Chapter

The Funeral of Zra Teri Kwada

Walter E. A. van Beek

in The Dancing Dead

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199858149
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199949489 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858149.003.0001

Series: Oxford Ritual Studies Series

The Funeral of Zra Teri Kwada

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The book starts with a specific case, as does each individual chapter. Here, the case is a funeral, describing in detail the highlight of the funeral ritual, viz. the moment the smith (a special category of people in Kapsiki/Higi culture) in the midst of a swirling crowd dances with the corpse on his shoulder, the “dancing dead.” Though not unique to Kapsiki/Higi culture—a few neighboring groups do it as well—this ritual with the dancing corpse provides the major themes for the book: the contrast between a rich symbolism in rites of passage and the privacy of the sacrificial rites of belonging, between the structured echelons of the village society and violent intervillage relations, all set inside a long history of threats of slave raiding and war.

Keywords: dance; smith; symbol; mourning; emotion

Chapter.  2451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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