Across China on Foot eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Across China on Foot.

“Hill worship is another important feature of Nou-su religious life.  Most important houses are built at the foot of a hill and sacrifice is regularly offered on the hill-side in the fourth month of each year.  The Pehmo determines which is the most propitious day, and the Tumuh and his people proceed to the appointed spot.  A limestone rock with an old tree trunk near is chosen as an altar, and a sheep and pig are brought forward by the Tumuh.  The Pehmo, having adjusted his clothes, sits cross-legged before the altar, and begins intoning his incantations in a low muttering voice.  The sacrifice is then slain, and the blood poured beneath the altar, and a handful of rice and a lump of salt are placed beneath the stone.  Some person then gathers a bundle of green grass, and the Pehmo, having finished intoning, the altar is covered, and all return to the house.  The Pehmo then twists the grass into a length of rope, which he hangs over the doorway of the house.  Out of a piece of willow a small arrow is made, and a bow similar in size is cut out of a peach tree.  These are placed on the doorposts.  On a piece of soft white wood a figure of a man is roughly carved, and this, with two sticks of any soft wood placed cross-wise, is fastened to the rope hanging over the doorway, on each side of which two small sticks are placed.  The Pehmo then proceeds with his incantation, muttering:  ’From now, henceforth and for ever will the evil spirits keep away from this house.’

“Most Nou-su at the present time observe the New Year festival on the same date and with the same customs as the Chinese.  Formerly this was not so, and even now in the remoter districts New Year’s day is observed on the first day of the tenth month of the Chinese year.  A pig and sheep are killed and cleaned, and hung in the house for three days.  They are then taken down, cut up and cooked.  The family sit on buckwheat straw in the middle of the chief room of the house.  The head of the house invites the others to drink wine, and the feasting begins.  Presently one will start singing, and all join in this song:  ’How firm is this house of mine.  Throughout the year its hearth fire has not ceased to burn, My food corn is abundant, I have silver and also cash, My cattle have increased to herds, My horses and mules have all white foreheads K’o K’o Ha Ha Ha Ha K’o K’o, My sons are filial, My wife is virtuous, In the midst of flesh and wine we sleep, Our happiness reaches unto heaven, Truly glorious is this glad New Year.’  A scene of wild indulgence then frequently follows.

“The Nou-su possess a written language.  Their books were originally made of sheepskin, but paper is now used.  The art of printing was unknown, and many books are said to have been lost.  The books are illustrated, but the drawings are extremely crude."[T]


[Footnote R:  Yuen-nan, The Link between India, and the Yangtze, by Major H.R.  Davies, Cambridge University Press.]

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Across China on Foot from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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