- 東南アジア研究 (ISSN:05638682)
- vol.35, no.4, pp.759-776, 1998-03-31 (Released:2018-01-31)
The Mien of Northern Thailand have migrated with their swidden cultivation. While this migration was the result of their mode of production until recent years. Mien myth also holds that the migration has continued since the time of their mythical ancestors. This myth of ancestral migration (the crossing-the-sea myth) is widely known among the Mien of China and Southeast Asia. However, a great distance in time and space separates the personal memory of real migration in recent decades and the migration of their mythical ancestors in ancient times. This distance is intermediated by another cultural institution. Each household possesses a document recording the sites of the tombs of its patrilineal ancestors. A Mien can learn of his ancestor's course of migration by reading the document, which is indispensable for a kind of ancestor worship ritual. The migration is an ethnic symbol of continuity between mythical Mien ancestors and present Mien persons. The tomb-record document intermidiates between each Mien's personal memory of migration and his mythical ancestral migration and intensifies this symbol of Mien ethnic continuity.