Demons of dust and Gods of boiled rice: Shamanism and ephemeral ritual art in the Himalayas

Journal article


Nicoletti, Martino 2012. Demons of dust and Gods of boiled rice: Shamanism and ephemeral ritual art in the Himalayas. Asian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society - Assumption University, Bangkok (ACSA Conference Special Issue), 05, n. 03: 128-48.
AuthorsNicoletti, Martino
Abstract

Some recent researches carried out in the fields of Himalayan ethnography and anthropology of art have enlightened about the very artistic and aesthetical elements related to the shamanic rituals of this specific area. In this context, some specific ritual artefacts – comprising drawings and aniconic three-dimensional objects created according to the personal imagination of the shaman and specific rules handed down orally – play a central role in most shamanic liturgical séances. These artefacts are commonly employed as temporary receptacles for the invisible beings evoked during the ritual, as well as a symbolic representation of the shamanic cosmos. In accordance with their specific functions and meanings, these ritual objects – usually made of perishable material such as coloured powders, paper, wood, fruit or comestible paste, appropriately moulded – are very often unequivocally characterized by their ephemeral status: created at the beginning of the ritual performance they are usually destroyed during the execution of the rite itself or at the very end.

Some recent researches carried out in the fields of Himalayan ethnography and anthropology of art have enlightened about the very artistic and aesthetical elements related to the shamanic rituals of this specific area.
In this context, some specific ritual artefacts – comprising drawings and aniconic three-dimensional objects created according to the personal imagination of the shaman and specific rules handed down orally – play a central role in most shamanic liturgical séances.
These artefacts are commonly employed as temporary receptacles for the invisible beings evoked during the ritual, as well as a symbolic representation of the shamanic cosmos.

In accordance with their specific functions and meanings, these ritual objects – usually made of perishable material such as coloured powders, paper, wood, fruit or comestible paste, appropriately moulded – are very often unequivocally characterized by their ephemeral status: created at the beginning of the ritual performance they are usually destroyed during the execution of the rite itself or at the very end.

KeywordsShamanism; Art
Year2012
JournalAsian Journal of Literature, Culture and Society - Assumption University, Bangkok (ACSA Conference Special Issue), 05, n. 03: 128-48
PublisherAssumption University, Bangkok
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/292278
hdl:10545/292278
Publication dates2012
Publication process dates
Deposited17 May 2013, 08:05
ContributorsUniversity of Derby, School of Art and Design
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File Access Level
Open
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