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We Eat Whom We Love

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Hippophagy among Tyvan Herders

image of Inner Asia

This paper examines hippophagy among Tyvan pastoralists. Horse-meat eating practice is defined by herder-horse relationships, the horse’s not-quite-livestock position and its instrumental and symbolic values. Complexity of influencing factors engenders a ritual which regulates slaughtering and eating meat of the most appreciated horses. As a result of this, ritual transformation of animals into meat does not turn them into the absent referent; rather, as I show in this article, the reference is always present.

Affiliations: 1: Altaic Studies, University of Helsinki HelsinkiFinland


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