The Sun Rises

A Shaman’s Chant, Ritual Exchange and Fertility in the Apatani Valley


At the centre of this study is a shaman's chant performed during a three-week long feast in the eastern Himalayas. The book includes a translation of this 12-hour text chanted in Apatani, a Tibeto-Burman language, and a description of the events that surround it, especially ritual exchanges with ceremonial friends, in which fertility is celebrated. The shaman's social role, performance and ritual language are also described. Although complex feasts, like this one among Apatanis, have been described in northeast India and upland Southeast Asia for more than a century, this is the first book to present a full translation of the accompanying chant and to integrate it into the interpretation of the social significance of the total event.
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EUR €81.00USD $107.00

Biographical Note

Stuart Blackburn, Ph.D. (1980) in Folklore and South Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He has published several books on oral tradition and culture in India, including (with Michael Aram Tarr) Through the Eye of Time: Photographs of Arunachal Pradesh, 1859-2006 (Brill, 2008) and Himalayan Tribal Tales: Oral Tradition and Culture in the Apatani Valley (Brill, 2009).

Review Quotes

"The book under review offers the first full account of a festival that plays a central role in maintaining social and economic relations among inhabitants of the valley and their neighbors. His studies of the valley culture equal the fine work of early anthropologists on US Native cultures." – G.R. Thursby, University of Florida (Emeritus), in: Choice 47/11 (July 2010)
" The Sun Rises stands a detailed and authoritative account of a highly complex event of central significance within a tribal society. It is a book that explores the foundations of Apatani cosmology and ritual life. Whilst this is a scholarly text that will appeal to anthropologists and historians in Northeast India and beyond, it may also achieve lasting value among the increasing number of young literate indigenous readers in Arunachal Pradesh. By presenting his own analysis alongside a detailed transcription and translation of this central ritual chant, Blackburn has produced an accessible and reliable doorway into the heart of indigenous ritual practices." – Alexander Aisher, in: Anthropos 107.2012.2


Anyone interested in ritual, the Himalayas, northeast India, southeast Asia, Tibeto-Burman languages, as well as tribal culture and religion generally

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