Australia Oceania

Ancient Religions of the Austronesian World: From by Julian Baldick

By Julian Baldick

Austronesia is the giant oceanic quarter which stretches from Madagascar to Taiwan to New Zealand. Encompassing either scattered archipelagos and significant landmasses, Austronesia – derived from the Latin australis, 'southern', and Greek nesos, 'island' – is used basically as a linguistic time period, designating a kin of languages spoken via peoples with a shared history. Julian Baldick, a celebrated historian of old faith, right here argues that the varied population of the Philippines, Taiwan, Indonesia, New Guinea and Oceania express a standard inheritance that extends past language. This commonality is located certainly in mythology and formality, which succeed in again to an historical, prehistoric earlier. From round 1250 BCE the unique proto-Oceanic audio system migrated eastwards from southeast Asia. Navigating through the sunlight, the celebs, chook flight, the swells of the ocean and cloud-swathed mountain islands, Austronesian voyagers used canoes and outriggers to decide on new territories. They built a unified trend of faith characterized through mortuary rites, headhunting and agrarian rituals of the once a year calendar, culminating in a post-harvest pageant usually sexual in nature. This designated assessment of Austronesian trust and culture could be crucial analyzing for college students of faith, prehistory and anthropology.

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This incorporates a lot of work done by Chinese and Japanese anthropologists, along with historical sources. Ho¨llmann gives us an account of Tsou headhunting, taken from a local chronicle of 1716. We are told that whoever kills humans wins great popularity. Because of this there are reciprocal attacks, but also any stranger who is spotted on a path is killed and has his head taken. The head is cooked until the flesh and skin fall off and decorated with gold. 32 According to Ho¨llmann there are two accounts of the origins of headhunting among the Tsou.

There was also a red fig tree, which was surrounded on all four sides by a small fence, to emphasize its being ‘taboo’. 43 According to Ho¨llmann’s sources the Tsou used to kill twins. 44 A pregnant woman had to observe a number of taboos. She was not allowed to take part in activities linked to ceremonial offerings. She could not come near weapons or hunting equipment, and was not allowed to kill insects or catch fish. After the birth she was not allowed to leave the house to work in the fields for ten days.

Formerly the diviners performed the ‘rite of the deer’ after a successful headhunting expedition, in order to reintegrate the warriors into society. 69 Twins used to be killed at birth by the Puyuma. After an ordinary birth the father must not hunt or go to the fields for seven days. On the second day the baby is ‘introduced’ to the supernatural world by its parents, who scatter a few grains of rice. The dead used to be buried in the house. Two days after the burial the shamanesses purify the dead person’s home and family.

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