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72. Further Operations With The Soul

Various things are put into the coffin together with the corpse because if the soul is lacking something it might become angry with the people who remain in this world. More than this, the soul may avenge itself for such negligence. According to the Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria, if they fail to satisfy the needs of the deceased people some other (clansmen) relatives will soon die. Indeed the chief anxiety here is the management of the soul and here we come in touch with theories regarding the soul. We have seen the soul consists of three elements, amongst the Man-chus and some other Tungus groups. The question as to when the soul actually leaves the corpse determines the Tungus behaviour in respect to practical ways of getting rid of the soul. We have seen that the soul for a certain time remains near the body; so the soul must receive everything as if it were a living person. This period may last a rather long time. Then at last the soul must be taken to the other world. Amongst the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia it is supposed that the depar-ture of the soul follows the burial immediately and therefore the reindeer is slaughtered at the tomb. Indeed the soul may meet with obstacles on its way and it ought to be helped by competent people, sometimes even by a shaman, but these measures may usually suffice to end earthly activity of the soul. It is different with the Manchus who believe that the soul remains ninety-nine days with the living people. However, according to the common opinion, the olorg'i fojengo departs on the seventh day. On the seventh day the Manchus make a placing for the soul which is made of clothes put on the bed-stove (nayan) as though it were deceased person. It receives food, tobacco and wine, and an oil lamp is put at the head of the placing. The participants burn paper-money, and have a ritual feast of «six cups and six dishes». The Manchus call it fojengo tuchimb'e, — «the soul goes away». Up to that time the soul remains in the place, where the person died, in a form «like steam». The operation is usually carried out without the shaman's help [423]. The people present cry and pray the soul to leave the place. The soul is supposed to depart before midnight leaving some footprints on the ashes put on the threshold. The reason why the soul leaves before midnight is that cocks crow and dogs bark at midnight and the soul would be frightened.

In spite of the fact that the soul is away, three weeks later the Manchus organize a new sacrifice which consists chiefly in burning paper-money etc. on the grave, if the burial is already accomplished. The same is done on the thirty-fifth day and at last on the hundredth day. However, here is the management of the soul already settled in the other world. On the hundredth day the operation actually occupies three days. Two days in advance, the Manchus begin to prepare all necessary food, cakes etc. They buy paper-money, human figures, animals, boxes etc. all made of paper. If the family has no money to buy them, they make everything at home. The night before this day, the near relatives, — the wife or husband, children and others, - gather together near the place where the person died and burn some paper-money and other articles made of paper, in front of an altar. The things prepared for the next day are put on the place formerly occupied by the deceased person. Then the people present take a ritual meal and write down in Manchu (or in Chinese) a detailed list of everything which had been prepared for burning, with the names of the contributors. The people assembled cry with loud voices when it is required, then suddenly stop, when the rite is performed, and continue their usual conversations and laughter as is usual with all Manchu rites. The next morning all bearers of mourning dress gather together and go by foot or on carts or sledges to the tomb. The things and people present are located as shown in accompanying figure.

All of them cry loudly, while the paper things are burning. Then they throw food into the fire and make show of throwing in the mourning dresses, but instead they take these along and in a great hurry, in crowd return, almost run, to their homes. Such a performance may cost several hundreds of dollars when there are many people and many things are prepared for burning.

Under the influence of the «poverty factor» the ceremony may be reduced to a few pieces of paper-money and a small sacrifice consisting of a cock or a hen.

The sacrifice ought to be repeated during the life of the near junior relatives. Sometimes on the tomb or near to it the Manchus erect memorial stones with the usual inscriptions. However, it is done rarely for stones are very expensive and one has to pay something to the government when one wants to erect the memorial on the roads or near the roads. The practice of the hundredth day sacrifice is in conflict with the idea of sending off of the soul on the seventh day. In fact, some Manchus express their doubt as to the need of this performance. They would say that since the soul has already been settled (about which they are sure for on the seventh day the soul goes away) there is nothing left on the hundredth day to be dealt with. This point of view is not accepted by other people who say that if there were anything left in the grave there would be no reason to keep the tombs, and yet the Chinese do observe these practices. For safety's sake, the Manchus maintain this practice, too.

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Amongst the Birarchen the seventh day is supposed to be a very important day — nadan inengi sus'i juran — «the seventh day the soul comes out». On that day the old men put some ashes, on the threshold, sit down quietly and wait for the moment when the soul goes away. During this time they ask the soul: ajakan’fi genekal, oruja oji taana — «peacefully (good) go, bad don't do (produce)», also all kinds of «good words» which sometimes last for several hours. At midnight the soul goes away leaving footprints on the ashes in the form of footprints of a chicken, roe-deer, horse, and ether animals, for it is supposed that the souls go to the animals. On the hundredth day a performance takes place, in imitation of the Manchus: when possible paper-money, figures, etc. are burnt. «Everything must be written down» (but it is not done!) and burnt together. In former days they used to kill a horse which was supposed to be used by the soul. At the present time the horse is not killed, but it is attached for the whole night near the tomb on a very long bridle. Instead of a horse the Birarchen now kill a pig and even sometimes an ox, but these are not killed for travelling of the soul, but as sacrifice-food. If everything is regularly arranged, the soul happily will reach the other world, very rarely does the soul return. In the last case the shaman's intervention is necessary. The performance on the hundredth day is called g'iramna javoran, s'ena luktan, i.e. «the bones (one) takes, the mourning dress (one) throws away». However, this expression does not correspond to the present practice, for the bones are now left untouched, and the practice of mourning dress is mere convention which is not actually observed.

The Birarchen assert that slaughtering of a horse was borrowed by them from the Dahurs who are horse-meat-eaters and under whose control the Tungus were a long time before the spreading of Manchu influence and later Chinese influence. Generally the Tungus do not like horse-meat, so that at the present time less than a third of the Birarchen would eat it.

Amongst the other Tungus groups the seventh day and hundredth day performances can be carried out earlier. So, for instance, amongst the Khingan Tungus the slaughtering of the horse and, thus, transportation of the soul takes place on the third day after death. Besides the horse skin with hoofs they leave at the spot also some wine, paper-money and figures, as already described, and sacrifice a sheep, sometimes a pig, and even an ox. It is very important to have rice, also millet, as food liked by the souls. Amongst the Kumarchen the whole performance is made during the night time and besides a horse they also kill several pigs, which they have to buy from the Manchus.

Indeed, the influence of the Russian Church among the Tungus of Transbaikalia and Reindeer Tungus of Manchuria has also produced its effect upon the practices regarding liquidation of the body and soul. The help of the priests is of importance in this matter, for the Tungus are relieved of their anxiety. Accordingly with the Church regulations the Tungus customs were also partly modified. From the ethnographical point of view these new practices are not interesting for they reflect a new combined complex of the original system and elements borrowed from the Russian system, the old idea of complex soul being preserved and new methods of managing it being borrowed.

It may be here noted that as a whole the death-burial-soul complex amongst the Tungus is subject to great variations, according to the sources of cultural influence. Some moments of the complex may receive greater emphasis than the others, while some elements may be rejected altogether and the others may be forgotten. From this point of view the Goldi complex is very interesting.

Among the Goldi it is supposed that the soul on the seventh day after the burial, must be brought by the shaman to a special placing reserved for it, fan'a. I. A. Lopatin gives the term for the act: n'imgan. This term as will be seen is met with in other dialects in the sense of — «to shamanize» and particularly when the shaman goes to the lower world, so that it is not a special term. The Goldi on this day make the fan'a which is a placing for the soul made in the form of an ornamented pillow which is also covered with the clothes of the deceased person, including his hunting hat. If the deceased person was a female, the Goldi attach the ear-rings to the pillow. Near the pillow they put a specially made wooden placing ajam'i fan'alko with a hole in which they thrust a tobacco pipe which is changed from time to time. The widow of a deceased man goes to sleep near the fan’a. Etymologically fan'a ought to be connected with an'an, — «the shadow», whence, «the soul» (vide supra). Amongst the Goldi this placing for soul may be preserved for years and it would regularly or irregularly receive some sacrifices. With good reason, I. A. Lopatin has connected this practice with that known amongst the Chinese prior to the XIIth century, since which time the tablet with the inscribed name on it, began to play the role of the placing. Amongst the Goldi the operation with fan’a has received great emphasis, naturally, together with the idea that it is very difficult to send the soul to the world of dead people. Evidently this was a particular case of growth of a complex which is found in a very rudimentary form amongst the other Northern groups and also little developed amongst the Manchus. The Goldi shamanistic performance is very complex and it includes several actions which are not particularly interesting to be treated. The bringing of the soul to the world of dead people takes place much later, sometimes several years later. This performance lasts several (three) days and consists in verifying whether the soul is really placed in fan’a, and bringing it to the other world. The complex is called by I. A. Lopatin kaza taor'i, which is, of course, Manchu gasa doro, — «the sorrow law (custom)», whence there has originated a complex shamanistic performance of going to the lower world, etc. known under the verb gasa—>kaza [424]. Therefore the souls may remain in this world for a long time and become a source of trouble for the living people, — sometimes the Goldi cannot organize the performance immediately, while their theory of soul includes no alleviating issues. I doubt the assertion of I. A. Lopatin who says that with this performance there is destroyed the last connexion between the dead and living people, — to be sure the souls of dead people even when they are in the lower world need some care and sacrifices [425].

As an interesting peculiarity of the Goldi, it may be also noted that they use a dog instead of a reindeer or horse. The dog's skin is put in front of the tomb and the soul of dead person travels on it, i.e. dog's soul. However, we have already seen that the dog in its connexion with the souls is not met with only amongst the Goldi.

* * *

We may now summarize the practices met with amongst the Tungus:

1. The soul is a complex, the elements of which at different times leave the body.

2. These elements have different fate in their existence after the destruction of the body.

3. The elements need a certain intervention on the part of living people for making them harmless.

4. The moments of departure of souls are different amongst the Tungus groups, owing to which the performances connected with departure may take place at different times.

5. The liquidation of the corpse and sending off of the soul may take from two days to several years.

There are at least three complexes intermingling amongst some Tungus groups, namely, (a) the old Tungus complex in which the part of the shaman is reduced to the participation as that of any other member of the clan; burial in open coffins, erected on piles, travelling of the soul on some domesticated animal [426]; (b) the Chinese complex with its system of managing the soul with paper symbols, mourning dress, etc. which is well represented amongst the Manchus; © the Goldi complex in which the old Tungus elements, are combined with the Chinese elements and a particularly important place is given to the shamans. Other complexes, such as Russian, Mongol and others, have only secondary importance.

As we have seen from Part Two the activity of the souls, either in the form of newly formed spirits or in the form of souls, continues and living people must watch and take care of them.

423. The soul sometimes does not reach the other world and in this case it would require special measures on the part of the shaman.

424. W. Grube gives kasate-, kasatera, — «schamanieren, jedoch nur von den toten Schamanen gesagt». However, it cannot be compared with Gilak kas's' — «Schamanentrommel», — which is almost certainly gis or g'isavun of the Tungus and Manchu gisun — «specially made sticks for bringing out sounds from the shaman's drum». Vide infra Ch. XXIV.

425. Between two performances some other minor sacrifices are made which are called by I. A. Lopatin fagfi; those are some food and wine offered to the fan’a and other placings. The term itself is merely from fag, — to «burn». These performances are also much more complex amongst the Goldi than amongst other Tungus groups and they seem to have grown much later, as a secondary phenomenon.

426. What is called here «old Tungus complex» actually consists of various elements some of which may be compared with those known among other ethnical groups. For instance, «cleaning of bones» and erected coffins were used among the Sienpi (the first millenium A.D. in Southern regions of Manchuria and Mongolia); the «horse» was used among many groups of the steppe area, from the Scythians in Europe to the Hiunnu in the Far East; the complex of «utensils put in the coffin» was still more widely practised. However, at the present time no reliable restoration of those complexes is possible.

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