By Robert Hertz
First released in English 1960.
The old price of Hertz's writings is they are a consultant instance of the end result of 2 centuries of improvement of sociological suggestion in France, from Montesquieu to Durkheim and his scholars. within the intervening years considering that booklet, that improvement has grown into the systematic comparative learn of primitive associations, in accordance with an outstanding physique of ethnographic evidence from world wide: in impact social anthropology.
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Extra resources for Death and the right hand
These relatives, especially the widow, are compelled either daily or at fixed dates, to collect the liquid produced by the decomposition of the flesh, in order to smear it on to their own body or to mix it into their food. 13B Those who observe such practices justify them by alleging their affection for the deceased and the sorrow they feel at having lost him. 139 It is thus not simply a question of the spontaneous expression of an individual feeling but of a forced participation of certain survivors in the present condition of the deceased.
The body is then put in a coffin the cracks of which are sealed with a resinous substance. 4 The Dutch Government forbade this practice, at least in certain districts, for hygienic reasons; but quite different reasons besides that of foreign interference must have limited the extent of this kind of temporary burial. The living owe all kinds of care * ['Dayak' is not the name of any particular Bornean people. It derives from dayah, a word common to middle Borneo languages, meaning simply 'upriver'.
During its life on earth this soul, which was THE INTERMEDIARY PERIOD 47 already capable of leaving the body occasionally and of existing on its own, can live an independent life immediately after the death; moreover, it is precisely its departure which causes the body to disintegrate. However, the former solidarity persists; if the soul reaches the land of the dead at once, it nevertheless feels the effect of the body's condition. In several Melanesian islands it is believed that the soul remains weak for as long as the putrefaction lasts; after its arrival in the other world it stays still at first; the magical powers that it possesses are temporarily torpid.
Death and the right hand by Robert Hertz