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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Birds as Indicators of the Invisible World: Ethno-Ornithology of the Mbuti Hunter-Gatherers
Author:Ichikawa, MitsuoISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:African Study Monographs: Supplementary Issue
Issue:25
Pages:105-121
Language:English
Geographic term:Congo (Democratic Republic of)
Subjects:Pygmies
ethnozoology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Link:http://repository.kulib.kyoto-u.ac.jp/dspace/bitstream/2433/68390/1/ASM_S_25_105.pdf
Abstract:A total of 115 types of birds were observed during a three-month research period from October 1980 to January 1981 in the Ituri forest of the Congo basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire). The relationship of the birds with Mbuti hunter-gatherers is described and analysed. Vernacular names, practical uses, food and other behavioural restrictions, and folk belief concerning these birds were recorded. While the birds occupy an almost negligible position in the diet and subsistence activities of the Mbuti, they have important meanings in rituals, folk belief and other aspects of Mbuti spiritual life. As many as 46 species of bird are thought to mediate in some way between human society and the invisible world. These birds are believed to convey information on otherwise unaccountable causes of illness, the unpredictable distribution of animals and their behaviour in the forest, unexpected failure in hunting, the sudden visit of a guest, and other events which the Mbuti feel require some kind of explanation. App., bibliogr., sum.
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