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150. Different Complexes

In the description of the Tungus psycho-mental complex we have seen a great difference between the complexes observed among the various Tungus groups. In reality, these differences are great only when they are analysed on Tungus soil and the complexes are compared with one another. However, if one compares the Manchus with the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia, the difference will be great, even as compared with other ethnical groups in the analysis of different complexes I have occasionally shown the difference of the origin of various cultural elements, some of which might be traced back to the Chinese, Tibetan and Mongol complexes, in some rare cases even further, both historically and territorially. For instance, in the Manchu complex we meet with a great number of cultural elements, particularly that of the technical complex, unknown among the Tungus, but responsible for differences, viz. the agricultural complex which imposes a settled life with all its consequences, as well as a strong Chinese influence, also the professionalization of shamanism and mafarism. Among the Reindeer Tungus we meet with elements like the reindeer breeding, the hunting complex as a basis of the economic system, the rich complex of ideas borrowed from the Buriats and Yakuts, all of which are lacking in the Manchu complex and all of which are responsible for the existence of a different psychomental complex. The other groups may be put between these two groups with an evident deviation where the «nomadic complex» and the Mongol (Buriat and Dahur) influences appear.

In spite of elements of distinction there are many elements which are common to all groups here described. First of all, there is doubtless a common Tungus language which reflects a certain similarity of the psychomental complex of all groups, a great number of ideas borrowed probably at different historic moments from the neighbouring ethnical units, perhaps some elements which have originated among the Manchus and later spread over other Tungus groups - e.g. the elements of social organization — and finally some elements which may be supposed to have been preserved from the time of the pro-Tungus. With a lesser certainty we may also suppose that there are some common elements of reactions which are connected with inherited physiological conditions and which, in so far as they are associated with the common anthropological types, may be preserved among different Tungus groups.

Combinations of distinct elements and common elements in the Tungus groups are responsible for the creation of different local and technical complexes in various degrees similar and distinct when compared. The psychomental complexes of all these groups are thus not similar.

Naturalistic knowledge among the Tungus groups covers a very wide range of phenomena, but it is as variable as its contents and methods of approach. We have seen, for instance, that the Manchu complex is impregnated with modern Chinese elements and at the same time is poorer in so far as this knowledge depends on the chance of facing naturalistic problems. However, in so far as fundamental conceptions are concerned, the groups here treated do not show any essential differences. On the other hand, the naturalistic knowledge of the Northern Tungus, as far as I know, remains in some respects quite undisseminated. The chief cause of this is the fact that these Tungus live in the midst of nature which they must know and in which they are interested, both from the utilitarian point of view and from the point of view of seeking pure knowledge. In the case of the theories regarding the structure of the world, we can see that the Tungus ideas are seemingly not their own invention and can be easily traced to the original sources of borrowing. However, there remain some elements which are found in some Northern Tungus complexes, about which we cannot definitely say whether they never existed among other groups or were forgotten. That the elements of the complex of naturalistic knowledge may be lost is beyond any doubt. This may be seen from a great number of instances and particularly in the knowledge concerning animals. The latter, known to the Tungus from the point of view of their anatomical features psychic and mental characters, geographical distribution and general habits, do not remain the same. Yet, this knowledge is most intimately connected with the hunting complex; it may be even better included in this complex as one of its components; and to be maintained this knowledge must be carefully transmitted from one generation to another. When a Tungus group migrates to another region, it may easily forget its biological knowledge of the animals not found in the new area. The same would undoubtedly happen, should the animal become extinct or the knowledge be lost, if the hunting complex is replaced by any other complex — by that breeding of cattle, agriculture, etc. Such cases may now be observed. For instance, the Birarchen, after their final settlement in their present area, did not find the elk (Alces) and their knowledge of this animal has lost its vividness. Some clans of Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia, which migrated from Manchuria in recent time apparently two or three centuries ago — have only a very faint remembrance of the tiger, which is common in Manchuria. This faint idea will soon be lost altogether. The Manchus formerly used to be familiar with hunting and practised it. It may thus be supposed that their knowledge of methods of hunting and of animals was not like those expounded in their books, which are chiefly translations from Chinese. At the time of their brilliant career in China, hunting had to be given up, and naturally together with it the knowledge of Manchurian animals. After their political collapse they returned to Northern Manchuria and at least partly resumed their hunting. However, this time they had to learn it from the Northern Tungus from whom they again learnt important facts regarding local animals. This case is interesting, for the Manchus, after having forgotten this element of the old complex, restored it with the help of another ethnical group, which had been the keeper of the ancient knowledge.

The present naturalistic knowledge among the Tungus groups is thus very variable, and it may be supposed that in former time some of the Tungus groups possessed a much richer knowledge than that of the present time, and this knowledge was not rich in elements of scholastic theorization and speculation recently obtained chiefly from the neighbours

The Tungus complexes receive a special character owing to the configuration of the area occupied by them. These regions impose a special complex of means of communication and offer a special material for observation. The degree of their development depends on several other conditions, e. g. the chief source of food supply, the draught animals, the density of population which in turn may impose a different degree of movement. Different means of communication greatly affect the psychomental complex of the groups. While sedentary groups, like the Manchus, who use carts and do not leave their small area crossed by a system of roads, naturally confine their interest to local phenomena and form a rather confused idea as to the mountainous regions adjacent to their arable land, while their neighbours, the Northern Tungus, on horseback and especially on reindeer back, can freely move where they wish and gradually become acquainted with a variety of conditions of milieu and populations — other ethnical groups, animals, little accessible mountains, etc. — so all natural phenomena lose their enigmatic character in the Tungus complex. A third type of means of communications is that created by the navigable rivers. In fact, the river populations are more free in their movements than the Manchus, but they greatly depend upon the direction of the rivers and thus they are less free than the Tungus who use horses and reindeer. A fourth type is that of nomadic groups, like the Nomad Tungus of Transbaikalia, who live in the steppes and use horses. They are relatively free, but while the conditions of the steppe complex offer excellent means for communication, they give less material for the psychomental complex. As it is with the naturalistic knowledge, concerning means of communication, so the loss of ability of movement may here occur. So, for instance, the Tungus, who have lost their reindeer and adopted horses, are not so free in their movements as the reindeer breeders, for, as I have shown (SONT), the horse can be used only during certain seasons. It should be noted that the settled Birarchen group, who no longer practice hunting, differ greatly from those who still maintain the hunting complex and go to the mountains. The difference is due not only to the incorporation of alien elements. There is also a marked difference in the attitude, a definite «unrealistic» trend of ideas, and an evident loss of the original Tungus mental vivacity and naturalism. Seemingly a certain loss of the original complex has also occurred among the Manchus, which is especially evident in females, who have entirely lost their independence of movement; so they are usually carried on carts like a load, while in former times they used to go on horseback. A Northern Tungus woman is not embarrassed if she has to go alone, without men, sometimes even to travel in an unknown region, while the Manchu woman has no ability of orientation and adaptation necessary in travelling; the narrowing of the psychomental complex is only natural. The Tungus, who first lost their reindeer and later their nomadic complex and who adopted the settled mode of life of a simplified Russian agricultural complex, greatly differ from their neighbours who live on reindeer breeding. Their original psychomental complex changes in the same sense, i.e. in the sense of its impoverishment. Since the elements of the psychomental complex, which are connected with and depend on means of communication, may disappear altogether, there is no possibility to restore the old complex, as it was at the time of the better ability of movement. This remark applies also to the naturalistic knowledge, which can be lost without leaving any trace of its existence [712].

The complex of technical culture, as a whole, is greatly responsible for the character of the complexes observed among the Tungus. After what has already been stated in reference to the naturalistic knowledge and the means of communication this needs no emphasizing. When the Tungus is brought to a region where there are no hunting possibilities and where he must become a fisherman, cattle-breeder, or agriculturist, he has to remodel all his technical culture and to transfer his main interest to the new field of activity. If the group fails to adapt itself, it perishes. We may observe the interesting phenomenon of how the old remembrance of a former technical complex is gradually assuming confused form and the former psychomental complex gives place to a new complex. Since the transition from one complex of technical adaptation to another is made in imitation of the local groups, the «theoretical contents» of the complex are gradually adopted. However, some elements of the old complex may be temporarily preserved, sometimes in a complex composed of contradictory elements. Such is the case of some Tungus of Manchuria, e.g. of a group of settled Birarchen, who have partly assimilated Dahur and Manchu complexes, who have forgotten a great deal of the Tungus elements and increased their complex with alien elements, so that sometimes two hypotheses, two theories, two opinions exist about the same subject, just as in the complex of technical culture. From this point of view the decorative art is very characteristic.

In the analysis of the social organization of the Northern Tungus and Manchus, not to speak of the administrative system usually imposed by the alien groups, we have seen certain differences in the complexes of various Tungus groups. In fact, in the system of clan organization, in so far as it is reflected in the terms of relationship, different types are distinguished, i.e. the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia, the Tungus of Manchuria, whose system is a fusion of three distinct systems, the Nomad Tungus who reproduce the Buriat system, and the Manchus whose system bears elements of an old complex and of those borrowed from the Chinese. The same we have seen in the complexes of marriage, of wedding and of family which are liable to a marked adaptation, for instance, to the mode of dwelling. All these complexes include various percentages of alien elements. However, the social organization, as I have shown, is not always cognized, so that in the psychomental complex it occupies no place of importance. By this remark I do not mean to say that the social organization does not also condition a certain diversity in the psychomental complex. Indeed, such two distinct complexes as, for instance, the Manchu system, with its seclusion of the woman within the family in which she is allowed to have a certain freedom of sexual relations with juniors, and the Northern Tungus system in which the woman is practically free to arrange her sexual life as she likes, must have a great influence upon the functioning psychomental complexes.

An attempt at the restoration of an old Tungus social complex is confronted with the same, and even still greater, difficulties than that at the restoration of other complexes. However, some forms may be restored with some degree of probability; such are e.g. the dual clan organization, perhaps the matrilineal system and the matrilocal marriage. The theories of spirits are more or less identical in the sense of their formation and the evidences brought in their support; but as to the hypotheses regarding different individual spirits, they present a great diversity, even in different clans of the same ethnical units The diversity of hypotheses is still greater when the complexes of ethnical units are compared. We have seen that a great number of spirits may be traced to the original sources, as, for instance, the group of burkan,fuch'k'i, enduri, perhaps the seveng, and individual spirits, such as Ilmunxan~Irlinkan, jol, n'angn'ang, and others. However, there remain some spirits which are met with among a great number of group and which seem to have no parallels as to their names and sometimes their functions among the near living neighbours. Such are, for instance, buga and buni. A careful analysis of spirits, their names, history and present functions in the complexes offer a certain possibility for the restoration of the old Tungus complex. However, as in all other cases, it ought to be kept in mind that some old elements might disappear without leaving any vestige in the present complexes. It is thus evident that we can easily define the psychomental complexes according to the recognized spirits, every one of which is connected with a certain idea, a hypothesis, or at least with some ethnical groups, as source of borrowing. Indeed, hypotheses expressed in spirits are very demonstrative of the character of psychomental complexes, so that a list of spirits alone may be sufficient for giving a short characteristic of the Tungus ethnical complexes. However, as shown, differences in the lists of spirits, in the clans, and even in different families are common — there are no two absolutely similar complexes.

Practical methods of managing spirits and souls show the same range of variation in ethnical units and even clans, but there are some fundamental methods which are common to all Tungus groups and to some of these groups. Certain methods may be historically traced to their original inventors Such is, for instance, the complex of mafarism which has grown in the Manchu soil, being stimulated by the opposition to shamanism and by the imitation of the Chinese. As another instance I may give the mechanical methods of trial of the shamans with fire, water, etc. which, in so far as the Tungus are concerned, are met with only among the Manchus and groups directly influenced by them. However, the formal source of these methods is not certain — it might be the old idea of «fire-proof» and «wa-ter-proof» spirits. On the other hand, there are methods like the sacrifice, which is universal, the only difference being in that which is sacrificed — the physical matter, or its immaterial substance. But even in the sacrificial ritualism there are elements which may be classified according to the ethnical units, e.g. the methods of slaughtering by perforation of the chest and the pressing of the aorta, by pricking of the cerebellum through the foramen magnum, by cutting the throat; the methods of exposition of the sacrifice on dishes, on the table, on the platform, on the trees etc. There is still more differentiation in the prayers. Much less variation is seen in the burial complex and the deviations are not enigmatic. The method of burial in the earth, practised by the Northern Tungus, can be easily traced to its source of borrowing — the Russians. The same is true of the mound burial borrowed by the Tungus from the Chinese. On the other hand, there are elements, such as the carrying of the souls of dead people on the dog, practised by both the Manchus and Tungus, both the horse-breeders and reindeer-breeders. If it is not a custom-idea of the type of the «lame brother» who transports the souls in his canoe across the river into the lower world in the West (WNW and NW), which may have been borrowed by the Tungus groups, then the dog's part in the disposal of the souls may be regarded as a very old element, now incorporated into distinct complexes.

What has been stated in reference to the methods of managing spirits and souls, may also be applied to the particular elements of this complex, namely, the paraphernalia and particularly the placings for spirits, the most attractive for the investigators and collectors of ethnographic specimens. It should be noted that besides the conditions of life which sometimes require a reduction of the size of the placings and a special choice of material, there are actually distinct complexes, as for instance the use of ribbons for the clan spirits by the Manchus, of which I know no good parallels, and of pictures for shamanistic spirits which have been created by the Manchus in imitation of the alien iconography. The placings pictures of the same origin have penetrated into the complex of the Tungus of Manchuria but they have not been incorporated into the complex of the Reindeer Tungus, although they might see them among the Buriats and in the hands of lamas. Shamanistic paraphernalia also may show great diversity as to the distribution of elements among the Tungus ethnical groups in tact, e.g. the drum, although slightly varying in shape, is known among all groups, while the head-dress is very variable, as well as the coat, and the full dress, including moccasins, apron and trousers, is confined only to some Tungus groups of Transbaikalia; the belt with conical trinkets and skirt are confined only to the Manchus, Goldi and some other neighbours, the implements, such as swords, tridents etc., are met with only among the Manchus. Some of these paraphernalia can be easily connected with the original sources, as for instance, the Manchu costume, while the others remain enigmatic, as for instance, the reindeer headdress of the Tungus.

Shamanism, as a whole, observed among different groups, presents a great variety, so that it may be formulated that there are no two absolutely similar complexes, in so far as formal elements are concerned. However, this complex possesses a characteristic similarity among all groups, namely, the idea of spirits mastered by the shamans and its functioning as a regulator of psychic troubles, of individuals and in masses in some cases we can historically trace the origin of shamanism, as it is, with the Manchus, but in some other cases only suppositions may be made as to the imitation of the whole of complexes and their elements known among the neighbours, such as the Manchus, Buriats and Yakuts. Yet, it is evident that the shamanism of different groups consists in complexes composed of elements of various and chiefly quite recent origin. The psychomental basis, in the form of a disturbed condition, is also not similar in all groups, whence there are differences of shamanism in the ethnical groups, conditioned by the psychomental functioning of units. For instance, the degree of spreading of «olonism» is not the same among the Manchus and other groups; the mass psychosis which affects clans is more common among the Northern Tungus than among the Manchus. However, when the clan organization is shaken, the mass psychosis may not affect the mass of the clan, but may affect territorial groups. In the last case the spreading of a psychosis will not be intensive, if there is no presumption that the spirits re confined to the clansmen.

712. It is very common to look for «survivals» in the folklore. However, it seems to me that this method is extremely risky, for the elements of folklore may be easily borrowed, and together with them hints as to the formerly existing elements may have crept in which in reality never existed. Still more risky is the operation with the linguistical material. In fact, borrowings, semantic changes, phonetic similarity and dissimilarity and loss of terms may produce quite an artificial picture of what had never existed.

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