Kinship, Ethnicity and Landscape: The ‘bone (?u35)’ of the Pumi Speaking People in Yunnan, China
|Keywords:||普米族;骨;親屬;族群性;地景;本體論(Pumi;bone;kinship;ethnicity;landscape;ontology)||Issue Date:||Jun-2015||Start page/Pages:||91-156||Source:||國立臺灣大學考古人類學刊||Abstract:||
Through discussing the concept of “?u35” of the Pumi speaking people
living in Yongning Township of Ninglang Yi Autonomous County in Yunnan,
China, this paper illustrates how the mutual engagement of humans and their
physical surroundings contributes to the forming and understanding of “kinship”
relation, social grouping and ethnic identity of the local people in the Tibetan
borderlands. I introduce how Pumi people understand the relations between
houses in their local community with the idea of “?u35”, how individuals realize
the continuity of the house by accomplishing one’s life in the space of the
house with one’s ashes(?u35) buried in the mountains that exhibits the specific
identity of the house and its endurance, and how the ritual practices and
arrangement of the house and village space form the configuration and
understanding of the landscape that composed the context of this process.
Thus, I explain how the ‘bone’ concept in Pumi, the idiom of “?u35”, expresses
the relation and identity generated through the interaction and mutual
engagement between the reproductive gendered human bodies and the
durable physical surroundings people inhabit, and I argue that the concept of
“?u35” implies an identity and form of relations which build upon the meaningful
landscape loaded with human practices and past lives as its ontological basis.
I suggest that this relational and ontological form generated by the mutual
formation of human and physical surroundings may be shared by other native
peoples who use the concept of ‘bone’ to express the relation of their essential
social groupings in the Tibetan borderlands, and that this ontological form is the
basis of the interaction and mutual understanding between different peoples in
the region. Compared with the self-designated ethnic category of the Pumi
speaking people that represents an identity unified by the “?u35” and embodies
an ontology that assumes the continuity of social identity with the human body,
physical house and the surrounding landscape, the official category of “Pumi
Zu” rests upon a biological ontology with a spatial scheme assuming that the
formation of social relation is independent from the physical surroundings.
Therefore, I suggest that an ethnic name should not be seen as solely a name
for categorizing peoples, but rather as the reification of an ontological process
that implies specific ways of connecting human and physical surroundings and
through which social relations and identities are defined.
|Appears in Collections:||人類學系|
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