Encyclopedia of World Cultures Southeast and East Asia: by David Levinson

By David Levinson

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Extra info for Encyclopedia of World Cultures Southeast and East Asia: Soviet Union, China and Eastern Europe, Vol. 5

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6 million who inhabit the northern portion of the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. They are distinguished from their neighbors primarily by their adherence to the Muslim (Sunni) faith. Acehnese may be divided into two subgroups: the hill people (who are physiologically homogeneous proto-Malays) and the lowland coastal people (who are physiologically heterogeneous). The Acehnese language belongs to the Malay Subfamily of the Indonesian Branch of Austronesian and is most closely related to the Chami languages of Indochina; most Acehnese also speak Bahasa Indonesia.

Shamanism is not an exclusively male role. Sakhalin Ainu shamanism differs considerably from Hokkaid6 Ainu shamanism. Among the Sakhalin Ainu, with regard to the symbolic structure, the shamanistic ritual represents the process of cooking, a role assigned to women in Ainu society. Shamanism is highly valued among the Sakhalin Ainu, and highly regarded members of society of both sexes, including heads of settlements, may become shamans. Although shamans sometimes perform rites for divinations of various sorts and for miracles, most rites are performed to diagnose and cure illnesses.

Large animals such as bear, deer (in Hokkaid6), musk deer, and reindeer (in Sakhalin) were usually caught using individual techniques of hunting, although cooperation among individuals sometimes took place, especially among the Hokkaid6 Ainu. They used the bow and arrow, the set-trap bow, the spear, and various kinds of traps for hunting land mammals, often combining different methods. The hunting techniques of the Hokkaid6 Ainu were on the whole technologically more developed than those of other Ainu.

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