The shaman's drum ( Norwegian runebomme , South Sami gievrie , North Sami gobdas , Finnish kannus , Eskimo and in Inuktitut qilaat , in Altai tüngür , Tibetan po'i rNga ) - out of date also "magic drum " - is a tool for the magical practices of shamans of different cultures. especially in the shamanism of the former hunters and nomads in Central Asia and Siberia, practiced more strictly than elsewhere . There shamanism belongs to the traditional religion of the Turkic , Mongolian and Uralic peoples . The shamanic ceremonial drum is also a cultural symbol .
What is essential for the drum of the Siberian peoples is the idea that the wood of the frame must be made from a sacred tree, which at the same time represents the world tree , the axis of the world. The shaman primarily uses the drum as a symbolic mount during his mystical journey into heaven, as a tool in the oracle and to summon the spirits to heal the sick. Drums used by the Sami ritually from the 17th and 18th centuries are preserved in large numbers in museums; among the Eskimos they disappeared with Christianization, while in North Asia they are still used in a traditional way in some places today. The South American Mapuche also play the kultrún up to the present day .
Shaman's drum is a functional name regardless of the type. The most widespread were circular, single-headed frame drums made from curved wood chips and oval or otherwise rounded frame drums. The seeds also had flat, bowl-shaped drums carved from a piece of wood. According to their shape, they belong to the kettle drums , but have several openings at the bottom. The diameter of the drums is between 30 and 100 centimeters with a 3 to 20 centimeter high frame. Many, but not all, shaman's drums are decorated on the membrane with patterns and figures, which often represent a “mythical map of the world” - with the world tree in the middle, which is surrounded by animals, spirits and human figures.
General function of the shaman's drums
The shaman's drum is an indispensable symbol of the shaman in many areas and a liturgical guide for shamanism. This is especially true in North Asia, where the word - derived from the Tungus šaman - has its origin and the position of the shaman in a traditionally egalitarian society stands out. This classic shamanism around the Arctic Circle includes the Sami in Lapland , the Samoyed , Jukagir and Chukchi in Siberia , the Koryak in the extreme northeast of Siberia on the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Eskimos in Alaska . Further south, in Central Asia , Tibet , Mongolia, and the Far East , shamanism has been influenced and weakened by Indian and Chinese cultures.
The magical-religious function of the shaman is to establish a relationship between humans and the supernatural spirits and deities for the benefit of the community. In his trance he experiences an ecstatic journey to heaven, where he arrives through the ascent along the world tree . He imagines the drum to be made from the wood of the world tree and thus explains its magical power, which guides him to the center of the world while drumming, and from there to ascend into heaven. A symbolically erected birch with notches in the trunk or a ladder, in the vicinity of which the shaman acts, represent the world tree in his mind and serve him as an aid in the same way as the beaten drum as a means of transportation. The Yakuts and Buryats use the drum as a travel companion , if the membrane was made from horse skin, the nickname “Shaman's Horse”, while the Tuwins and Tofalars in southern Siberia call the drum covered with deer skin “Shaman's deer”. In many old cosmogonic ideas of North Asia, a seven-layered sky spans the central world mountain and the shaman, drum in hand, reaches the next higher layer of the sky through an opening in the middle of each layer, which is imagined as the smoke vent of a tent.
Further activities of the shaman are the establishment of contact with the spirit world, during which his body either goes into the otherworldly world or he lets a spirit penetrate into him. In this direct contact with the world beyond, the spirit speaks through the shaman's mouth about things that the shaman himself does not know, in sentences that a listening person has to interpret and make understandable to those present. In addition, the shaman can act as a fortune teller, interpreting animal oracles, and as a healer. Physical and mental illnesses are the most common cause in North Asia why a shaman is called. He recognizes the shadow soul (in the Altai körmös ) that has disappeared from the body as the cause of the disease and tries to bring it back into the patient's body. In all of these cases, the shaman's drum primarily ensures that the shaman reaches an ecstatic state.
The psychological effect of rhythmic drum beats on the central nervous system has been studied several times. Andrew Neher (1962) quotes the description of a shaman session with the Tungus from 1935. The soft and slow drumming at the beginning should attract the audience's attention and help the shaman to concentrate. With the arrival of the summoned spirits, the tempo of the drum increased gradually until the ecstatic shaman passed the drum on to an assistant who continued to drum in the same rhythm in order to maintain the state of excitement reached by the shaman and the audience. Neher found out that drumbeats can, among other things, reduce the sensation of pain and trigger cramps. He has been criticized for describing the physical symptoms and loss of control of the shaman, as can be achieved through hyperventilation , but neglecting cultural factors. The shaman's drums produce deep and loud tones with not clearly definable pitch and changeable sound. Regardless of the cultural background, such drumbeats with a frequency of 4–8 Hz cause drowsiness and light sleep with dream images, because they amplify the theta waves that can be measured in the brain in this state. In addition to beating the drum, the shaman puts himself into ecstasy through song and dance.
Some shamans saw the purpose of drumming as being to summon the spirits from whom they expected help and whose answers they supposedly received and passed on to the audience. In other situations, drums have been used to drive away evil spirits. The drum is not a typical instrument for such an apotropaic noise-magic, because the magic of their music has always been in the foreground. For some Altai peoples, a single-stringed musical bow was played instead of the drum , but it was never used as a weapon to ward off ghosts with an arrow. Mircea Eliade thus denies the statement of Ernst Emsheimer , who assumed such a function with reference to identical words for drum or parts of the drum and hunting bow. The shaman ( baksi ) in Kyrgyzstan accompanies himself with the long-necked lute kopuz instead of with a drum . In North America, the shaman often used a rattle instead of the drum. More rare accompanying instruments of the shamans were jew's harps ( qopuz , chomus or chuur ) among other things with the Tungus or the lyres of the Obugrisch- speaking peoples in western Siberia.
There are a large number of historical reports and illustrations of shaman's drums (Norwegian runebomme ) from the Sami, while most of the 17th and 18th century sources on shamanism, when the Sami was still alive, are not based on personal inspection and come from missionaries who had little understanding of the phenomenon. In 1871 Jens Andreas Friis wrote 35 pages about the drums of the Sami in his work on the mythology of Lapland. The standard work, which is still unique in its scope, is Die Lappische Zaubertrommel by Ernst Manker in two volumes (1938 and 1950). In it, Manker discusses all 81 shaman's drums preserved in European museums. Of these, 71 are completely preserved, four have no membrane and six are considered to be fake. According to the design there are 44 frame drums, which in turn are divided into three types. The frame of a drum consists of a circular curved ring. Two specimens are assembled from two pieces of wood formed at an angle. This type of construction does not appear anywhere else. Most frame drums were bent from a narrow piece of wood, like a sieve, and held by a wooden handle that was built into the middle along the underside between the opposite frame sides. 27 drums are flat bowl drums with two large symmetrical holes cut into the bottom to expose a handle in the middle of the bottom. All drums are approximately oval and similar in size, with the difference that the bowl drums are wider, i.e. more circular.
According to Manker, the bowl drums evolved from the older bulkhead drums. As a justification, he gives their similar size, shape and weight and above all the cord attachment with which the membrane of both drum types are tensioned. A lacing pulled through holes on the edge is much more difficult to produce with thick-walled bowl drums.
The body of 67 drums is made of pine ( Pinus sylvestris ), six have spruce ( Picea excelsa ), one time birch ( Betula alba ) and one time rowan ( Sorbus aucuparia ). The wood was selected for its practical suitability and should also come from trees that were considered magical. The untanned skin of a reindeer as young as possible served as the membrane . The drawing on the membrane was done with red-brown paint obtained from alder bark. Frame drums in particular include small magical appendages that are attached to the inside, such as scraps of fabric and skin, animal bones, bear claws and arpa ("frog" or "pointer"). The latter are brass rings or plates, also triangular horn pieces, which on the one hand served as an oracle and on the other hand were intended to complement the dark drum beat with a high frequency. The mallets were made from reindeer antlers and cut out as a drum hammer in the shape of a T or Y. The end of the stroke is covered with animal skin to muffle the sound. Many have a shaped handle and cut geometric decorations.
One of the oldest, particularly well-preserved and documented examples is the “magic drum ”, which is now in the Museum Schloss Elisabethenburg in Meiningen, Thuringia (drum no. 30 according to Manker). It was confiscated in the Norwegian province of Nord-Trøndelag in 1723 and is believed to date from the first half of the 17th century. It measures 47.5 cm in length, 30.4 cm in width and 8.5 cm in depth. The frame of the bulkhead drum is made of pine wood. There are 50 pendants hanging from 101 leather strips attached to the underside of the frame and the handle. The leather strips are partially wrapped with pewter wire. The pendants include 96 brass plates and differently shaped brass parts, five copper plates and six pewter rings. On some of the leather strips between 11 and 29 centimeters long, the end jewelry has disappeared, but was obviously there.
Archaeological finds of bones that presumably belonged to shaman's drums are known from the 11th to 13th centuries and show that frame drums have existed at least since the Viking Age . A geometric pattern ("watch glass motif"), which appears on the handles of drums, was also found on bones and pieces of antlers in Viking graves in northern Norway. A presumed drum pointer ( arpa ) made of copper, which is connected with a bronze ring, was found at a sacrificial place of the seeds of the 11th / 12th centuries. Found in Vindelgransele (municipality of Laychsele ) in northern Sweden . Similar objects made of bronze or stone from other sites of this time are also interpreted as "pointers". The pointer may originally have served as a percussive sound reinforcement and only later became an oracle object. There seems to have been an unbroken tradition of building frame drums since the Viking Age. A drum hammer from Øvre Nordset near Rendalen in southern Norway was found in a stone mound ( cairn ) and dated to the 11th to 13th centuries.
The oldest literary source is the Chronicon Norvegicum (also Historia Norvegiae ) from the end of the 12th century, which was written in Latin by an anonymous author and deals with the history and society of Norway. The shamans of the Sami and the Siberian peoples therefore used the drum as an instrument for their trance sessions. Obviously a frame drum is described, on the membrane of which a small rowing boat and skis were painted next to a whale and a reindeer. These were the shaman's ( gandr ) aids in his spiritual journey, which took place while he held up the drum, danced and sang magic songs ( galdr ).
The next written reference is from the mid-16th century. In the 17th century Johannes Scheffer (1621–1679) distinguished in his regional studies Lapponia (1673) between the drums of the Sami in northern Norway and in Sweden, which, according to their design, were both bowl drums, had a pointer and were struck with a stick. The difference could have been in the painting of the membrane or its use. According to Scheffer, the Swedish drums were decorated with Christian and Swedish symbols, which is seen as an attempt by the Sami to take over the symbols of power from the majority society around them and to use them as magical aids for their own purposes.
The Sami originally lived from foraging , fishing and hunting reindeer. The gradual transition from reindeer hunting to semi-nomadic or nomadic reindeer herding took place as early as the 1st millennium . Since the 16th century, due to the taxes they had to pay to Denmark-Norway , Sweden and Russia , the Sami developed an economy based on herding reindeer. The most extensive literary sources date from the 17th and 18th centuries, when, in addition to the state's influence on the Sami, there was a religious battle with the Lutheran missionaries. From the end of the 17th to the middle of the 18th century the missionaries concentrated their agitation on the pagan shaman's drums, which they confiscated on occasion. For the Sami, who had a Christian name but otherwise practiced their indigenous religion, the drums became a cultural symbol of resistance. Most of the Sami by this time had already been baptized and married according to the Christian rite, but some did not let themselves be deterred from attending a shaman meeting perhaps once a year at special meetings. The church preachers had succeeded in imparting Christian customs to the Sami , but not in completely breaking them away from their Sami religion . The missionaries saw the basic problem in the existence of shaman's drums, which for them were the work of the devil and which consequently had to be destroyed.
During the campaigns, the seeds exposed as " witchers " were forced to surrender their drums to be burned. According to reports, it was the Pitesami-speaking group that offered the most resistance. In 1682 they met in Arjeplog and declared that they would continue to invoke deities according to the custom of their ancestors. Such public protests were rare, however, and only in a few cases did the Sami physically resist the confiscations. In the 1680s, penalties for owning drums were tightened and the Sami were forced by law to hand over their drums to the district administration. At least in Jokkmokk , specially made drums ended up in the collection point, while the old ones were kept. Convicted offenders were publicly punished as a deterrent to others. According to a court record from 1687, a man defended himself with the argument that he only used the drum to learn his fate and to ask for good luck for his upcoming hunting expedition. Another defense strategy was to refer to the drawings on the drum as a kind of map with which one could find the way in the wilderness. The desire to allow the use of drums for this purpose remained unheard of. Instead, during an inspection tour of Lapland in 1688, the regent and the bishop threatened anyone who refused to surrender his drum with imprisonment and flogging, as well as agony in the afterlife. A man from Arjeplog, who had declared in the district court that year that he would continue to use the shaman's drum, was sentenced to death as an example, then beheaded and burned together with his drum and three ritual objects under the eyes of forcible members of his clan .
During the following three decades the shaman's drum had become relatively quiet and the subject seemed to have ended with the complete Christianization of the seeds. A mission society was founded in Copenhagen in 1714, and the Danish King Frederick IV played a major role in its creation . Its management took over in 1716 from the pietism embossed Thomas West (1682-1727). It was not until 1723 and 1724 that there were new accusations against Sami, who stated that they had asked the drum about the outcome of a planned hunting trip or trip. Those denounced as "idol worshipers" got away with fines, flogging and the surrender of their drums. In the later years, the remaining drums had to be hidden from their own compatriots everywhere.
A new drum was inaugurated with a magical rite, when not in use it had to be specially protected, which is why they kept the seeds in the back of their feces . Their loss would have upset the entire community. The drum was a spiritual guide for coping with everyday life, from the daily hunt to the annual festivals. In contrast to some peoples in southern Siberia, the drum was not destroyed after the shaman's death, but passed on to his successor.
During his third mission trip in 1723, Thomas von Westen confiscated the drum that is now in Meiningen. Unlike his fellow missionaries, he did not have the drums that he had collected destroyed, but kept them. Shortly before or after his death in 1727, the Meininger drum was sent to Copenhagen either alone or with others. Von Westen is also characterized by the fact that he had a cultural interest in the Sami and understood their language. This preserved one of the only two descriptions given by its owner of a historical Sami shaman's drum and the magical meaning of its symbols. The handwritten text by Westens shows that the original owner Bendix Andersen and his assistant Jon Torchelsen did not want to give up the drum, which is several generations old, mainly because of its old age. In general, the magical power of a drum increased with age. The numerous appendages made of leather strips, pewter wire and brass objects on the Meiningen drum are a sign of successful fortune-telling that can be attributed to the drum. They are donations from the client if the oracle has given them a happy ending from their situation.
The Sami shaman's drums can be divided into four groups according to the sources:
- There is a declaration from its original owner. In addition to the Meininger drum, this is only the case for drum No. 71, which comes from Anders Poulsen from Nord-Trøndelag in central Norway. His interrogation records from 1691 have been preserved.
- There are historical descriptions of five other drums by someone who was presumably a missionary rather than the original owner.
- Some drawings with associated interpretations have been preserved from drums that have themselves disappeared.
- For most of the drums no contemporary information is known.
The interpretation of the characters is complicated due to the often questionable sources and has led to different results that are not considered satisfactory to this day. In addition to the misunderstandings of the Christian missionaries, information that was deliberately withheld from the interviewees may be another reason why the historical reports should be viewed with caution. The images on the eardrums described in the Historia Norvegiae of the 12th century - whale, reindeer, rowing boat and ski - led to the assessment that the drums were only used as an aid to the shaman's journey at that time. The later use for oracles is either traced back to a cultural takeover from neighboring Scandinavian peoples or to Christian influence, or it is seen as a development of the Sami. In the 17th and 18th centuries the figures were mostly seen as hunting and fishing scenes or as depictions of reindeer herding. Ernst Manker, on the other hand, linked the characters with pre-Christian Sami mythology. Since all the drums that have been preserved come from a time when the Sami religion was already influenced by Christian beliefs, Christian symbols also appear on the drums, where they are obviously intended to enhance their magical effect.
The arrangement and details of the drawings on the drum heads are individual for each drum, but there are fundamental regional differences between North and South Sami drums. The figures are scattered across the surface or are partially connected to one another. They represent people, reindeer, moose, trees, churches, graves, hunting equipment and other everyday objects as well as things with a religious reference in a very simplified way. Drums of the Åsele type, which have a sun symbol ( beive, päivö ) in the middle of the membrane , are called considered the older ones. The membrane of the other type is divided into two or more fields with solid lines. With the oracle, the drum was held horizontally and beaten with the drum hammer until the pointer jumping on the eardrum had reached the correct figure.
For some motifs, a connection with Finnish rock paintings and those in the Urals is seen, which also belong to hunting and fishing cultures. On 30 Åsele drums there is a zigzag motif, which, with two exceptions, is to the left of the sun symbol. The left side represents the world of this world, the right the underworld. A zigzag line is interpreted as a snake. On rock paintings, a man with a snake next to him is considered a representation of a shaman. Although informants have spoken of snakes as a despicable animal to be killed since the 18th century, the snake appears on the left next to everyday items. This assessment as a devilish being is possibly due to the Christian influence and the Nidhöggr known in the Nordic folk beliefs , because older ideas of snakes must have been positive, otherwise images of snakes from the end of the Mesolithic would not have been found in graves at Lake Onega in Karelia . Grave goods are always positive.
By comparison with figures from Sami mythology, the upper end of the eardrum appears to be oriented south, so that the right side points towards the rising sun and the left side towards the west. Some boats on the drums can be compared to sun boats on Caucasian and Siberian rock art. The sun boats show the daily orbit of the sun, which runs from east to west in the sky and enters the underworld in the west. This offers an explanation for the location of the underworld on the drum.
The example of the Meininger drum shows the differences between the information provided by its former owner Bendix Andersen and the interpretations of Ernst Manker from 1950: In the center of this drum is the rhombic sun symbol ( beive ) drawn with a double line , from which rays emanate with a single line that form four axes. Andersen describes a human figure with a triangular head and a T-shaped object in hand as the devil and Manker as thunder with the thundering hammer. A human figure with rays on the head on the opposite axis is, according to Andersen, the sun in fine weather and, according to Manker, possibly the wind. Andersen names a reindeer with a predator behind it in the upper left margin, while Manker recognizes one of the figures of the Sami god trinity. In the same way, Andersen specifically designates a rectangular checkered figure with crosses in two corners on the right edge as a church and Manker interprets a Christian grave, which was originally jabme-aimo , the Sami realm of the dead.
In addition to the top of the eardrum, the seeds also placed symbolic signs on its underside and in some cases on the wooden body. While the signs on the top could be seen by everyone, even if not understood by everyone, the bottom contained esoteric symbols that were intended for the shaman and the meaning of which he conveyed only to his successor. The shaman saw the inside of the drum while he was beating it.
Besides the occasional use of rattles and buzzing devices , shaman's drums were the only percussion instruments of the seeds. To create melodies, they mainly used the fadno , a single-reed instrument that they made from the green stem of the medicinal angelica ( Angelica archangelica ). Otherwise solo chants ( juoi'gat ) without instrumental accompaniment are the only traditional form of music.
The North Asian shaman drums belong to the type of frame drums with a mostly oval shape. Many drum diaphragms are decorated with figures, others are completely without drawings. In the Tungus , Yakuts and Dolgans , the drum frame is made of birch, larch or willow wood , which is covered with untanned reindeer skin that has been depilated on the top, and in some places also deer or horse skin. As with the drums of the seeds, the skin is sewn on the edge, with the Manchu and Buryats it is glued. Pieces of wood inserted between the frame and the skin, which can be seen as bumps on the surface, are used to stretch the skin. Otherwise, the drum is heated over the fire before use to increase the tone. The main differences between the North Asian drums lie in the shape of the handles. With the Yakuts, the drum is held on a forged iron cross that fits on the underside and is connected to the frame by strips of skin at the ends. On some drums, one of the iron bars is bent into a V-shape in the shape of a flying bird. Various bells and other metal objects are tied to the underside with leather straps.
Such drums, including the humps on the edges, are also known from the Altai on the southern edge of Siberia, where they are particularly richly decorated. The Altai drums ( tüngür or Düngür ) are almost circular with a handle made of two crossing iron rods, from which a row of leather strips hang down. In some Tatars and in the Altai, the membrane consists of the skin of an Altai elk ( Cervus canadensis asiaticus , a species of red deer ), a Siberian ibex ( Capra sibirica ) or a horse. Like the Sami people, the Tatars living on the Abakan River in southern Siberia built a birch wood handle in the middle of the drum and lavishly decorated it with geometric ornaments. In the Altai, this handle bears the incision of a human figure with eyes made of copper plates and spread legs. The figure is called tüngür äzi ("master of the drum"). An iron rod runs across the inside of the drum in the upper third of the wooden handle, with five metal rings on one side and four metal rings on the other. Iron arrows and bells provide additional percussion noises.
Everywhere the mallet has the shape of a narrow clap made from a birch branch or a bush. Its upper end is covered with the fur of a rabbit or other animal. In the Altai, small metal rings are attached along the back of the mallets. At the end of the handle, colorful strips of fabric are tied to another metal ring. Some handles have the shape of an animal's head or represent a spirit being. In the southern Altai people, the mallet has the shape of a human.
The drums in the Altai bear drawings of trees, which mostly represent the world tree, human figures, including the shaman with his drum and figures equipped with wings, animals and sickness spirits, which together represent a mythical map of the world. The Altaians painted the figures in black, white and sometimes brown, the Telengite subgroup often also on the inside. Above the iron crossbar, for example, the starry sky is shown, while below three curved lines represent a rainbow ( solongy ) next to a birch, from which the handle was made, and the corresponding animal, whose skin shed the membrane. Other figures are interpreted as ghosts from the realm of the dead or sacrificial rituals. The underside is filled in the middle by the "Lord of the Drum", a stick figure with suggested ribs and the iron rod instead of the arms. The "lord" or "master" of the drum is supposed to represent the first shaman or an ancestor of the shaman, who stands by him as a personal guardian spirit. The inside of the drum membrane is probably of primary importance because it gathers the spirits called for help by the shaman during his session. The figures on the outside, which are also arranged around the “master of the drum”, would then be derived replicas.
This interpretation cannot apply to the Tatars on the Abakan River, as they only decorated the top. They, too, separated the membrane into an upper third and a larger lower surface with a horizontal line. Up in the sky you can see the sun, moon and stars as well as riders with bows and arrows hunting for animals. Sometimes the stars are at the top of trees and wooden poles. Human figures such as the shaman with his drum, sick spirits and animals from the realm of the dead are distributed on the lower surface. Some Altai drums are also decorated with stars and other patterns on the outer edge of the membrane. Tatars in the northern Altai and Mongols dispensed with any design of the membrane.
The Tungus drew the center of the world as a circle in the middle of the membrane and four semicircles on the edges, which are connected to the center by lines to symbolize the four regions of the world. The Altai people are opposed to this universal concept, in which the individual figures evidently received more attention than the overall plan. A Khakasian-speaking shaman from the region of Khakassia (around Abakan ) referred to the constellation Orion on a drum, with the help of which the shaman could find his way into the heavenly world. A cuckoo and a raven supported him on his long journey. The former bird maintained contact between the shaman and the earth while he was in heaven, and the raven ensured that the sick man's vanished shadow soul returned. The shaman had previously found out the cause of the disease with the birch tree shown.
In contrast to the Sami, there is no known oracle in North Asia that was performed using the shaman's drum itself. Tungus and Samoyed, on the other hand, throw the drumstick into the air and read a positive or negative answer from the oracle from its position on the ground. However, this type of divination was always of subordinate importance compared to beating the drums in shamanism.
The drum, like the shaman's costume, was considered sacred and had to be kept carefully, because damage would have made the shaman sick. Ceremonies were carried out for the inauguration of a new drum, such as those that had to be observed in the case of ritual contamination, for example in the event of a death in the shaman's house. While the seeds passed on the shaman's drum, the Altaians broke it and laid it next to the deceased's grave.
With the Tungus, the wood had to come from a sacred place, with the Altai people the tree was not allowed to show any signs of damage, which is why the right tree was sought in a remote area. The Yakuts (and presumably other peoples as well) cut the wooden strip from a larch trunk with a tangential cut so that the tree remained alive. The idea that the tree used is a "shaman tree" and an image of the world tree is widespread in North Asia. Therefore, the Yakuts offered an animal sacrifice to the tree and poured the sacrificial blood and vodka against it. Every Siberian shaman could point to a particular shaman tree, the fate of which was linked to his own.
"Bow" or "singing bow" was the name of some shamans for their drum. Leonid Pavlovich Potapov (1905–2000) fundamentally researched the history of the shaman's drum in the Altai. His development theory established in 1934, according to which the drum as a shaman's tool was preceded by the hunting bow (which can also be used as a musical bow ), is controversial today. Ernst Emsheimer interpreted the drum, Potapov in the following, as a demon-warding instrument, which corresponds to a bow with magic arrows and established a relationship between this function of the drum and the diagnosis of an illness. In the magical imagination of North Asia, illnesses have two possible causes: They are either the result of a malevolent spirit that has entered the sick person's body or a lost soul that has left the body and is prevented from returning by a spirit. Emsheimer referred to the first of the two causes of the disease. It is now unclear whether this is actually the older of the two traditional ideas about illness, as was long believed.
The Evenks are a nomadic people with their own language, scattered in numerous small groups in Siberia and to a lesser extent in Mongolia . In Manchuria in northeast China today still operate about 200 reindeer Evenki livestock. Their ancestors moved there in the Hinggan Mountains in the 1820s in search of hunting grounds and pastureland for the reindeer. The Chinese Evenks are followers of their traditional shamanistic beliefs. When they arrived they were organized into clans, each of which had its own shaman. After the disintegration of social structures in the mid-1930s, there was only one female shaman in the entire group, who died in 1944. Then the Evenks felt robbed of their protection and helplessly exposed to the spirits. They went through a troubled period of general decline until a new shaman was found in the 1950s.
The equipment of an Evenk shaman includes a costume, a headdress ( derboki ) and a frame drum with mallets. Like the drum membrane, the costume represents a microcosmic image of the world and offers a place to live for the shaman's helpful spirit. The costume depicts a Manchurian wapiti ( Cervus elaphus xanthopygus , Evenkish kumaka ). The power and magical abilities of this mighty stag are said to pass into the shaman when he puts on the robe. Here, too, there is an intense relationship between the shaman, his community and his drum. The tree, from whose wood the frame was made, and the animal, whose fur the membrane provided, live and work in the drum according to North Asian ideas. The monotonous drum beats and singing exert a hypnotic influence on the patient during the healing process, while the shaman himself fell into a trance. The shaman sessions lasted several hours and often ended with the main actor feeling weak. The last shaman of the Evenks died in 1998, a successor is not in sight due to the cultural decline and the progressive Sinization of the Evenks.
The Eskimos , who live in the Arctic Circle over long distances from the extreme northeast of Siberia via Alaska and Canada to Greenland , share a common language family , culture and traditional religion. Its circular frame drum qilaat or qila has as a characteristic feature a short handle that protrudes from the frame on one side. These handle drums were used not only for shamanism but also in light music to accompany songs and dances. In Greenland, in addition to the drum songs inngerutit, the “drum controversy ” ( ivertut pisii ) is carried out with them , in which two opponents, accompanied by drums, throw each other at the head. The frame drum is - apart from the rarer rattles - the only traditional musical instrument of otherwise purely vocal Eskimo music. Their diameter in Canada can be up to one meter, in other regions it is smaller. The Yupik in Alaska cover frame drums with the skin of a marine mammal . The drum is usually held up with the left hand and struck on the frame with a mallet in the right hand.
The Naukan shamans at the northeastern tip of Siberia used to hit their frame drums with a mallet on the frame. The handle was made from the tusk of a walrus or a reindeer antler. The thin and almost transparent stomach skin of the walrus was used as the membrane. Eskimo drums were rare, and when they were, then only painted with insignificant characters. The only exception are the Chugachmiut shamans in southern Alaska ( Chugach Mountains ), who decorated all eardrums, while in some rituals they exchanged the drums for rattles.
Because of its simultaneous use in entertaining and ceremonial music, the Eskimo drum did not have the same sacred meaning as it did with the Sami or in North Asia. Therefore, the corresponding purity and protection laws were missing. The Danish ethnologist Erik Holtved (1899–1981) contributed significantly to the historical research of the Eskimo drum. In his view, Eskimos' shamanism goes back to an older oracle cult. The Swedish religious scholar Åke Hultkrantz contradicts this when he states that the name for the drum ( qila ) does not have to be taken from the oracle, but can generally stand for a magical context. The shamanism of the Eskimos generally follows the North Asian tradition, but in a weakened form.
The Yupik shaman in Alaska was a respected, respected, and usually wealthy member of society. He was responsible for the healing of the mentally and physically sick, for which he used herbal medicine in addition to his magical powers. In addition to all sorts of magic tricks that he performed in the meeting house, his most important task was that of a mediator between the hunters and the hunting spirits. He made contact with them while singing and drumming songs he had composed himself. In a state of trance, he went on a journey into the world beyond. At large festive events he performed songs composed for the occasion, which his helpers seated around him accompanied vocally.
Up until the beginning of the 20th century, each Patri- Clan of the Naukan of Northeast Siberia had the help of its own shaman, who had a great influence in regulating social matters. The most powerful shaman belonged to the clan of the village elder. He was responsible for carrying out all religious ceremonies and without his blessing no new house could be built. For a healing ceremony, the shaman came into contact with the spirits, whom he invited into the patient's body in order to eliminate the illness with them. The basis for the treatment of the disease is the imaginary relationship to a symbolic act, which in this case consists of the shaman moving a drumstick over the patient towards the front door ( yaranga ). In this direction the disease should go away. The shaman determined the cause of the illness from the reaction of the sick person, who himself became an oracle. The shaman tied a string around his head and attached a drumstick to the free end. The shaman held this under the patient's head while he asked him questions. Lifting the head slightly meant approval, if the head was heavier, this was considered a negative. The mallet also protected the house from evil spirits.
In Greenland, shamanistic practices could still be researched at the end of the 19th century in the area of Tasiilaq on the east coast, which, unlike the west coast, had not come into contact with Christianity until then. In 1884, the Danish researcher Gustav Frederik Holm was the first foreigner to land there and spend a winter in a fur boat ( umiaq ) rowed by Inuit women. His descriptions encompass the culture including the rich tradition of faith, music and the work of the shamans - before the opening of the first mission station a decade later. The tasks of the shaman ( angakkoq ) included healing the sick, spells to ward off bad weather and spells for a good hunt with the help of magic spells ( serratit ). The solo performed shamanic ritual song ( angakkup inngerutaa ) had already disappeared around 1905. Fearful of punishment from the missionaries who rigorously prohibited all pagan customs, the Inuit had also stopped singing drum songs.
The further south from the Arctic Circle, the less often shamans use frame drums. The Innu in the Canadian region of Labrador use a frame drum as an oracle before the hunt and, like seeds, place a small object (pointer) on the drum. The game should be found in the direction of the pointer jumping over the membrane. Shamans ("medicine men") of the Indians on the northwest coast beat frame drums covered with deer skin, the magical power of which is increased by rattles attached inside. The most pronounced form of shamanism on the northwest coast is believed to be practiced by the Tlingit . The Tlingit shaman can make use of several helper spirits. By putting on the mask of a certain spirit, he becomes possessed by that same spirit and his words are valid as those of the spirit for so long. Each mask represents an individual spirit. He conjures up one of the ghosts by drumming, singing and dancing around a fire. He gets more and more into a trance and shows increasingly signs of obsession through rolled eyes until he suddenly stops, stares at his drum and lets out a loud scream. What follows is the spirit that now speaks to those present. Like the frame drums, the phenomenon of obsession to the south also disappears.
At the Omaha on the Missouri River , healers beat small drums with a membrane stretched over an iron barrel hoop. Otherwise, wooden rattles are more often used for this purpose in North America, and the transition from a drum with rattle bodies to a shamanic rattle is fluid in every respect. For some North American Indians, kettle drums and water drums are not used exclusively by shamans in ritual music.
Direct references to the ideas in North Asia can only rarely be identified: In a mystical experience, a shaman from the coastal Salish hears the beating of a drum, which he follows into the deep forest, where he comes to a trembling conifer. In this magical place he receives the power to heal, his guardian spirit and, if he visits again, the ability to influence other people. This gives the same relationship between drum and sacred tree as in North Asia. An initiation ritual, in which a wooden pole is inserted into a hollowed-out tree trunk, is obviously based on the Asian idea of a world tree.
The Mapuche on the southwest coast of South America represent an astonishing exception for this continent, because they practice a shamanism that has great similarities with the North Asian ideas, only that here usually a woman or a male transvestite in women's clothes possesses the supposedly magical powers that one another in the art of speaking with your stomach and doing magic with your hands. While the old culture in northern Chile has receded with Christianization and the adoption of European musical styles, the Mapuche in the south have retained part of their pre-colonial tradition in their struggle for independence.
The drum used for shamanic rituals is the kultrún ( kultrum, cultrum ), a small, flat kettle drum made of wood, covered with dog or horse skin and struck with a wooden mallet. The boiler drum corresponds functionally to the Siberian frame drums. It is mentioned in the earliest reports of the Spanish conquistadors from the second half of the 16th century, consequently, like the natural trutruka, it already existed in pre-colonial times. One possible reason for some similar shamanic practices that existed over the great distance is seen in an old overland connection that led from North America along the Pacific coast to the south to Chile. Nothing is known about the age and origin of the drum in prehistoric times. It occurs similarly elsewhere in South America.
Ancient Indian cosmogonic ideas such as the world mountain , the creation myth of the whirling of the milk ocean or the eagle sitting in the top of the world tree ( Garuda in India ) have counterparts north of the Himalayas, especially in the areas in which the Buddhism spread from India is superimposed on the indigenous myths Has. In Tibet , Buddhism, which came into the country around the 7th century, was mixed with the religion of Bon , which is permeated with magical elements and whose shamanistic traditions have largely been preserved in Tibetan Buddhism . At that time, Bon was a state religion with its own priestly class and shamans who were responsible for the victims. In some cases it is difficult to determine whether magical practices are of Indian or Tibetan origin; in any case, Tibetan shamanism has moved far away from the North Asian forms.
What remains of the North Asian tradition is the shaman's main task, the mystical flight to the otherworldly, which is carried out in a trance with the help of drums and singing. A possibly older ritual are the rituals of possession, in which the shaman uses drum music to invite a helpful spirit into his body. In addition to this actively induced obsession, there is often unwanted seizure of possession by demons in Tibet, which explains physical and mental illnesses. According to the Buddhist understanding, the fact that a demon can penetrate a body and take control is related to the negative karma that the person concerned has accumulated.
As in Central and North Asia in general, beating the drum is the usual technique in Tibetan Bon, with which the shaman immerses himself in religious ecstasy. As everywhere, the frame drum is seen as a mount with which the shaman moves in the threefold world, which consists of the three levels of heaven (inhabited by gods, dragons, great shamans), earth (people, shamans, animals, spirits) and the underworld ( Water snake spirits , Tibetan klu'i-gdon, underworld spirits ). The (Central Asian) world tree stands at the top of the (Indian) world mountain and connects the three world levels. According to the North Asian conception, the drum enables the shaman to ascend or descend to the two otherworldly worlds because it was made from a piece of wood from the world tree and thus consists of the same mythical connection between the world tree, drum and shaman. In the branches of the World Tree, souls in the form of birds sit waiting to be reborn.
The frame drum used in ritual Tibetan music is a double-skinned circular stem drum ( chos-rNga ) with a long handle. This type of drum corresponds to the dhyangro used by shamans in Eastern Nepal for healing ceremonies . The Bon shaman, on the other hand, uses a single-headed frame drum without a stem, which is called Bon po'i rNga ("drum of bon po") or phyed rNga ("half drum"). The shaman's drum can also have nine iron rings to symbolize the nine layers of heaven (which the shaman traverses on his ascent). It is also called rNga yu ; its handle is called yu ba ("tree of life") and the wooden frame rNga shing ("drum tree "). The shamanic origin is clear in all names. In many rituals, the frame drum is replaced by the hourglass drum ( damaru ) made from two skull shells .
According to identical words, drum stands for dragon and thunder and mirror for lightning. When the shaman holds a drum and a mirror in his hands, he has the ability to reach the sky and influence the weather. Another linguistic connection in the earliest Tibetan manuscripts is between "singing a song" and "catching a snake spirit". For weathermakers, the relationship between trumpet (generally dung ), snail horn ( dung-kar ), water and rain is also important.
Like the Sami, the Tibetans know a drum oracle. Grain grains are distributed on a drum membrane divided into segments. Then the shaman hits a second drum close by and observes the movement of the grains caused by vibration.
In the Min Shan Mountains, a remote area east of the Tibetan highlands in Sichuan Province , the Qiang ethnic minority has its own shamanic tradition. The name Qiang (composed of the characters for “sheep” and “man”) for a people who have a distant relationship to today's inhabitants of the mountain region is found for the first time on oracle bones from the 2nd millennium BC. The equipment of a Qiang shaman (Chinese wu , here shüpi ), as he still uses it today, includes a costume whose monkey skin hat ( jar ta ), decorated with cowries , metal parts and bones, attracts special attention as a headdress . The monkey is believed to come from a sacred forest, it is the purest of all animals and capable of defeating demons. According to Tibetan mythology, monkeys and demons are antagonists. The monkey supported the Qiang's first shaman and is their guardian spirit to this day. The shüpi gets the ability to fly through the air from his three main tools: a necklace with black glass beads, a chain with a bird's bones and a drum.
Two types of Qiang drums can be distinguished according to their shape: The single-headed frame drum ( bu, bo, mbo, rbu, i-bou or rue ) is struck with a stick and is larger than the double-headed rattle drum ( ji wu ) that is attached to it When the handle is inserted into the body, the wrist is moved in a circle so that the two hammer stones attached to strings generate a rattle sound. A single-skin bu covered with cow skin serves to drive away ghosts and demons; if the drum is covered with sheep or goat skin, contact with gods can be made with it. The wooden handle located in the middle on the underside is not connected directly to the frame, as is the case with the North Asian frame drums, but only extends at both ends to an inner ring made of wood or iron, which is clamped into the frame with a zigzag lacing. This allows the drum to vibrate more freely and produces a fuller tone. The membrane of the bu is usually not decorated with characters. The single-headed drum is used, among other things, to heal the sick, when the patient is possessed by malevolent spirits, to capture lost free souls, to obtain the blessing of the higher powers for the bride and groom at a wedding and at funeral rites. The shaman experiences the future through the drum and plays it as a rhythm instrument in religious chants and ecstatic dances. The double ji wu is a variant of the damaru used in the Himalayas and the dtâ-bbêr-lèr (pronounced "damberlor") of the Naxi , which is derived from this Sanskrit word . A person can use one of the drums and the cymbal qi ni (or shi tsa ila ) play. Again in this combination, according to the Tibetan myth, the drum stands for thunder and the cymbal for lightning. The metal cymbal shines like a mirror with which the demons can be caught.
Chinese legends and folk tales contain numerous cases of "magical flights" which show that even in ancient China the idea of a traveling soul that could fly like a bird was a symbol of ecstasy. Poets and philosophers combined the heroes' journeys into heaven with plastic descriptions of the heavenly world and the cosmic order as a whole. The mythical original emperor Shun (according to the legend in the 23rd century BC, lived 100 years) was the first to fly, for later rulers this ability became a sign of perfection as well as their lifespan of exactly 100 years. His successor Yu the Great is said to have taken dance steps that are characteristic of a shaman who falls into a trance. Shamanism, bird flight, which, according to a minister, was carried out in the 5th century BC. Only the spiritual concentration required, and such supernatural things later entered Taoism .
Some rulers of the Shang dynasty (16th – 11th centuries BC) have the character wu for "shaman" in their name, although it is unclear whether they performed as drumming shamans themselves or whether there was an ancestor of this professional group in their family gave. The old Chinese shamanic beliefs are summarized as Wuism . South of the Yangtze River there were shamans who were referred to as ling wu . The old form of the Chinese character ling is made up of the characters rain and mouth and means "shouting for rain". In connection with wu , the meaning arises “as a shaman to summon the rain”. In the word for the drum struck at an earth sacrifice, ling ku , there is also the symbol ling , which is generally used for a magical context (“magical”) . Drums and the huang dance were part of rainmaking ceremonies and other sacrificial rituals in China, as they have been handed down from pre-Christian times. The rain spells were performed by female shamans ( wu ), male wu were considered to be equally powerful necromancers who drove away the demons living in nature through mask dances and drums.
With the emergence of the Xiongnu , nomadic tribes from Central Asia, who in Chinese sources around the middle of the 3rd century BC First mentioned, shamanistic practices spread from Siberia. The equipment of the shamans in the Han dynasty included a costume, bell belt, headdress and the single-headed frame drum dangu . According to the Wei-shu (a "treatise on ceremonies"), Emperor T'ai-tsu of the Northern Wei Dynasty (385-535) had shamans perform with drums in front of 40 temple shrines.
Shamanic practices in China have been preserved within the Taoist folk religion. Since it was banned during the Cultural Revolution , religious worship at restored temples and ancestral shrines has again become a part of cultural life. A focal point of the reawakened ancestor worship, of magical healers, fortune tellers and shamans who come into contact with the spirit world, is the southeast Chinese province of Guangdong . Mostly women visit the temples or take the help of a shaman.
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