Изображения страниц
PDF

animal; when, if he is killed, the family of the deceased give a feast of his flesh, in revenge of his having killed their relation.

“ The Kookies have but one wife: they may, however, keep as many concubines as they please. Adultery may be punished with instant death by either of the injured parties, if the guilty are caught by them in the fact; it may otherwise be compromised by a fine of gyals, as the chief may determine. The frailty of a concubine is always compromised in this way, without disgrace to the parties. Fornication is punished in no other manner than by obliging the parties to marry, unless the man may have used violence, in which case he is punished, generally with death, either by the chief, or by the relations of the injured female. Marriage is never consummated among them before the age of puberty. When a young man has fixed his affections upon a young woman, either of his own or of some neighbouring parah, his father visits her father, and demands her in marriage for his son. Her father on this inquires what are the merits of the young man to entitle him to her favour, and how many he can afford to entertain at the wedding feast; to which the father of the young man replies, that his son is a brave warrior, a good hunter, and an expert thiq“; for that he can produce so many heads of. the enemies he has slain, and of the game he has killed; that in his house are such and such stolen goods, and that he can feast so many (mentioning the number) at his marriage.

“ When any person dies in a para/z, the corpse is conveyed to the relations of the deceased and deposited under a shed erected for the purpose at some distance from the dwelling-house. While it remains there it is carefully guarded, day and night, from the depredations of dogs and birds by some one of the family; and a regular supply of food and drink is daily brought and laid before it. Should more than one casualty occur in a family, the same ceremony is observed with respect to each corpse ; and at whatever time of the year persons may happen to die in the parah, all the bodies must be kept in this manner until the 11th of April, called by the Bengalees Beessoo. On that day all the relations of the deceased assemble and convey their remains from the sheds to different funeral piles prepared for them on a particular spot without the parah, where they are burnt; as are also the several sheds under which the bodies had lain from the period of their decease.

“ The Kookies have an idea of a future state, where they are rewarded or punished according to their merits in this world. They conceive that nothing is more pleasing to the deity, or more certainly ensures future happiness, than destroying a number of their enemies. The Supreme Being they conceive to be omnipotent, and the creator of the world and all that it contains. The term in their language for the Supreme Being is Khogein Pootteeang. They also worship an inferior deity, under the name of Sheem Sauk, to whom they address their prayers, as a mediator with the Supreme Being, and as more immediately interested in the concerns of individuals. To the Supreme Being they offer in sacrifice a gyal, as being their most valued animal ; while to Sheem Sauk they sacrifice a goat only. In every parah they have a rudely formed figure of wood, of the human shape, representing Sheem Sauk; it is generally placed under a tree, and to it they offer up their prayers before they set out on any excursion or enterprise, as the deity that controls and directs their actions and destiny. Whenever, therefore, they return successful, whether from the chase or the attack of an enemy, they religiously place before Sheem Sauk all the heads of the slain, or of their game killed, as expressive of their devotion, and to record their exploits. Each warrior has his own particular pile of heads, and according to the number it consists of, his character as a hunter and warrior is established in the tribe. These piles are sacred, and no man dares attempt to filch away his neighbour’s fame, by stealing from them to add to his own. They likewise worship the moon, as conceiving it to influence their fortunes in some degree. And in every house there is a particular post consecrated to the deity, before which they always place a certain portion of whatever food they are about to eat.

“ In the month of January they have a solemn sacrifice and festival in honour of the deity, when the inhabitants of several neighbouring parahs (if on friendly terms) often unite, and kill gyals and all kinds of animals, on which they feast, and dance and drink together for several days. They have no professed ministers of religion, but each adores the deity in such manner as he thinks proper. They have no emblem, as of Sheem Sauk, to represent the Supreme Being.” *

THE SINTIPHOS.

These people inhabit the eastern districts of Asam. According to their own traditions “ they descended from heaven; but the plain truth seems to be, that about four or five centuries ago they migrated from a mountainous region on the borders of China, gradually advanced to the mountains skirting Asam, and within the last forty years established themselves on the low lands which they at present occupy. They have little system of law or government, except being divided into tribes under different petty chiefs or gaums, equal in rank and authority. Their religion is that of Buddha, but intermixed with a variety of superstitious practices, the relics, probably, of their original creed. They offer a sort of worship to the spirits of those who die in battle, and to the elements and clouds. The Sintiphos confine themselves chiefly to the practice of arms, and leave domestic occupations and the cultivation of the soil to their Asamese slaves, of whom they annually capture great numbers, to the gradual depopulation of the country.”T

The Asamese, in like manner, make pretensions to a celestial origin, affirming that two brothers, Khunlong and Khunlai, descended from heaven by an iron ladder, and founded the present race of inhabitants of Asam. This tradition has, no doubt, the same foundation as the foregoing.

THE KIAYNS.

The Kiayns of Arracan inhabit the mountains of Youmah, which separate this country from Ava. These people upon the skirts of the mountains are subject to the Burmans ; but, in the less accessible districts, have preserved their independence. According to their own traditions, they are the

* Asiatic Researches. 1~ Calcutta Government Gazette. ~- !

[ocr errors]

aboriginal inhabitants of the Burma country, and were expelled by the present race, who were of a Tartar stock. They differ very widely in their habits and appearance from the Burmese, being inferior in form and features to their neighbours; they have no chief, but, in disputes amongst themselves, appeal to a priest, who is reputed to be a descendant from the supreme pontiff: he is termed Passine, and acts as prophet, physician, and legislator. They have no written records, and a very rude form of faith; their chief homage being addressed to a particular tree, under which, at stated periods, they assemble and sacrifice cattle, on which they subsequently feast. Another object of adoration is the aerolite, for which, after a thunder-storm, they make diligent search, and which, when found, they deliver to the priest; by whom it is preserved as an infallible remedy for every disease. Amongst their peculiar notions is that of esteeming merit by animal appetite, and he is the man of most virtue who is the amplest feeder, and drinks to most excess.‘

' Calcutta Government Gazette.

CHAPTER III.

Japan.—Bugis and Macassers.—The Days of Borneo.—Bali.—Java.—Sumatra, the Bataks or Cannibals.—Bedas of Ceylon.—Cochin and Tonquin Chinese.—The Shaman Religion.

JAPAN.

I HAVE in other places in this work observed that the deities of the Hindu pantheon are, or have been, objects of adoration among the islands of the eastern Archipelago, and the countries on the shores of the China sea. In the island of Bali‘ the Brahminical religion is still that of the country; and is yet preserved among the mountaineers of Tong’garT in Java. Elsewhere in this wide extent of country it has yielded to the doctrines of Mahomet and Buddha. That it did, however, generally prevail in Java, and to a certain (now unknown) extent in Sumatra, Tonquin China, part of China, and other countries on the eastern confines of Asia there can scarcely be a doubt; and if we may be allowed to place any faith in the descriptions and representations of idols alleged, by early writers on Japan, to have been worshipped in that empire, we may conclude that the Brahminical images, at least, were not unknown, either blended in the worship with those of the Sintu or ancient religion, or introduced anterior to, or with that of Buddha, and the whole subsequently mixed up with each other.

Passing over, for the present, the earlier accounts of Japan, among which we shall find the narratives of the Dutch ambassadors to the Emperor, between 1600 and 1650, and that of Don Rodrigo de Vivero y Velasco, the governor-general of the Philippine Islands, who was wrecked upon the coast, and traversed the country of Japan about the year 1611, we shall arrive at the next authority, Koempfer, the most esteemed for accuracy among

* See Bali. 1~ See Java.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »