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Title: Reading between cultures : social anthropology and the interpretation of Naxi (Na-khi) religious texts
Author: Pan, Anshi
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1996
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Part 1 (Chapters 1 to 5) focuses on the theoretical aspect of social anthropology and how the problems in the study of the Tibeto-Burman peoples and Naxi religious texts can best be approached. Chapters 1 to 2 are the discussion of the theories in social anthropology, its relation with history and the meanings of history. Comparison is discussed as the important aspect of social anthropology. The specificity of comparison in the study of Naxi religious texts is formulated. Chapters 3 to 5 on one level of comparison is some examination of the scholarship between social anthropology and the cultural elite tradition in China, as related to the study of the Tibeto-Burman peoples. On another level is a historical ethnographic survey of the Tibeto-Burman peoples and their relationship with the Han Chinese. The cases discussed are the kinship of the Naxi/Moso peoples and the Han Chinese in ideological terms, the cultural identities of the Naxi/Moso and the Tibeto-Burman peoples in the region. Part II (Chapter 6 to 8) focuses on the interpretation of Naxi religious texts. This covers four aspects in the texts: 1. The question of Naxi pictographs and the writing in the region. The nature of the variety of writing in the region with reference to the origin of Naxi pictographs (Chapter 6). 2. A discussion on the relation between Naxi religion and Tibetan Bon religion, through a comparison between the legendary spiritual leaders of the two religions, a brief history of Tibetan religion and 3. The authors of the texts identified through a stylistic comparison of the texts, the ritual practitioners, the dto-mba, the ritual activities and the dating of the texts discussed through the analysis of authorship and other sources (Chapter 7). 4. The question of translating the pictographic texts: how to read the texts, the nature of the pictographs, interpretation and comparison in the question of translation (Chapter 8). The main argument of the thesis is that Naxi religious texts are interpretable through anthropological-historical approaches and that textual comparison can enrich the scope of comparison in social anthropology. The specific problems to be solved are the dating of the texts, the ritual activities and the translation/interpretation of the contents of the texts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available