious customs of Yi people.

People say spirits include female spirits and male spirits. Sometime they can hurt people if they are not satisfied with them. When people die, they will turn into a bad spirit or a good spirit. I do not understand why our ancestors do not help us to fight the bad spirits so that only good spirits are left?

I think the spirits should help the people who are living on earth and not hurt them. Sometime I dream all the spirits are good. How nice it would be, if they could help us pass the exams, help us to improve in our studies, they could tell us what to do and not to do, they won’t hurt the people anymore and let the people live very happy everyday. They could make the farmers rich, they could help the poor students continue to study in the school, and so on.

But I am not sure whether there are really ghosts or spirits on the earth? If they exist, why did I never see them? And where are they? What do they eat? Do they have babies? What do they look like? Do they speak to each other? Do they play together? Are they sometime happy, sometime sad? Do they fight together? Do they like living with other people?

It is impossible to answer clearly to all these questions, but I think that when you are ill you’d better go to hospital, because the doctor will not cheat you, and visiting the doctor will be cheaper than performing healing rituals (to perform healing rituals, you will have to choose a special goat to kill, the Bimo will also ask for money). If you go to the hospital you will also save energy (when you meet a doctor he will be very quiet and the hospital atmosphere is good so you can easily rest, but the ritual will be performed very late at night in a thick smoke, also it is very long and very noisy).

I will tell you why do people usually think that ghosts come out in the evening! In my opinion it is because in the evening everything becomes dark, so people are afraid…

(Written in 2002, Yangjuan village)

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