Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Bearing the 'Bare Facts' of Ritual. A Critique Of Jonathan Z. Smith's Study of the Bear Ceremony Based On a Study of the Ainu Iyomante

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Numen

A few years ago, Benjamin Ray criticized Jonathan Z. Smith's study of the bear hunting ritual. In this article, I further examine and develop a criticism of Smith's theory of ritual. Since he presents the Ainu bear ceremony as the exemplar case and bases his theory of ritual on his interpretation of it, I review and examine the available ethnographies of the Ainu bear ceremony Iyomante . My reading of them calls into question both Smith's presentation of the ethnography of the bear ceremony and his interpretation of its meaning. Smith's focus on the ritual killing as the core of the Ainu bear ceremony as the perfect hunt to resolve incongruity between the mythical ideology and the hunting practice is based upon his not taking into consideration the Ainu religious world of meanings. From my study of the Ainu bear ceremony, I maintain that the ritual dismemberment of the bear and the ritual decoration of the bear's skull constitute the core of the meaning of the ritual. To interpret the religious meaning of this ritual, I point out the necessity for considering the Ainu view of personhood and ontological understanding of the "bear." In my interpretation of this core part of the bear ceremony, the material form, that is the bear, of the Ainu deity is ritually transformed into its spiritual mode and then sent back to the mountain whence from it originally came.


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Numen — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation