OLAC Record

Title:post-funeral house cleansing ritual
Documentation of Yonghe Qiang language and culture
Contributor (recorder):Nathaniel Sims
Description:These recordings were made by Nathaniel Sims and record YZQ and his apprentice LDQ performing a ritual of cleansing the house of the deceased after a funeral. The ceremony is perfomed at night. The dates here have been changed at the request of YZQ. YZQ and his student perform the cleansing ritual. YZQ chants and sings while using traditional instruments while his apprentice sings along without using instruments. YZQ leads the ritual and his apprentice follows verbal and non-verbal instructions throughout the ritual. At the front of the table are placed: a basin filled with grain, in which are placed sticks of bamboo ith white flags, YZQ begins to chant while using a hand-drum with leather knots that strike the drum. After this nine minute chant, everyone pauses for a cigarette break. YZQ drinks tea while other people in the household bring in elements to be used for the next part of the ceremony: barley flour, water, and a metal pan. YZQ chants while using a large ox hide drum and beats it with a bamboo drumstick with cotton on the head of the drumstick. As YZQ performs the chant, LDQ kneads the flour and water into dough and makes images of the 12 animals of the zodiac in the order that they occur: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. These dough sculptures are then placed on a special wooden paddle which is not used for any other purpose. YZQ finishes the second chant and smokes a cigarette while LDQ finishes making the zodiac dough figures. YZQ then begins a chant that is sung with no accompanying instruments. YZQ continues chanting as family members of the deceased come and sit facing YZQ and LDQ while YZQ chants and LDQ waves the grass dragon over different parts of the body: head, shoulders, arms, hands, legs, feet. At times YZQ uses hand gestures to guide LDQ to perform the ritual in the traditional way. At this point YZQ and LDQ have a cigarette break. After resting, YZQ begins using a hand drum as well as a hand bell. At the end of this chant YZQ throws a fistful of corn towards the doorway and calls for all the bad spirits to leave the house. YZQ begins a chant using only a handbell. LDQ sings along and also lights candles. After finishing the chant with the handbell, YZQ picks up a bundle of long dried bamboo and after taking out some of the rods, lights the tips on fire from the flame of the candle on the table. YZQ sings and chants while swinging the bamboo torch in a counter-clockwise direction. He uses the light to seek out the place where the soul of the deceased left the house. LDQ stands beside YZQ holding a while piece of paper. YZQ moves from the living room one of the side rooms, he holds the torch in right hand while extending his left arm makes an apana mudra with ring and middle finger bent towards the palm. LDQ follows behind him and looks forward past the flame. At different points YZQ gives verbal and non verbal ques for LDQ to follow in the traditional manner and not step in front of YZQ. YZQ identifies the place where the soul left the room and upon finding this spot, he marks it with oil from pork fat and this part of the wall is scrapped off into the white paper with an ax by LDQ. The white paper is taken back into the living room to the front of the room and paper is folded over. YZQ and LDQ sit down on benches and the host places a branch of juniper into the metal pan in between them. A person from the household of the deceased places candles at the front of the table. LDQ burns yellow paper in the basin while YZQ chants. The host brings in a shovel which three white rocks which have been heated by a large fire. YZQ takes the hot rocks from the shovel and puts them in the basin with water. YZQ burns a branch of juniper and waves the smoke over the bubbling basin of water. He then stands and faces the altar and addresses the household dieties. He dips the juniper branch in the water of the basin and splashes it on the wall with the altar. YZQ then makes another bamboo torch and lights it on fire. He stands facing the altar and chants while LDQ holds a basin of barley flour. YZQ holds the bamboo torch in his left hand and uses his right hand to throw fistfulls of barley flour into the fire making a short burst of flames. He proceedes to cleanse each part of the household ending with the front door to the house. Members of the household stand with their back to YZQ as he throws fire towards each one of their backs in order to protect them from bad spirits. After this the living room is swept by a member of the household, the ashes that are swept up, along with some articles of clothing from the members of the household are burned outside of the doorway. Towards the end of the ceremony YZQ exits the home and performs cleansing rituals at the doorway of the kitchen and also at the main doorway of the home. The ceremony ends outside of the main doorway. After completing the chanting YZQ tosses two pieces of wood and thereby determines the efficacy of the ritual from the way they landed. Pleased with the way that the two pieces of wood landed, he says a few more words and then concludes the ceremony. After this firecrackers were set off outside the main doorway. The recordings were interrupted by short breaks to replace memory cards and camera batteries. The length of these recordings is 04:10:00.
Identifier (URI):https://lat1.lis.soas.ac.uk/ds/asv?openpath=MPI1313169%23
Publisher:Nathaniel Sims
University of California, Santa Barbara
Subject:Ritual/religious texts
funerary rites
Southern Qiang language
Qiang, Southern
Mandarin Chinese language
Subject (ISO639):qxs


Archive:  Endangered Languages Archive
Description:  http://www.language-archives.org/archive/soas.ac.uk
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for OLAC format
GetRecord:  Pre-generated XML file

OAI Info

OaiIdentifier:  oai:soas.ac.uk:MPI1313169
DateStamp:  2019-07-20
GetRecord:  OAI-PMH request for simple DC format

Search Info

Citation: Nathaniel Sims (recorder); YZQ; YGY. 2018-01-01. Nathaniel Sims.
Terms: area_Asia country_CN iso639_cmn iso639_qxs

Inferred Metadata

Country: China
Area: Asia

Up-to-date as of: Mon Oct 18 18:59:34 EDT 2021