- 1 This title is inspired by the work of the French author Louis-Ferdinand Céline D’un château l’autre(...)
- 2 St Matthew’s Gospel 9:17. In our exchange of letters, Raleigh Ferrell mentioned this quotation, and (...)
- 3 This research is part of on-going project on shamanism which I have pursued since 1983 from two per (...)
1Takamoɭi, an extraordinary aboriginal scholar, has played an unusual role during the transition of Nanwang Puyuma religion from traditional shamanism to contemporary forms.3 Taking advantage of a childhood education in Japanese, and perhaps inspired by observing Japanese scholars’ interest in aboriginal traditions, Takamoɭi set about transcribing Puyuma rituals in the Japanese katakana syllabary. After his conversion to Catholicism, Takamoɭi incorporated the traditional sacred vocabulary in translations he made for missionary priests, both to enhance the solemnity of his new faith and to preserve the revered traditional terms from being forgotten.
- 4 For more complete descriptions see Cauquelin (2004a, 2008).
- 5 The shamans’ activities are exhausting; their day may begin at breakfast time and continue far into (...)
2Ancestors are central to traditional Puyuma religious practices. There are two categories of ancestors, and two categories of practitioners are responsible for rites involving each category: female shamans for close ancestors, male officiants for remote ones.4 In 1983 some twelve shamans and four male officiants worked in Puyuma village (Chinese Nanwang), which is located on the outskirts of Taitung on the southeastern coast of Taiwan. By 2007 there were only two female shamans, but six male officiants.5
- 6 Some secondary households also had cult houses for rituals involving the individual household. The (...)
3Remote ancestors inhabit ancestral cult houses, karumaʔan. In Puyuma there were six ancestral cult houses belonging respectively to each of the founding households. In 2007 only the two main karumaʔan of each moiety retained their roles of regulators for the whole group, while the kunas household has kept its own sanctuary.6 The karumaʔan is a shrine dedicated to ambilineally traced ancestors. The male officiants perform there the rites dedicated to the distant ancestors who founded the successive villages. Thus it may be said that male officiants take care of vertical relationships.
- 7 Today these ancestral altars also serve semiotically to equate the Puyuma with their dominant Chine (...)
4Known close (recent) ancestors are manifested today in ancestral tablets on an altar in the central room of the dwelling. Between 1895 and 1945, Japanese colonial administrators wanted to “improve” the lives of the aboriginal peoples, and to achieve this they needed to eradicate “local superstitions”. During that time Puyuma families were required to install a shelf where they placed ancestral tablets transcribed in Japanese katakana.7 Today it is the women shamans and the families who are occupied with these ancestors, who are nearby and with whom we can talk, in order to maintain family harmony. The relationship between family members and their known direct ancestors is horizontal.
5Both male and female officiants use a ritual language, said to be incomprehensible to laymen, to address the ancestors. While the phonological and derivational processes are the same as in the everyday language, special words and the use of everyday words in unusual ways render the ritual language obscure. Form and rhythm help practitioners memorize the invocations, while the melodic element of the tonality, or assonances and alliterations, generate an acoustic cadence. Stylistic analysis of the ritual language shows clearly that each invocation involves a number of processes: systematic doublings, assonances, archaisms, and deliberate modification of the phonemes of common terms (Cauquelin 2004a, 2004b, 2006, 2008).
6Officiants must show their knowledge and their ability to handle this language, which only officiants have the right to employ. Female shamans are taught the invocations during their sleep by spirits; male officiants need only a personal commitment – a “gift” – to learn the ritual language.
7Christianization of the Nanwang Puyuma village began soon after World War II.
8All ethnic Puyuma villages have a Catholic and a Protestant Church, both housed in unassuming buildings. What strikes one on arrival in Nanwang is the division of the village between the two churches, which have followed the original dual structure of the village. The Protestant Church is built in the lower moiety and the Catholic Church in the upper moiety. The Catholic Church, a small building without a spire, can be found at the end of a lane. The Protestant Church, just as unobtrusive, is built on the road that leads to ɭikabung (Lichia), another Puyuma village.
9As soon as they were set up, the two parishes met a certain enthusiasm from the inhabitants. It is not possible to speak of rivalry between the two parishes but rather between these and the shamans.
- 8 Təmamataw Shetiang (“father of Shetiang”) is a teknonym. After the birth of their first child, Puyu (...)
10Households that gave up ancestral rituals after conversion suffered years of misfortune. All the members of the Tabələŋan household who converted to the Protestant faith destroyed their ancestral cult house. Three youths died, and the land allotted them by the Japanese administration in 1929 was claimed by the Kagi household. The second well-known example is the Pakaoyan household. The whole family is Protestant and has suffered serious problems. The shamans and bamboo diviners diagnosed the cause as being revenge by the abandoned ancestors who stayed in the ancestral cult house or the ancestral tablets of these families. The late father of Shetiang, a male ritual officiant from the Pasaraʔaɖ household, gave this explanation: “The shamans intercede with our spirit-ancestors. The gods of the churches are strangers, so how can they know what we need?”8
11The Catholic Missions Étrangères de Paris established missions in Taiwan in 1952. Convoys of missionaries, most of whom had been expelled from the People’s Republic of China, were sent to aboriginal villages. Father André Bareigts, in a lecture given in Hualien on 4 July 1989, said:
12Since the aim of the Société des Missions Étrangères is to found churches, thus conquering souls and bringing them to God, it has never encouraged its superiors to create services of an intellectual or scientific nature within the Society. However, the necessities of the ministry in various countries have led several members of the Society to write intellectual or scientific works.
- 9 See Photo 1. Baliwakəs is Takamoɭi’s father-in-law.
13Still, some religious texts were translated into Puyuma before the MEP missionaries arrived; at the beginning of the 1950s Father P. Veil, Société Missionnaire de Bethléem, translated the Agnus Dei (see below), and the Puyuma musician Baliwakəs wrote the music.9
tu-siri kan dəmaway
tu-siri kan dəmaway, na məɭaɭapus kana paməlian, kaɭaɭapusi-mi dian êa naniam paməlian, kalasabəsabi-mi la kananiam paməlian.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
tu-siri kan dəmaway, na məɭaɭapus kana rapian, kaɭaɭapusi-mi dian, kalabuwari-mi kananiam rapian.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us.
tu-siri kan dəmaway, na məɭaɭapus kana pam«lian, i punapunan kalabərayi-mi ɖa naniam kainanabayan i punapunan.
Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, grant us peace.
14In 2007, five of the Catholic parishes in Puyuma villages no longer had priests. The priest of Nanwang, a native of Kaʈipul, officiates in Mandarin Chinese. He needs a Puyuma language translator, although parishioners today are mostly young and speak Mandarin themselves.
- 10 As of 2007 the late pastor had not yet been replaced.
15Nanwang’s first Protestant Church was built in 1953. The late pastor, who died several years ago, belonged to the kunas household, and his predecessor was a Pakaoyan.10 Although Catholic parish priests often have been foreigners (Swiss or German), Protestant pastors for the past thirty years have been recruited from among the aborigines.
16The congregants of the Nanwang Protestant Church are all natives of Nanwang. In the Catholic Church, conversely, owing to the shortage of priests in neighbouring villages, there is often an eclectic mix of speakers of other Puyuma dialects at Sunday Mass, festivals and teaching sessions of the Bible.
- 11 An analogous compound construction is common in neighbouring Paiwan: ku-su-pavai-an “I-you-give-it” (...)
- 12 Among Protestants who maintained that the compound pronoun does not belong to Nanwang Puyuma are Gi (...)
- 13 Catholics who insisted the compound form belongs to Nanwang Puyuma included the late Inairan, 101 y (...)
17Minor differences in language usage occasionally distinguish Protestants and Catholics. At one point I questioned elderly Puyuma about the archaic, compound personal pronoun kunu- “I (do to) you,” as in ku-nu-beray-ay “I give you”; the usual form in Nanwang Puyuma is ku-beray-ay kanu.11 Protestants and unconverted Puyuma asserted unhesitatingly that this compound pronoun does not exist in Nanwang Puyuma, though they acknowledged its occurrence in other Puyuma dialects.12 Catholics, on the other hand, unanimously maintained that it exists in Nanwang Puyuma.13 Is it possible that the Catholics adopted it from other dialects on account of their frequent meetings, while the Protestants, who have maintained religious homogeneity, consider the construction to be a loan to their dialect?
- 14 The romanization used in 1992 does not clearly distinguish Puyuma phonemes. I would like to thank M (...)
18Takamoɭi, aged 73 in 2007, is a member of the taɭisiŋ household. He converted to Catholicism in the 1957, but remains strongly rooted in his culture (see Photos 3 and 4). In 1992, he accompanied shamans and officiants during their rituals, recording their procedures in a notebook he labeled “Past and present traditional beliefs of Nanwang Puyuma and Mount Peinan”, under his Chinese name Chen Kuang-rung (陈 光荣). He described the ritual procedures in Chinese, the Japanese katakana syllabary, and Latin characters, also drawing the arrangement of objects.14
19At that time, Takamoɭi came across the archaic terms used by the shamans. But did he know them before? His reply is not very revealing, although he had met some of them and the prosody through the sacred songs, paireraw.
20Takamoɭi was born in 1937, at the height of a troubled period in the Japanese occupation. In 1937, the huangming-hua (imperialization) campaign was launched, which was supposed to turn the Taiwanese Chinese and aborigines into “subjects of the Emperor” identical to the Japanese. The same year, the vernacular was banned in public places, including in the “state schools” where its use had hitherto been tolerated. The Taiwanese were forced to substitute Shintoism for ancestor worship.
21Takamoɭi received an elementary education in Japanese and Chinese. According to him, when he was a boy, he enjoyed the company of elderly people. He listened carefully, and memorised their stories. In adulthood, he questioned old people and recorded genealogies. He is a retired farmer, but continues to look after his orchards, and goes there almost every day by motorbike to keep an eye on the development of the fruit. Apparently, Takamoɭi has always got on well with Catholic priests, and naturally acted as interpreter during mass. He was also active in Catholic religious ceremonies in the village of Kaʈipul (cf. photo 2).
22Takamoɭi is an affable man. His knowledge is recognised both by villagers and by Taiwanese researchers, and his expertise is often solicited by the latter. “Go see Takamoɭi,” say the Puyuma when my questions concern an old cultural practice. He now belongs to the age-group of the Ancients – the Wise Men, na maʔiɖaŋ - na malaɖam. His knowledge of Japanese, the former occupier’s language, is obvious and is reflected by his field notes. For the past few years he has been helping with the translation of the Gospels directed by the present parish priest. The romanisation system he uses, originally devised by Catholic missionaries, is the one in common use today, which makes my own work much easier. But the question remains: what did Takamoɭi know about archaic terms before he noted down the officiants’ rituals?
23For many years he translated the priest’s sermons into Puyuma, a task he performed as a sort of surrogate priestly act. For this he not only adopted archaic terms, but also the form and rhythm of invocations recited by traditional officiants. He maintains that elderly people appreciate his translations because they remind them of their childhood. As the old people gradually disappeared, Takamoɭi abandoned his work, since “young Catholics did not understand my translations, my words were ‘remote’,” he says. He has now (2007) been replaced by a sixty year-old woman who uses ordinary, everyday words.
- 15 See Cauquelin (2008).
- 16 Recorded in November 2007.
24Here I will first present some short extracts from ritual texts of traditional practitioners,15 including certain doublets found in two prayers recited by Takamoɭi, which follow.16
- 17 The ancestral cult house, karumaʔan, is the term used to designate the Catholic Church, not the Pro (...)
8-64 (cf. Takamoɭi 3)
i punapunan i ɖənaɖənan.
Loc world of living people Loc a lot of mountains
in the world of human beings
20-11 (cf. Takamoɭi 4)
the ancestors’ cult house
24-19 (cf. Takamoɭi 6)
11-21 (cf. Takamoɭi 15)
mix together-enemy of choice-Coll mix together-person-Coll
(for) those who do not know and (for) those who know, the villagers,
13-87 (cf. Takamoɭi 16)
aw pu-ʔərə-ʔərəm pu-kasa-kasa
and CausMvt-Red-gather CausMvt-Red-put together
and (they) gather
13-121 (cf. Takamoɭi 17 and 18)
We are going to oil and comb
ɖa pi-auɭas ɖa pi-adial.
Ind.Obl CausLoc-world of dead shamans Ind.Obl CausLoc-*
the world where our ancestors live.
Prayers recited by Takamoɭi
- 18 Stands for the vital organs: miababak kana ʈaw, tu-murdudu, tu-rami, tu-biʈuka: “man’s interior, hi (...)
1. tua[y]-aw-ta, paʔiɖ-aw-ta
Arch-PF-1PINom beckon with the hand without words-PF-1PINom
2. k<in>a-s<al>abak-an, k<in>a-saigu[y]-an
Stat.NFin<Perf>Stat.NFin-inside<having the sound of>inside-LocNmz
3. i ɖənaɖənan, i punapunan
Loc Red-mountain Loc world of living people
in the world of human beings
4. kaɖi kaɭəgəɭan, kaɖi ka-rumaʔ-an
here Arch here genuine-house-genuine
here in the Church17
5. ɖa kararisiŋan, ka-inaba[y]-an
Ind.Obl Arch Stat.NFin-good-ObjNmz
6. ɖa ka-la-layu-an, ɖa ka-sa-sagar-an
Ind.Obl Stat.NFin-Red-happy-ObjNmz Ind.Obl Stat.NFin-Red-happy-ObjNmz
7. amaw puri-amaw-an18, Jesus Christos
then mix together-identical-Coll Jesus Christ
25We silently call on
In the universe,
Here in the (Catholic) Church,
The mercy, the peace,
Then be with Jesus Christ.
- 19 bəsəŋ means erect, lift, stand up, found in ritual context as well as: pabənəsəŋ, bənəsəŋsəŋ.
- 20 Both are unknown terms today, muanen is translated by « rot », muabiŋ by “change”, for the latter i (...)
8. s<al>abak-ku la, ma-laɖam-ku la
inside<having the sound of>inside-1S.Nom Asp Stat.NFin-know-1S.Nom Asp
9. ɖa kararisiŋan, ɖa ka-ba-buɭay-an
Ind.Obl Arch. Ind.Obl Stat.NFin-Red-beautiful-ObjNmz
10. ɖa d<in>əmdəm-an, ɖa p<in>i-raŋraŋ
Ind.Obl heart<Perf>heart-LocNmz Ind.Obl CausLoc<Perf>CausLoc-feeling
11. bənəsəŋ-səŋ-ku19 la, rə-tigi-tigir-ku la
stand up-Red-1S.Nom Asp *-Red-erect-1S.Nom Asp
12. amaw nanku ki-a-lima[n/y]-an, ki-a-saŋɖalan
then 1S.Gen get-Fut-trust-ObjNmz get-Fut-rely on
13. aɖi muanən, aɖi muabiŋ20
Neg Arch Neg Arch
14. amuna t<əm>alu-maʈa, t<«m>alu-naʔu
because use rightly<AF>use rightly-eye use rightly<AF>use rightly-see
15. ɖa muri-ʔala[y]-an, muri-ʈaw-an
Ind.Obl mix together-ennemy-Coll mix together-human being-Coll
16. pu-ʔərə-ʔərəm, pu-kasa-kasa
CausMvt-Red-gather CausMvt-Red-put together
17. mu-daʔus-a-ta, mu-garuʈ-a-ta
18. pi-auLas, pi-adial
CausLoc-world where the dead shamans stay CausLoc-*
the world where our ancestors live.
I interiorise, I know
The (hearty) feelings.
So, I raise myself
I rely on
(That) which does not rot, (that) which does not change
Because he opens the eyes,
Of the assembled
We are going to oil and comb
the world where our ancestors live.
26a. Systematic doublings: The grammatical form and the rhythm of these prayers are identical to those of invocations recited by shamans and traditional male officiants. The systematic doubling, combined with the omission of construction markers, ɖa, as in Verse 18, generates a rapid pronunciation. In these doubling constructions, the second term, if its actual meaning is known, does not bring any new information; its occurrence is conditioned by verbal prosody. For instance, in verse 3, i ɖənaɖənan, i punapunan, the doublings are treated as equivalents and translated as “the universe” though they do not have strictly identical meanings: i ɖənaɖənan is said to refer to “a lot of mountains”, while punapunan is “universe”. This pair is very frequent in the officiants invocations. In Verse 2 the parallel for salabak “the inside” is saigu “to know”, Takamoɭi translates by “to know”, simply because its pseudo-doublet is saigu, but it comes from sabak, “inside” which can be translated as the “Internal knowledges”. We encounter the same construction in Verse 8 where malaɖam “to know” is the pair of salabak, which translation is “what I know in my inside”. Verse 14: təmalumaʈa, təmalunaʔu: where “eyes” and “to look” are put into synonymy. In ritual context the parallel can be sometimes different təmalumaʈaʔ təmalusəʔər which stands for “eyes” and “to stare”.
27b. Assonances which facilitate memorization are combined with a trend in consonantal or vocalic alliterations: There is a tendancy to consonantic or vocalic alliteration. In Verse 3 i ɖənaɖənan, i punapunan; in Verse 15, muriʔalayan (<ʔala ‘enemy whose head may be cut off’) paired with muriʈawan (<ʈaw “person”); in Verse 4, kaɖi kaɭəgəɭan, parallels kaɖi karumaʔan. Those pseudo-synonyms are daily used in ritual context.
28c. Archaisms: In Verses 5 and 9, according to Takamoɭi and other informants, kararisiŋan comes from asiŋ, which is found in the pseudo doublets inside the ritual texts of the traditional practioners as: kan buɭay, kan asiŋ, translated by “the lady”. Although buɭay means “beautiful”, it is only in ritual context that it means “lady”. In these verses, the doublings are inaba and buɭay which means respectively “good” and “beautiful”, then here, it stands for “mercy” “peace” and not “lady” as in ritual context. Verse 1, tua[y]-aw-ta is given with paʔiɖ-aw-ta, neither Takamoɭi nor Ukak have been capable of using it differently except as: tu-tua[y]-aw, tu-paʔiɖ-aw, they both answer “it is an old term”
29d. Deliberate modification of the phonemes: Verse 4: kaɖi kaɭəgəɭan, kaɖi karumaʔan the first term remains a puzzle, but in Mantauran Rukai there is a term ɭəhəʔə “ritual” (Mt h < PR *g), could it be a distorted loan? In verse 12, we get kialima[n/yan, the informants say it comes from talima: “to trust, to be dependant”. Phonemes having been changed to create an esoteric language which is quite current in ritual texts.
30It is possible to trace formal relations between pairs or fixed dyadic sets within this ritual language, but some elements have only one or two specific pairings, i.e., Verses 3, 6, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18. Those doublets are very frequent in the ritual language. It may also be noted that Takamoɭi ends the second version with the same formula used by the women shamans (pi-auɭas, pi-adial), without construction markers, which may be translated as “the world where our ancestors live”. What a strange formula for a Catholic prayer!
31These rhymes belong to the invocations used by officiants of both sexes. Although I have never heard lines 9, 12, 13, I cannot confirm that they are not used by traditional practitioners. While I cannot say conclusively, it nevertheless is probably that Takamoɭi learnt them during his travels with the traditional officiants. Puyuma laymen do not know these parallel verses, and refuse to memorise them, since they belong to the ritual language of officiants and are used to intervene with the invisible world of the ancestors.
- 21 This term is used by the shamans with the meaning “very hot”, found in the pair: manusəraŋa, manuap (...)
32Takamoɭi also knows other old words such as seraŋ21 for “the sun”, kadaw in everyday speech; sulud for ɭauɖ “east”, dakir for ɖaya “west”, or təbur for timuɭ “north”, etc. These terms are very common in invocations, and according to old people, were in daily use during their childhood. Indeed, Muya (73 years old) and her husband Ukak (76) still use some of them in their everyday speech.
33Takamoɭi is not an officiant, since this function is incompatible with his membership in the Catholic Church. But he has taken an interest in his culture, in particular the language of his ancestors, so he has learnt the ritual language “from the outside”, by accompanying the two categories of officiants.
34Təmamataw Shetiang from the Pasaraʔaɖ household, on the other hand, was a well-known male officiant, in charge of the ancestral cult house of this founding household of the community. He often performed collective rituals, but also private ones in his sanctuary. He interceded with the ancestors in their own language. As an officiant, təmamataw Shetiang did not appreciate Takamoɭi, a Catholic, being asked by researchers to talk about the Puyuma culture from which he had distanced himself by converting. He always held Takamoɭi’s conversion against him. Personally, out of respect for təmamataw Shetiang, I did not often question Takamoɭi. But since təmamataw Shetiang’s death I regularly consult Takamoɭi, who quite obviously bears me no grudge about the past, and always receives me very kindly. Indeed, it was the Catholic Takamoɭi who spoke təmamataw Shetiang’s funeral homily. I think that təmamataw Shetiang, who was so deeply rooted in his culture, would have appreciated as an elegant gesture the posthumous words of one who had apparently distanced himself from it, but still was fascinated by traditional Puyuma culture.
35It is not by chance that Takamoɭi signs his name taɭisiŋ, the name of his household, rather than by his foreign given name, Takamoɭi. Apparently his Japanese upbringing, then his step forward to Christian texts, followed by his step backward towards the traditional texts, have enabled him to achieve the personal prestige and respect which he might not have achieved if he had remained rooted exclusively in the traditional society. By reclaiming the ancient words, he has affirmed both his position as “the one who knows”, and the sacredness of Catholicism.
36Unfortunately, Takamoɭi’s work and all his efforts seem wasted today, since the younger generation has lost interest in the past. Since the passing of the ancients, Takamoɭi is no longer the translator. Whereas with traditional officiants the patients let themselves be carried away by the rapid flow of the words, in Church the Catholics want to understand the priest’s message. Takamoɭi wanted to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary culture. The use of obsolete or half-forgotten words showed, for him and the old people, the respect for tradition. At the same time, he enhanced the dignity of the new religion, avoided banalising it, and perhaps asserted his own double expertise as an initiator in both old and new religions. Catholic maybe, but Puyuma for sure.
Photo 1 : The musician Baliwakəs from the Pakaoyan household (May 1984).
© J. Cauquelin
Photo 2 : Takamoɭi serving mass in 1984 in Kaʈipul village (May 1993).
© J. Cauquelin
Photo 3 : Takamoɭi making the monkey out of Piper betle leaves during the maŋayaw ceremonial cycle
(December 1989). © J. Cauquelin
Photo 4 : Takamoɭi wearing the hat of the Ancients (May 1984).
© J. Cauquelin