Bodies, artifacts and spirits: transforming relations in Yolngu initiation and funeral rituals

Abstract : In north-east Arnhem Land, at the two extremes of the male ritual life-cycle, during the first initiation ceremony and at death, the bodies of the boys and of the deceased undergo a similar process of transfiguration. Adorned with elaborate clan paintings and feather ornaments, while singing and dancing proceeds on the public ceremonial ground, they are made to resemble the groups’ most sacred objects seen to instantiate the powers of various ancestral beings. This presentation will be concerned with the material logics behind this transfiguration process which, by making people into ancestors, transforms the relations between individual and groups, between humans and non-human beings, and between the living and the spirits of the dead. I will also consider some of the changes that have occurred with the use of new technologies in memorializing the spirits of the dead and in expressing kinship and genealogical recall.
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Conference papers
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01280314
Contributor : Jessica de Largy Healy <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 29, 2016 - 12:18:57 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 1:42:32 AM

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Jessica de Largy Healy. Bodies, artifacts and spirits: transforming relations in Yolngu initiation and funeral rituals. Europe and the Pacific, European Society for Oceanists, Jun 2015, Bruxelles, Belgium. ⟨hal-01280314⟩

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