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Aufenanger, Henry.

The Passing Scene in North-East New Guinea.

A Documentation.
1972. 479 S. 35,00 Euro. 15,5 x 24 cm. Fb. 978-3-88345-327-9.
(Collectanea Instituti Anthropos Bd. 2)


The present publication 'The Passing Scene in New-Guinea' is about my activities during my anthropological expedition to North-East New-Guinea in 1963-1964. It is a collection of myths, rituals and other cultural elements which I recorded while I was slowly moving from one area to another. In New-Guinea there is a rapid transition from the old cultures to the all engulfing Western civilization. This culture change is taking place in such a fast and radical way that in a few years the whole cultural scenery will take on an absolutely different aspect.

The book consists of two Parts:

Part I. The Schouten Islands and The Prince Alexander Mountains.

Part II. The Torricelli Mountains.

There were several reasons for doing my research work in this part of New-Guinea:

First of all, I knew that I would be able to purchase good anthropological objects in this area for Nanzan University in Nagoya. That purpose was realized. The items I acquired there are now exhibited in the Nanzan Museum. Furthermore, I was eager to find out as much as possible about New-Guinea's Sun Cult and the prospects for research seemed to be especially promising in those areas. I am glad that I can now submit here the results of this research to the scientific world.

Another reason for choosing this region was the fact that only parts of it had been explored by anthropologists. Some areas had only been touched upon, while still others had never seen an anthropologist. The latter districts are mainly those of Kunjingini, Kaugia, Mui, etc. As a matter of fact, they had been opened to civilians only a few years ago and were still not regarded as being completely safe.

Another incentive made it easy for me to decide on this area: The missionaries there were my confreres and possessed the confidence of the people. This latter fact was of priceless help to me. In addition to all these reasons, I was able to use the Neo-Melanesian language there. Nearly all the men, women, and children spoke it fluently and since I have lived in New-Guinea for almost 20 years I speak Neo-Melanesian like my mother tongue. So the language barrier which so often proves to be formidable to fieldworkers in New-Guinea with its several hundred languages, was not so insurmountable for me. Besides Neo-Melanesian I can speak three native languages. I published studies on two of them: The Gende and the Nondugl language. (Cf. Aufenanger, l and m.)

Since this is a documentary publication, the contents are arranged according to places and areas. An alphabetical index will be a welcome help in locating subjects. The pronunciation of the native words is recorded as I heard them. Sometimes the same word was differently pronounced in the same village. X is pronounced like "ch" in German "Buch"; u and i, r and l, b and v are often interchanged. On account of the rapid cultural changes going on, many of the practices recorded are no longer performed, and that is the reason why I had to rely very often on people's statements. However as far as possible I made sure that my informants were reliable, mature persons. Often I had them demonstrate for me certain customs, which they themselves had seen or even felt on their own bodies, but which are now a thing of the past.

In order to make it easy also for non-anthropologists to understand the results of my expedition, I have purposely limited the scientific terms.



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Andere neue Titel aus dieser Schriftenreihe/Other new books from this series:

Charlot, John. A Kumulipo of Hawai'i.

Dedenbach-Salazar Sáenz, Sabine. La transmisión de conceptos cristianos a las lenguas amerindias.

Heinrich, Hanna; Grauer, Harald. Wege im Garten der Ethnologie/Caminos en el jardín de la etnología.

Marten, Michael; Neumann, Katja. Saints and Cultural Trans-/Mission.