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56. Hypotheses

In this chapter I shall give a description of and mention various hypotheses some of which are intimately connected with the theory of spirits while the others are independent of this theory. Thus there will be no uniformity in the exposition of the facts which are grouped here arbitrarily.

1. BLOOD. Regarding blood among both Northern Tungus groups and Southern Tungus groups there are several theories which may be grouped together. At the basis of these theories there is a common supposition that the blood possesses certain properties which may be pernicious to people and which may produce strong reactions on the part of spirits. First of all let us point out that the blood is regarded as a form of sacrifice easily assimilated by the spirits for it is liquid and when it is still hot it evaporates, even with visible steam, so that the spirits may assimilate it easier than any other kind of «food». Yet, blood is considered as delicious food by the people, — the Tungus and Manchus are very fond of the sausage made of blood, so it is supposed that the spirit would like it, too. But there are other aspects too. As a matter of observation the Tungus have some correct conceptions particularly in reference to the menstrual blood which may be infectious and they do have conception that the blood may contain some properties transmitted by the mechanism of inheritance. According to the Birarchen, some spirits, as for instance, malu and dayar'in jiachi, follow the road of blood when the woman marries to another clan. Owing to this a series of precautions must be taken in order to avoid the mixing up of other spirits on this road. The spirit which comes by thisroad must be sent back by this road and it cannot be sent to another clan. It is thus evident that here we have conception of latent diseases on the one hand, and hereditary diseases on the other hand. In the theory of spirit busku we have already seen the idea of infection transmitted by and through the blood, both from females and males.

The idea of danger from the menstrual blood has grown into a complex increased with a great number of secondary hypotheses. According to all Tungus, the spirits do not like blood, and consequently the women who have menstruations. Naturally, the clan spirits are excepted. As I have already shown, the women is avoided and restricted during the life period when she may have menstruations and especially during the days of discharge. The restriction covers not only the period of discharge of blood, but the whole period of life for the menstruation is «woman's business» about which she does not speak and therefore there is no guarantee that she may have blood at any moment. Moreover, it is supposed that perhaps the women sometimes are careless in the observation of purification The woman must not step across the man lying, his hat, and all parts of dress, etc. which naturally may commonly occur for the Tungus have no furniture and usually sit or lie down on the ground. If she does so, especially with the hat, the owner-man will have no luck in hunting and in general. Owing to this the men are careful in keeping their hats in hands or by hanging them up, and they do not leave their clothes on the ground where the women may accidentally pass. Indeed, from the psychological point of view it is clear that if something of this kind should occur, the men, who believe as to bad effects of the blood, would act in agreement with the supposed to be effects. If an endur'i should happen to be touched by menstrual blood, according to the Tungus of Manchuria, it would become «man», i.e. common spirit which has no «immortality». The other spirits are also destroyed by the blood. The Manchus in this respect are particularly strict, the women are not even allowed to be present at the ceremony of sacrifice to the husband's clan spirits. It is believed advisable to keep old women and young girls who have no menstrual discharges far way from the placings for spirits. It is a different question how far all these restrictions and fears practically influence Tungus life. Indeed, there are individuals, among both males and females who violate regulations and have no strong fear but this is a general question of acceptation, partial and total, of the existing complex.

In order to alleviate the great burden, as these restrictions and fears are, the Tungus try to find out various methods of neutralizing blood effects I speak of «alleviation» which is not always cognized, but which actually is reached by the continuous re-adaptation of the individuals and complexes. The simplest method of neutralizing the spirits' activity on man is to carry with oneself woman's bones, from a female skeleton as it is rarely done among the Birarchen. Here I mention the bones which are connected with blood. In fact, the blood and bones are connected in some way. The Tungus (of Manchuria, at least) believe that the father's bones absorb children's blood, while it is not so with the bones of other people [355]. Yet, the blood destroys bones, as it is shown in the case of busku spirit. However, the influence of the blood may go still further which is seen from the fact already mentioned, namely, an avoidance of curative hot spring after a pregnant woman's bathing in it. The same idea is spread over the period of the child delivery, during which the woman is particularly dangerous in the respect to spirits. However, the last regulation, in so far as the husband is concerned, may have another reason, namely, to protect the mother from too early sexual intercourse. As to the influence of menstrual blood on man the question is complicated fact that men may occasionally have sexual intercourse with the women when they begin to have discharges and nothing particular happens to them, which is well known among the Manchus. However, the latter suppose that the sexual intercourse during the menstruation is dangerous for the women who may be affected by illness. Owing to this the Manchus sometimes extend the period of abstaining up to seven days after the menstruation The Manchus practise no other purification but simple washing. Among both Northern Tungus and Manchus the woman-shaman cannot carry out shamanistic performances. Yet, during the menstrual discharges and postnatal period the woman must not go on a boat on the river, to cross the river etc. for the spirit of water may be offended. The same holds good for fishing [356].

If we summarize the above quoted facts it may be thus formulated that the Tungus (and Manchu) attitude regarding blood forms a complex based upon the facts observed (infection through blood and special condition of menstruating women), theory of inheritance and supposition that the spirits do not like blood which is confirmed by the facts observed and misinterpreted.

2. FOUR EYED ANIMALS. The hypothesis of one additional pair of eyes in some animals is wide spread among the Tungus. The inference is made from the observation of skin fold under the eyes in the Cervus Elaphus, with corresponding cavity in the bone, and bone cavities formed above the eyes in the horse. The case of Cervus Elaphus cannot be explained by the Tungus who do not know the function of the fold and its strong smelling secretion. In the horse there is no secretion from the cavity which is formed owing to the form of the skull bones and position of muscles with a rather loose skin cover. This ease probably is a further extension of the case of Cervus Elaphus. The Tungus explanation, in its character, supposes that the Tungus admit possibility of physical changes in animals, as we have already seen in their ideas regarding loss of hair in man (vide supra). The explanation as to why the lower pair of eyes has disappeared is that the Cervus Elaphus has lost it owing to the continuous crying with tears. On this occasion a story is told (explanatory myth). The spirit (it could not be established which one) has taken away the additional eyes of the horse. When the deer and horse lost their eyes it became possible to kill the deer and to ride the horse.

3. EXTINCTION OF STRONG HUMAN RACE. This hypothesis is very common among the ethnical units for which there are special psychological reasons. Among the Tungus of Manchuria this extinct race is called bukuljin [buku, — «strong» (Barg. Nerc. Mank. Khin. Kum. Bir.) (Manchu) (cf. Turk bak, Mong. boxo, etc.)]. They were men who lived in olden days. They were so strong that they could pull trees out of the ground. With a general weakening of the human kind the bukuljin have become extinct. According to the Birarchen, the bukuljin became extinct when they no longer needed to use their strength for carrying on the trees after having been taught by endur'i to cut trees and make fire. Still earlier there existed another kind of strong people who were even stronger than bukuljin. They are called mangi (Kum. Bir. RTM.) [357] and their former activity is seen in the irregularities of the nature, e.g. the rocks in the middle of the river bed (the Amur River), rocks rolled into the valleys from the mountains etc. These beings were much larger than the bukuljin and men of nowadays. According to the folklore, magi went to the sky, so that the constellation of Orion is called mangi (vide supra Chapter V). Magi with nine heads is also figured in the complex malu burkan (and seven) [358]. Amongst the Manchus under this name, as shown (vide supra Section 52), is known a special kind of shamanistic mastered spirits whose chief characteristic is their art and ability of manipulation with various weapons and implements, and naturally physical power. The etymology of this name is not absolutely sure, namely, from mangga (Bir. Nerc.) (Manchu) [manga (Neg. Goldi, Oroci) (Sch.), cf. also Gilak manga~maga], also maga (Ur. Castr.), magya (Nerc.), — «the strong (hero), wrestler, etc.». and mangyu (Turn.), — «hard, atrocious»; yet there is another series mandi (Bir. Khin) with the assimilated and simplified forms: manni (RTM.), man'i, mani (Bir. Kum.) [359] — «hard, difficult, strongly, etc». To the last form is probably related mandag'i of Yakuts found in us mandag'i (the star mandag'i), — «the Orion's belt». which remained unexplained by E. K. Pekarskii [360]. From the above facts it may be seen that amongst a great number of groups there is a certain association between «strong», «hero», «special kind of spirit», «Orion», etc. and thus the strong people gradually left the earth.

4. ARCHAEOLOGICAL AND PALAEONTOLOGICAL REMAINS. The Tungus, as many other groups, explain the large stone implements found in their territory as being the effect of thunder. This explanation probably is not of Tungus origin, but it is borrowed from other ethnical groups. In fact the Tungus do remember arrow heads made of stone, and they recognize them as such when they find them. Most of the archaeological remains in the form of walls, fortresses and pit dwellings abundant in the valley of the Amur River are ascribed to the Dahurs and to the Russians (of the XVIIth century). The palaeontological remains attract attention of the Tungus as well, I have already pointed out that the Tungus interpret the shells as an indication that formerly there was sea-bottom in the places where now mountains are found. The bones of large animal are sometimes understood as bones of dragons (mudur). However, I once discussed this matter with the Tungus when I happened to find a skull of a quaternary rhinoceros and a skull of a quaternary large bos in Transbaikalia. They were carefully examined by the Tungus and were recognised the first one as a skull of a very large horse and the second one as that of a large ox, which do not any more exist in the locality.

5. SPIDER-LIKE BEINGS. Amongst the Birarchen there is a hypothesis that each «species» of the animals, has one large spider-like animal which makes a large net. These nets are made of thick rope-like loops. Man is caught in such nets. I could not find the origin of this idea of net, but considering its limited distribution at the present time I hesitate as to plating it [361]. It is possible that this idea was formerly wide-spread. Yet, it may now be of a secondary origin, of a metaphoric origin.

6. THEORY OF JIN AND JANG. I have already shown that this Chinese theory of female and male principle has penetrated amongst the Tungus and Manchus. This theory finds its expression chiefly in the philosophical conception of life and only partly in that of existing phenomena classified. The sun is considered by some Tungus as male, while by the others as female. Thus there may be combinations of two sisters, husband and wife with reverse roles of the sun and moon. Incidentally the Chinese ideas make their appearance, but they do not seem to be stabilized. However, the distinction of male and female manifestations correlated with southern-noon and northern-midnight roads may be due to the assimilation of this conception. I do not mean to say that the Chinese idea of jin and jan is the primary source. Perhaps, it would be safer to regard it in its philosophical form as an adaptation of an older conception. Yet, the discrimination of sex roads in its application to the spirits (burkan) seems to be rather recent, the spirits themselves being recent.

7. HYPOTHESIS OF MICRO-ORGANISMS (Kulikan). This hypohesis has already been mentioned on different occasions, e.g. in the case of explanation of diseases, also of the human and animal male-cell. It may now be also indicated that the Tungus (Birarchen) in this case evidently group not only facts actually depending upon the micro-organisms, but also other phenomena, for instance, many diseases which are not due to the pathogenic micro organism, but to the disequilibrium of the tissues. In this case the Tungus merely extend the hypothesis over unknown but symptomatically similar phenomena. It may be also pointed out that the Tungus admit possibility of growth of micro-organisms, as it is in the case of worms observed in wounds, intestines, flesh (meat) etc. and embryological growth. However, they also admit that some of these micro-organisms never attain large size and thus cannot be seen. They act accordingly with this hypothesis. For instance, it is supposed that during the warm season the micro-organisms may multiply in any kind of food exposed and for this reason any food which is not especially preserved by drying or reducing to powder (e.g. meat) must be consumed within three days. Such food after three days may cause serious illness, because of the kulikan (micro-organisms).

8. PREGNANCY BY UNUSUAL WAYS. I have shown that the Tungus and Manchus have a very clear idea as to the cause of pregnancy in man and other animals. However, some ideas of unusual ways of pregnancy circulate among them. So, for instance, among the Manchus there are circulating Chinese books, e.g. in which they find stories regarding women's state when women become pregnant by looking in the water and seeing their own reflections. This possibility of pregnancy does not seem to be likely to the critically behaving Manchu minds. The same critical mind prevents the Manchus from believing into the possibility of pregnancy from the spirits endur'i, and even xutu or in dreams from the dogs, horses, asses. Such dreams are frequent with the girls. Then they cry and must be immediately awakened by other people. In the case of a story of a girl's pregnancy through the spirits there is very little chance that the Tungus or Manchus would really believe it, — there will be immediately taken up special measures in order to find out the man responsible for it. However, sometimes family secrets cannot be exposed and the honour of the girl must be defended. Therefore, although nobody believes in the theory, it is formally admitted that such a pregnancy might occur exactly in the given case. Indeed, in folklore, both Northern Tungus and Manchu, there are many stories regarding capture and violation of women by the animals, especially bears and tigers. However, these stories are regarded as «untrue», or the bears and tigers are regarded as people who assumed these animals' bodies, thus they are not real and common animals. Considering the Tungus theory of pregnancy and inheritance of physical and other features it is not likely that they would admit the possibility of pregnancy from these animals. The Tungus and Manchus are not ignorant as to the impossibility of impregnation of the females of other animals by man [362].

9. ANIMALS IN THEIR RELATION TO THE SPIRITS. In the previous sections we have seen on several occasions that the Northern Tungus and Manchus admit that the spirits do behave differently in reference to the animals. Some spirits are afraid of certain animals, and particularly of their claws, skins, bones, teeth. The idea itself seems to be very old while the discoveries of the Tungus along this line are always renewed.

The Manchu clan spirits are very particular about the dog, — the dog's blood may make the spirits run away from their placings and from the clan. However, it is not so amongst the Chinese (n'ikan) and in a much lesser degree among the New Manchus. The skin of this animal, even its fur, cannot be brought to the house where there are placings for the clan spirits. An exception is made only for very influential people, and the Manchus have a special very typical expression (cf. SOM. p. 91). Naturally, the meat of dog is tabooed for these Manchus. The dog is supposed to play a special part in the operations with the spirits when the latter are brought to the lower world. Yet, as previously shown, the dog may be used as a placing for some spirits and is buried under the threshold, for fighting the spirits. The latter are afraid even of dogs' barking. Amongst the Northern Tungus the dog does not play such a part as it does among the Manchus, but the dog is also used for carrying the souls of dead people. However, the dog in this case is sometimes called «black fox».

The spirits are afraid of the bear's paw which is used for protection of children, also for protection of the house. The udder of reindeer and cows is scratched with the bear's paw when the milk is poor or there is any trouble with this organ. The bear's paw is used by all Tungus groups and Manchus. With the same purpose of keeping away the spirits, the hedge-hog skin or the bones of sable, claws of lynx, etc. axe hung up above the cradle, in the doorway, etc. In these cases it is supposed that the spirits may attach themselves to them and thus they would be stopped on their way.

On the other hand there are animals which are liked by the spirits. These are all animals which are given as sacrifice. It is very common that the animals are kept for a long time for serving as sacrifice. A suckling pig is sometimes taken by the Birarchen, raised on special food, — the acorn of quercus dauricus, — and later «sacrificed». In the meantime the spirit becomes accustomed to the animal and «likes it». One cannot give the animal away without causing some misfortune to the members of the family [363]. The roe-deer, Cervus Elaphus. as well as chickens are preferred by the spirits.

It should be also mentioned that among a Tungus group, namely, the Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria, I have found a tradition according to which the Tungus have originated from a bitch dog which was impregnated by a man, — spirit-like man, about seventy years old who descended from the heavens. From this union the evenk'i have originated. However, among neither the Tungus nor the Manchus did the dog become an ancestor-like animal. Evidently among the Tungus this complex either is dying out or it did not exist in a well-developed form. The first supposition is more likely for the dog still plays very important part in the carrying on the souls of dead people [364].

10. CORRELATION BETWEEN PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTER. All groups here discussed have a quite definite idea as to the possibility and even certainty of a correlation between the physical features and character of the people and animals, which are naturally transmitted through the mechanism of inheritance. These observations are so common that it is understood as evident that from the observation of physical features one may make practical inferences as to attitude towards other people. As compared with other ethnical groups there is nothing unusual in the Tungus ideas about it. However, the Tungus in this respect do not confine themselves to the impressions, but they summarize various observations. For instance, among the Khingan Tungus it is supposed that the person is not good if the fat of the elk (Cervus alces) sticks to the lips, which is not observed in all people, the explanation being that such people have not enough «heat» inside (budiyadu) and such people have also bad «heart»; the red ridges on the forehead are also considered as sign of bad nature; physical weakness which is not due to the disease is also considered as sign of bad character. Indeed, the behaviour is a great source for warning Tungus as to the character of the people. For instance, the people who do not look straight into the eyes, or look with fixed («impertinent») eyes; the people who titter and giggle when speaking; those who refuse to accept tobacco and food from other people, etc. are considered as bad-natured people. The attitude in the state of drunkenness is also considered as indication of the character. In the same way the Tungus believe they can know the character of the animals with which they are familiar, e.g. dogs, reindeer (amongst the reindeer breeders), and horses (much less than the reindeer even among the horse breeders).

355. Here there may be suspected an influence of some Chinese ideas.

356. Vide SOM, — two special methods of fishing.

357. The same term is used for heroes of Tungus stories. It is also met with in Goldi (marga) and Gilak folklore (usually, maga) it is referred to the folk-stories' hero man-eater. In Transbaikalia in the form man'i (Nerc.), mangi (?) (Ang. Tit.) it is referred to the bear. Owing to this the Orion is sometimes associated with bear. Indeed, E I. Titov's translation «cort» (Russan «devil») is a mere misunderstanding.

358. Among the Barguzin Tungus it is called magitkan, where t and kan are suffixes.

359. cf. Yakut stem mani particularly in mangiljit — «to make effort»(?).

360. The parallelism is really remarkable; cf. Manchu manggi and Yakut mandji, — «during»; i.e. analogous to Tungus mangga-mandi — «hard, strong», and mangi (Tungus}, mandag'i (Yakut), — «the Orion», which facts seem to indicate that the stem is man, and mangi, mangga, mandi etc. are new formations with the help of suffixes.

361. The idea of net with which spirits catch the human souls is known in Chukchi complex (cf. W. Bogoras summarised in Einstein and Religion, 1923, p. 4 in Amer. Anthrop.).

362. Occurrence of intercourse with animals is known more or less among groups as practised if not among themselves, then among the neighbouring or other ethnical groups.

363. In Chelu village there was a man who decided to raise a pig for sacrifice. This is not easy for the Tungus dogs very often destroy the suckling pigs. The pig had grown up and the spirit dzulask'i endur'i was accustomed to it. When the Tungus was prepared to sell the pig, the children did not want to give it up, and they soon became very sick. The man made a special divination with the gun and found out that the spirit did not want the pig to be given away. The pig was kept for several months more. When it was fat enough, it was killed and the spirit received the pig's ears and blood while the meat was sold for Mex. $56 (about 65 kilograms). The illness of children ended.

364. It is remarkable that many ethnical groups have the idea of their origin from the dog, e.g. the «aboriginal» groups of China, Ainos, etc. [This question has been lately discussed by W. Koppers, Der Hund in der Mythologie der Zirkumpazifischen Volker. In reference to the Tungus vide p. 387. Cf. C. H. Liu, The Dog-Ancestor, etc. where some bibliography is given.] It may be noted that amongst the Tungus there is a bitch which is impregnated and not a human female which is common in the folklore or other ethnical groups discussed by W. Koppers.

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