- 公益財団法人 史学会
- 史学雑誌 (ISSN:00182478)
- vol.93, no.6, pp.1041-1057,1144-, 1984-06-20 (Released:2017-11-29)
It is well-known that the nomadic tribes through Central and Northern Asia had the custom of injuring one's body---slashing one's face (〓面), cutting one's ear (割耳・截耳), or cutting off one's hair (剪髪)---, which description we can find in Chinese or Islamic sources, the inscription of ancient Turkey, wall paintings, et al. The custom of injuring one's body has hitherto been regarded as a rite conducted at a funeral as a sign of the self-immolation of an attendant on the death of his lord, and it has its origin in a magical invocation for the resurrection of the dead. It is an accepted opinion that by performing more than two acts of that kind at one time, not one by one, the nomadic tribes in the Inland Areas observed their custom to express their condolences or to pledge loyalty to the dead. All the acts of injuring one's body, however, are not described as concerned with funeral rites in the above-mentioned sources. By close examination of other possibilities, it was found out that the same kind of act was performed for the following purposes : first to pledge loyalty to a livng person, not the dead ; second to wish strongly something ; third to part from someone. The closer examination revealed that each case implicated "swearing an oath". At this point it became clear that when the nomadic people implied "swearing an oath", they slashed their faces and cut their ears, but did not cut off their hair. It is presumed, therefore, that the act of "shedding blood" showed some implication of "swearing an oath". This presumption is corroborated by descriptions of Scythian in "History" by Herodotus and those of "T'u-fan ch'uan (吐蕃 = Tibetans 伝)" in "Chiu T'ang-shu (旧唐書)" and "Hsin T'ang-shu (新唐書)". In consequence it has been supposed that among the nomadic tribes in the central and northern parts of Asia, the act of "shedding blood" by slashing one's face or cutting one's ear did not merely meant the formalization of a magical invocation for the resurrection of the dead, but also included some implication of "swearing an oath", and that the act of cutting off one's hair alone originated directly in the self-immolation of an attendant on the death of his lord. Furthermore with this supposition it became clear that the nomadic tribes such as "T'u-chueh (突厥 = Tur(u)k)" and "Hui-ho (回〓 = Uighur)" also used the custom of injuring one's body as a political means in order to flaunt their own tribal power by forcing foreign tribes to perform the same act.