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51. Spirits Of The Manchus

In this section I shall give a list of Manchu spirits which are not of ancestral origin, and which cannot be regarded as «spirits masters». In this group of spirits the first place is undoubtedly occupied by the group of fuch'k'i. As I have shown fuch'k'i is a Manchu term for Buddha or Buddhism. So we may say that the existence of these spirits is due to the penetration of Buddhism Indeed, their Manchu form is quite different from the forms of theoretical Buddhism.

FUCH'IXI, according to the Manchus, theoretically is an individual guardian spirit. Each one of them must have a permanent place (placing). Yet in principle, fuch'k'i are considered as benevolent spirits. However, in practice they are neither individual guardians nor benevolent spirits. According to the Manchus, these spirits are not so numerous among the Manchus as among the Mongols. These spirits are very numerous in their manifestations and they may be incidentally caught by the people, — this will be fuch'k’i joyun (literally — «Buddha road»). However, these spirits may be managed by the people who must make placings. Buddhistic pictures, usually bought in the Chinese shops, serve as placings before which from time to time some sacrifice must be put and prayers recited [326]. The spirit fuch'k'i may sometimes remain with the people during six or seven years and produce various troubles. I saw a man who during the business travelling to the upper Amur River district (Xumus'an) caught a. fuch'k'i and following he went through a period of bad fortune; he had to move from a house to another, where this spirit came into the conflict with other spirits; his son was seriously ill during several months; his business did not go well, etc. Then it was decided to erect a shrine for this spirit in order to neutralize it and to give it a location («place») for permanent living [327]. The spirit must now receive periodically sacrifice and prayers.

Formerly there were Buddhist priests and monks who did it very well. The shaman's intervention was not considered desirable because the fuch'k'i might come into conflict with the shaman's spirits and in this way the clan spirits also might be involved in the conflict.

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MAFA or MAVA is a group of spirits which is found in a relation with fuch'k'i. The term (Manchu Writ.) in reference to the spirits is not met with in the Manchu dictionaries and in the Manual of Rituals (vechere medere kooli bitxe, vide supra). In Manchu Sp. it is known as mava. This group seems to be of relatively recent origin due to the need of differentiation of a special group of those spirits which have originated from old animals. It is supposed that some animals live a long life, become wiser than man and so their souls attain immortality. Such animals are local mustelidae, amongst the Manchus increased with hares and rats, and among the Dahurs increased with foxes and sheep. This complex has begun its penetration into the Northern Tungus complexes, as well. An animal which has lived one thousand years becomes black and wise, the animal which should live ten thousand years would become white and still wiser than the black one. Generally speaking these spirits are neither malevolent nor benevolent, but they may cause great trouble in the form of diseases, unhappiness, etc. and must be always carefully watched. Permanent placings are kept in every Manchu house, and regular prayers every Manchu house, and regular prayers and sacrifices offered. In simple cases, fuch'k'i and mafa are dealt with by any one, but in complex cases there may be required assistance of specialists called axa mafa or mafar'i, and sometimes that of experienced shamans. However, the latter must be avoided, for the intervention of shaman's vochko may bring new complications. With the decrease of influence of Buddhistic monks, their functions have been taken by mafa (axa mafa, mafar'i). So gradually the mafar'i became familiar with the character of these spirits and began to manage them. However, the spirits sometimes take their own ways and also the mafar'i use spirits for their personal ends. Therefore there have been formed new mafar'i joyun which formerly might have been called fuch'k'i joyun.

Some of the fuch'k'i spirits and the newly created group of mafa were adopted and later adapted by the Manchus so that they began to play a permanent role as guardians. I shall now describe some of these.

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JUN FUCHlXI is the spirit of fire which consists of a male and female (mafa and mama) and which is found in almost every house. Their number corresponds to the number of stove openings (jun) belonging to the family-units when they have separate kitchens. The placings are Buddhistic pictures which are put outside of the house, in a small shrine, — «house». Yet, the spirits also use as their plating not only the stoves, but also the earthen accommodation (xolboko) put in the middle of the room with burning charcoal for heating. One week before the new year the old picture is burnt and seven days after it is replaced by new one. Before entering a new house one must perform sacrifice and prayers before jun fuch'k'i. Newly married people must give sacrifice. When the people do not pay due attention to this spirit it may cause various diseases.

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TAKTO MAFA (MAVA) is a complex spirit mastered for protection of the house takto, i.e. the house which is located at the left, usually eastern, side of the Manchu manor (cf. SOM, pp. 93-94). It is represented on the picture as an old man. It has its own «road». A horse may be reserved for this spirit, as it is with apka endur'i. Various troubles, in the form of diseases and high nervousness, may result from the activity of this spirit, so that the Manchus must be careful in treating this spirit. Prayers and sacrifices are served on the occasion of the new year, marriage, etc.

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JAFAN MAFA or JAVA MAVA is a complex spirit mastered for protection of the whole Manchu manor. The term jafan—>java originally meant the kitchen garden (from Chinese «yuan»), but at the present time the activity of these spirits spreads over the population of the manor. The picture is put in the kitchen garden in a construction similar to that for to that for jun fuch'k'i. This spirit is very often responsible for various diseases diseases which require a careful attention of the shaman. The finding which of the above described three spirits is responsible for an illness is not easy, so that there are special methods for recognition of the «roads» of these spirits.

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SOLOXI MAFA or SOLX'I MAVA is a complex spirit which was formed from a very old mustela (polecat) and it is compared with takto mava. It may produce serious sickness. There exists an idea that some animals like the sable, polecat, fox and others may attain great age of one thousand and even ten thousand years after which they change colour to black and even white — and become «like fuch'k'i». Amongst the Northern Tungus they may become seveng of the shamans. I have included these spirits in the present group for they are not of ancestral and human origin.

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ILXA MAMA is a complex spirit which produces smallpox, chickenpox, measles, and other diseases described in the previous pages (vide supra) as spirits known among the Tungus. Ilxa means «flower» and mama, — «female spirit». This complex is not Manchu origin. It is an imitation of the Chinese n'angn'ang). There are distinguished ajige ilxa mama (small flower female spirit) causing measles, and amba ilxa mama (great flower female spirit) causing the smallpox. There seemingly are some other manifestations, but the Manchus refer to the Chinese books, so that the actually known and incorporated manifestations are only two above mentioned.

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BUSKU or BUSUKU (WRIT.) is a very dangerous spirit connected with the blood complex. In order to produce such a spirit the woman may take a wooden anthropomorphic placing of small size (from six to ten centimetres long with arms and legs) and wrap it for a certain period in the cloths used during her menstrual period and soaked with blood. If there is no blood available the placing may be wrapped in the woman's trousers. Then the placing is put in the wardrobe or chest of drawers where there are garments of the persons whom the woman intends to harm. If she wants to harm the people living outside of the house, she may make a short invocation keeping in her hands the placing and thus send (jabumb'e or wung'imb'e) it even into another clan. The next day, the person to which the spirit was directed will fall ill. The disease is manifested in disturbances of articulations, even breaking of the tendons etc. called buskui joyun, - busku road. The spirit is more powerful than the endur'i, vochko, and all xutu. The person affected by this spirit is called to be buskulemb'e (a verbal form, also buskuleya, «part. perf»). There is no treatment, and the shamans are afraid of it, too [328]. If the spirit does something against the woman's will she will scold it, but she will style it ejen, — the master, — as a form of politeness. Such a woman, who usually behaves very politely with the people, may send the spirit to affect also domestic animals which become lame, blind, etc. without any visible causes of their condition. Such women are not frequent, — according to the Manchus, at most one per thousand. For instance, in the village Kalunsan there was only one woman of this kind whom I used personally to know.

As a form of bad manners the men would sometimes call an old woman, quick and clever in her activity busku mama. It will not be offensive but simply in fun when referred to an old woman.

The situation becomes more complicated when we proceed further with this inquiry. In fact, there is even busku endur'i which is called busku mama or busuku geye (senior women of the clan, and generally an honorable woman, a lady). These are under the control of n'angn'ang (vide supra ilxa mama and others). If the needs of this spirit are not satisfied the spirit will manifest itself in the form of a sickness beginning by swelling of the legs, and followed by death, etc. which may last during several generations.

This spirit under the name of BUS'EKU has great popularity among the Birarchen and Kumarchen who have given me some more details. These Tungus say that it may be produced by the women according to the above given practice among the Manchus, with the exception that the chest of drawers and wardrobe which are not used by the Tungus do not figure and that it may be produced by a man as well, if he takes blood from gums between the first incisors on the upper jaw. The spirit little by little, «eats» the people, destroys the blood and bones. This spirit cannot exist beyond man and is always «placed» in man. Usually it comes to young girls and men who are not old and persuades them to accept it. Then if the person is not resistant enough, she or he would prepare a placing, made of straw and covered with cloth. The placing must be regularly served with fresh blood according to the above given prescription. Then the spirit begins to «eat» the people who are living with the spirit-keeper, leaving her or him, up to a certain time, probably intact. This spirit also attacks other spirits and if it succeeds in destroying them, then a general collapse of the clan may occur. However, this spirit was mastered by the shamans and some of them may influence this spirit even in the families where the spirit has already settled for a long time.

Indeed, the activity of this spirit is subject to great variations among different groups. This spirit though known among the Kumarchen, plays no great part in their life. Among the Dahurs this spirit is mastered by the shamans as it is among the Birarchen, but it is not so amongst the Manchus. Yet, the frequency of trouble caused by this spirit also depends upon the variation of local conceptions. We have seen that Manchu busku is a complex in the manifestations of which we may include various diseases, while amongst the Birarchen this spirit produces, in so far as I could see, trouble of bones and blood chiefly. Thus there may be perhaps included: syphilis, leprosy, tuberculosis, which actually may affect several generations, and are very often manifested at the age of puberty. Yet, the imagination does its work too. Among the Manchu busku occupies a very important part in the folklore, while it is very rare in Tungus folklore, among the Goldi this spirit seems to be also known under the name buseu (bus'eku — buseu). However, I. A. Lopatin and evidently P. Simkevic did not pay due attention to the character of this spirit and I. A. Lopatin (op. cit., pp. 211-212) identified it with amba, and called these spirits «devils» (vide supra p. 158 f.). Amba actually is not the name of a spirit or a group of spirits, but merely is «great» used for avoiding the name the calling of which may awaken the activity of the spirits named. It is essential that buseu looks for blood when fed by the shaman (?) and «it tortures the people and drinks their blood» (op. cit. p. 212), which gives the same details as busku and bus'eku. Indeed, the change of shamanistic spirits into buseu, and the turning of the souls of people who had committed suicide into buseu is not very likely. Probably different spirits are confused, and I. A. Lopatin has designated too many spirits under this general term. In fact, the Goldi may use this term in a wide meaning as the Manchus do with xutu and Tungus do with s'irkul.

326. Cf. a detailed prescription in Manju medere vechere kooli bitxe. Although the high style of the ritualism of the Imperial family always served as a pattern, among the common people the sacrifices and prayers were greatly simplified.

327. Perhaps the spirits fuch'k'i have received a certain popularity among the neighbours of the Manchus. So, for instance, among the Goldi, P. Simkevic has also recorded this spirit (op cit p 52) as puchiku, but chiefly connected with hunting. I. A Lopatin mentioned puchiku met with amongst the Goldi of the Tunguska River and rarely met with among other groups (cf. op cit. p 210). Whether it is really a shamanistic spirit (seon of Goldi) or not is impossible to say for I. A. Lopatin uses seon in reference to all spirits, except enduri and buseu, which he designates as «devils» (cherti of Russian) (op. cit. P. 210).

328. Indeed, the translation and explanation given by I. Zaxarov are not correct. Details given by Ch. de Harlez, namely, busuku, «hutu egalement difforme qui attaque les petits enfants, les bestiaux et les animaux domestiques. Us ont pour compagnons les Yemji et Ibagan qui jouent le meme role» (op. cit. p. 21). Indeed if Ch. de Harlez did not misunderstand the information which he had such a confusion of facts and relations might be due only to a loss of the original complex by the Manchus who lived for a long time in Peking and perhaps did not want to show to the Chinese how «barbarous» was their conception of busuku and other spirits. As a matter of fact, the same confusion is characteristic of I. Zaxarov's translations and explanatory notes. The practical inference from these facts is evident, — it is impossible to treat ethnographical subjects basing oneself on the written documents only. This case is more than a common one among the specialists who treat similar subjects and naively believe that they know the existing complexes.

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