History of sickness and medical art 4: in preliterate society

 a shaman of Orochon in Northeast Asia 

< a shaman of Orochon in Northeast Asia >


We watch sickness and medicine of the preliterate society several times from now on.

From their simple life, the consciousness of the sickness which not to be affected by the civilization is seen.

This is helpful for understanding the medicine of ancient civilization.


The indigenous people of a remote place had been living like refusing civilization.

Many of them escaped the conqueror, or wanted the new world, and stayed at the remote place.

They did not necessarily preserve the primordial society that traced back to 10,000 years before.










Nomad of the south Sudan

< Nomad of the south Sudan    >


The sickness

How are the indigenous people in the world looking at the sickness?

Many people distinguished the ordinary sickness (cold, fatigue) and the sickness which an evil spirit caused, and requested a medicine man in the latter case.

They thought that spirits and devils, magic and black art caused the sickness.

When anybody was cursed, the people believed that it caused the sickness and death, even if it was a great distance, or when a foreign matter (animal) invaded the body too.

There are good and evil spirits, and if they offend a spirit, it will become an evil spirit.

The dead became the spirit and loitered around, and people feared to be possessed by an evil spirit.








American Indian    

< American Indian    >


The correspondence to a sick person changed by various ethnic groups.

In the American Indian, he was treated kindly.

Furthermore one who recovered serious sickness was revered as the owner of unusual power.

By an ethnic group, a disability person was murdered, and when the starvation visited their area, a suicide and a desertion were performed.

The madman (mental patient) was thought that an evil spirit clungs to person, and he was kept away, and was maltreated or was murdered.

The psychotic behavior was considered to have shaman’s qualification in Eskimos etc.





エスキモーなどでは、精神病的な行動はシャーマンの資格が   あると見なされた。

a mask of medicine man in Congo, this mask have a purpose of threatening an evil spirit.

< a mask of medicine man in Congo, this mask have a purpose of threatening an evil spirit.  >


Medicine man

Medicine man is shaman.

His main role prevented a disaster such as bad crops by a prayer and was to decide a schedule of the village by divination.

It is said that he had the ability that can communicate with spirits.

He be respected in a village, but may be murdered if he fail.

If a tribe is big, the specialty in charge was divided among the accident, and the sickness etc.

One using medicinal herb take part ordinary sickness, and he pray still at using medicinal herb.


Continue to the next time.

呪 医    











Categories: culture+society, history+evolution, <english language, <japanese language, Series: History of sickness and medical art | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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