Animals Good for Healing: On Experiences with Folk Healers in Inner Mongolia (China)
Keywordsanimals good for healing
Manners and customs (General)
History of Asia
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AbstractPeter Knecht. 2015. Animals Good for Healing: On Experiences with Folk Healers in Inner Mongolia (China) in Gerald Roche, Keith Dede, Fernanda Pirie, and Benedict Copps (eds) Asian Highlands Perspectives 37 Centering the Local, A Festschrift for Dr. Charles Kevin Stuart on the Occasion of his Sixtieth Birthday, 138-167. The opportunity for fieldwork with shamans in northeastern Inner Mongolia, together with experienced colleagues, came as a windfall, causing me contradictory feelings. On the one hand it was a pleasant surprise, because it promised the fulfillment of a dream I had long nurtured. On the other hand, however, it made me painfully aware of the limits for my work. Limits in time, because I could not use more than a few weeks each year, and limits in communication, because I lacked practically any knowledge of Chinese or Mongolian. I could not change the problem of limited time, but I was fortunate enough to find a good interpreter. His help went a long way to solve at least part of my linguistic problem. In addition, the fact that he was a Mongol proved instrumental in opening many doors to us. Furthermore, he had a great number of friends and acquaintances in the area, something that turned out to be an invaluable asset, because these people gracefully agreed to support us in many ways and at every stage of my fieldwork. Nevertheless, my linguistic handicap was not completely overcome. For that reason, explanations I can offer for actions I have observed may often remain unsatisfactory. However, I will make an effort to describe as truthfully as possible what I have observed in the hope of making up at least in part for my lacunae.