Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
This paper aims to discuss the distribution of bird augury in Southeast Asia and Oceania region from a viewpoint of historical ecology on the relationship between human beings and birds. Taryo Obayashi, a Japanese ethnologist and his colleagues, targeted 343 cultural elements and of 237ethnic populations of Southeast Asia and Oceania, and conducted statistical analysis to explore their co-relation. The study gave many suggestions on the correlation of ethnic groups and cultural elements in the areas. This paper focuses on the result on bird augury.
Bird augury is distributed from Southeast Asia island department to Oceania islands department, Madagascar where we can recognize Austronesian culture still remains, while it is also distributed in southern China and the Southeast Asia mainland which have no Austronesian culture at the present. Obayashi et al. carried out factor analysis on the cultural elements of 241 and they showed bird augury did not have a strong correlation with particular cultural elements, while the set of cultural elements with bird augury were corresponding to the populations of Assam, the Taiwan indigenous and the Philippines mountainous.
This paper discusses the diversity of bird augury and its formed process from the viewpoints of: 1) universality of bird augury in human cultural behaviours, 2)bird augury in cultural diffusion of Austronesian groups.