M358
Hua Miao spirit worship.
The worship of Drao-bo.

Compiled by Wang Ming-ji.

Introduction.

Only Wang Ming-ji recorded this particular form of worship. Yang Yung-xin ignored it, possibly because it applies to only one clan and two sub-clans of the Miao and not to all groups. The name "drao-po" presumably means "seeing mountain", and it was given to a hill on which grew a sacred ash tree.

Having completed his narrative Wang Ming-ji evidently felt that more clarification was needed, and added the passage in brackets. Even so the narrative remains a little confused. The sequence of events seems to have been that while the two men were out hunting, one was taken ill on a hill covered in ash trees. Concluding that some local spirit had been offended, and having nothing else, they devoted their dog in turn to all the trees and rocks on the hill, but the sickness continued. Finally, they devoted it to an ash tree near the sick manís home, whereat he promptly recovered. So when they got home they sacrificed the dog to that tree. This story was told to explain why some Miao clans had the rather unusual custom of offering a dog in sacrifice. Only in times of extreme famine would dog flesh normally be eaten.

The dog sacrifice was practised chiefly by the Hmao-dla clan, but also by two sub-groups of the Hmao-dlu and Hmao-ndlw clans. Wang Ming-jiís second paragraph explains how this came about. A young woman, having married into the Hmao-dlu family, lost her husband, and remarried into the Hmao-dla family taking her infant son with her. When he was of age the child returned to the Hmao-dlu "to enquire" about the clan worship. This was presumably a request for some form of initiation, but was refused. Accordingly, despite his name, he was initiated into the dog sacrifices of the Hmao-dla, and a sub-group called "Hmao-dlu-dog" came into being. At a later date the story was repeated when a young widow named Hmao-ndlw remarried into the Hmao-dlu-dog clan. The child of her first marriage was initiated into the dog-rites of her second husband and so was formed a second sub-clan called "Hmao-ndlw-dog".

The Chinese equivalent of the Miao surname Hmao-dla is Zhu, of Hmao-dlu is Tao, of Hmao-ndlw is Zhang, and of Hmao-dang is Wang.

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