New book : Versets chamaniques. Le Livre du sacrifice à la terre (textes rituels de Chine)

Versets chamaniquesCertaines minorités chinoises disposent d’écritures particulières. Celle des Yi du Yunnan, rituelle et secrète, est l’apanage des Maîtres de la psalmodie, bimo. Ces chamanes disent voyager dans le cosmos et communiquer avec les esprits par la mise en voix de leurs manuscrits. Une relation de consubstantialité étant établie entre textes et bimo, chacun possède ses écrits en propre qui constituent des exemplaires uniques. C’est le cas des quarante textes rassemblés par bimo Li sous l’intitulé Livre du sacrifice à la terre. Ils se rapportent au culte territorial midje de son village, rituel annuel accompli au terme des récoltes d’automne pour célébrer les ancêtres fondateurs. La traduction, l’annotation et l’analyse de ces versets chamaniques permettent d’explorer l’univers rituel des Yi et d’accéder à leurs représentations du monde.

Cite this blog post
Aurélie Névot (2013, June 20). New book : Versets chamaniques. Le Livre du sacrifice à la terre (textes rituels de Chine). The Himalayas and beyond. Retrieved June 20, 2024, from

Aurélie Névot

Aurélie Névot is a social anthropologist at the CNRS (CR1). Since 1998 she has been focusing her research in China on the Yunnan Province where she is studying the religion of the Nipa (the Sani branch of the Yi nationality). This involves a form of shamanism that is based on the use of a secret writing reserved exclusively for shamans called bimo, or Masters of Psalmodia. This literate shamanism, which is only effective through the voicing of ritual texts, leads us to rethink the relationship between orality and writing. Apart from the writing process, A. Névot is interested in the “ritual machinery” (bloody sacrifices) of this literate shamanism and she highlights the idea that the ontology of the Nipa is a “trans-substantial” one. She is also developing an anthropology of transmission (master-disciple relationship, transmission between shamans and between mediums). Another aspect of her research concerns the interplay between religion and politics – the Chinese State has engaged in a process of standardising rituals and of secularising shamanic writing –, as well as the inculturation and acculturation phenomena introduced by Christianity – Catholicism has been established locally since the 19th century. The recent institutionalisation of literate shamanism prompts notably A. Névot to question the process of patrimonialisation as implemented in China since 2003 and monitored by UNESCO. A new research has emerged since the World Expo Shanghai 2010: by analyzing the national Pavilion, she is highlighting that this building is a ritual device which shows the new cosmological orientation of China regarding the international constellation. It imbricates and re-elaborates Chinese representations in order to edify a new era where China rules the world, i.e. it insures the universal Harmony. Key words: acculturation - bimo - bloody sacrifice - body - China - Chinese pavilion - Christianity - ethnopolitics - gouvernance - inculturation - ontology - patrimonialisation - shamanism - secret writing - Shanghai - transmission - trans-substantiation - Yi – Yunnan - World Expo Fieldwork: China – Yunnan - Shanghai

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