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BEDAS OF CEYLON.—COCHIN AND TONQUIN CHINESE. 369
confidence prove, at least, that some honesty exists in a country where swindling and robbery are carried to a great excess. They would consider themselves extremely criminal if they cheated a Beda, who from his way of living, can never impose upon them. Once a year the Bedas send two deputies with honey, and other little presents to the king. When they arrive at the gate of the palace, they send word to his majesty that his cousins wish to see him. They are immediately introduced. They then kneel, get up, and inquire of the king, rather familiarly, about his health. The king receives them well, takes their presents, gives them others, and orders that certain marks of respect be shewn them on their retiring from the palace. These Bedas are black, like all the Singalese.”“
COCHIN and TONQUIN CHINESE.
In explanation of figs. l to 5, in plate 39, it will be necessary to say a few words respecting the worship of these people. Some part of the Cochin Chinese pay their devotions to deceased ancestors ; others are worshippers of Buddha ; but they have also small temples dedicated to tutelary deities, in which they burn and let fly pieces of coloured and gilt paper. A similar practise prevails, as I have elsewhere observed, among the Japanese.
The Tonquin Chinese, according to Tavernier, worship, some of them Chacabout (or Buddha), others the celestial bodies, and others deities, evidently derived from the Hindu pantheon ; among which are three named Raumu, Brama, and Satyabana. In fig. 1, plate 39, we may recognise Rama; fig. 3, Siva with the trident; and fig. 4, Brahma: the other two are not so clear : perhaps fig. 2 may be Vishnu, and fig. 5 Durga.
Fig. 7 to 13, in the same plate, are from Burmese carvings and casts in my possession. Fig, 10 I imagine to be the wKinaro, a form half-human, half-bird, mentioned in number 59, page 211, and indistinctly shewn in one of the divisions of the foot of Buddha, fig. 4, plate 30.
* Asiatic Researches.
This is the ancient religion (if religion it can be termed) of the Tartar and some of the other Asiatic tribes: it may be more properly denominated a belief in sorcery, and a propitiation of evil demons by sacrifices, frantic motions and gestures, and intolerable noises, rather than a worship of any kind. They have neither altars nor idols; and the more noise a Sseman, or priest, makes, the more intimately connected he is thought to be with the devil.
“ The priests are men or women, married or single, and acquire their dignity easily enough. Whenever any individual wishes to be a Sseman, he pretends that the soul of a deceased priest has appeared to him in a dream, appointing him his successor. But previously to entering upon their business, they represent themselves for some time mad, assuming an alarmed and timid appearance. If the Ssemans are in function they wear a long robe of elk-skin, hung with small and large brass and iron bells, the weight of which is sometimes very considerable. Moreover, they carry staves, which are carved at the tops into the shape of horses’ heads also hung with bells. With the assistance of these staves they leap to an extraordinary height. The respect they enjoy among their countrymen depends on the skill they possess in deceiving them.
“ The followers of the Shaman religion have neither altars nor idols, but perform their sacrifices in a hut raised on an open space in a forest, or on a hill. There are no fixed periods for the performance of their ceremonies : births, marriages, and sickness are generally the occasions which call for them. The Sseman, or sometimes the donor, fixes upon the species, colour, and sex of the animal which is to be sacrificed. A horse, ox, sheep, or goat, is killed, its flesh eaten, and the skin and bones are suspended ona pole. Uncommon appearances in the atmosphere, or public calamities, call forth the most solemn sacrifices. Several persons having united for the purpose, they take a one year’s colt, three sheep, and a male goat to the place fixed upon. The Sseman enters into the hut, and begins the ceremony by reading and chanting certain words, in the latter part of which he is joined by the audience. This being done, he sprinkles on all sides of the hut, and over the fire, spirits and milk, then coming forward, he commands the animals to be slaughtered, which is done by their hearts being torn out. The skin is stripped off in the shape of a bag, the head and feet remaining on it, and left suspended on poles. Whilst the flesh, with the exception of a few pieces which are thrown into the fire, is consumed by the audience. During all this time the Sseman continues repeating and chanting various words, and sprinkling about spirits and milk, in which he is occasionally supported by the congregation, which is generally more or less numerous according to