By Gary H. Gossen
The oral culture of the Chamula humans in southern Mexico is wealthy and sundry in its humor, element, variety, imagery, and perception. Descendants of the traditional Maya, the Chamulas use language in a fashion that expresses their unique figuring out of the social and cosmic order to which they belong. The Sun/Christ deity presides over this universe. during this leading edge research in anthropology and folklore, Gary Gossen deals an excellent research of the cosmology, symbolism, and verbal habit of the Chamulas, established upon his systematic collections in their oral traditions in the framework in their personal people type scheme of language. now not strangely, the underlying constitution of Chamula different types of time and house additionally offers a massive key to knowing the fashion, constitution, and function in their folklore. Cosmology is therefore utilized in this ebook as a metalanguage for reporting and reading one other language, the reservoir of symbols and data in Chamula oral culture. Mr. Gossen's research runs the gamut from kid's improvised video games and songs via court docket language and oratory to the precise language for joking, gossip, sacred narrative, prayer and formality formulation. additionally, his description and research are augmented via greater than a hundred and eighty abstracts of narrative texts and several other unique Chamula drawings. there's a strong likelihood that this ebook might become considered as a vintage within the box of symbolic research of fantasy and oral culture. There are few, if any, released stories facing this sort of significant number of texts and helping ethnographic fabrics. -- Gary H. Gossen teaches anthropology on the collage of California, Santa Cruz.
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Additional resources for Chamulas in the World of the Sun: Time and Space in a Maya Oral Tradition
Between birth and baptism, a period varying from one month to two years, a child is called a monkey (mas) for he has no name. The monkey association with the unbaptized child is explained by the presence of monkeys on earth in the First Creation, before human culture in its correct form had appeared. The monkey people did asocial things, such as eating their own unnamed children at puberty. Hence, the giving of a name at baptism has considerable symbolic significance in bringing the child closer to the realm of social behavior.
The point of intersection creates an emotion-laden betwixt-and-between category, which often has both sacred and taboo qualities (see Douglas, 1966 ). The importance of the lowlands as a source of ritual goods may place it in this category. The picture is complemented by the fact that many Chamulas are economically dependent in many ways on the lowlands. The Primacy of Light It follows from the sun's primordial force in Chamula symbolism that light also represents the desirable and the good. This characteristic has precedent in the cosmogonic moment when the sun ascended into the sky, creating the categories of temporal and spatial order.
An oil painting of hell (a very dark one, which has never been cleaned), the cross of the dead Christ, and the baptistery, all of which are negative objects within the symbolic scheme, are also found in the most negative, female part of the church, the southwestern corner. The opposite, northeastern corner of the church is the most positive, masculine part of the church. This corner lies to the patron saint's immediate right. Lining the north and east walls are, first, images of Christ (the sun), and then, images of the major male saints.