(Photo courtesy of Chris Lombardi)
First noted by Tucci and Snellgrove the
MASTA ARE THE MOST WELL KNOWN GODS OF JUMLA
linked with the
AVATAR LINE DEVTA
or incarnating gods, the oracular religion associated with
The primary sources of information about the gods individual life and histories is the
recited by the
during the God’s possession.
THE PARELIS ARE THE GOD’S AUTOBIOGRAPHIES.
Collectively the Masta gods are always spoken of as the
collapses at the end of his trance dance and is carried back to the shaman hut by villagers.
twelve is a ‘nombre ideal plutot que reel’
Despite most Jumlis are unable to list more than five or six Bara Bhai, a compilation of all the lists collected
different sholars results in 33 different Masta names, 14 of which are reported by more than one sources (Campbell ).
THE FIRST AND MORE COMMON SOURCE OF THE MASTA’S NAME IS THE NAME OF THE VILLAGE IN WHICH ITS PRINCIPAL SHRINE IS LOCATED.
IN ALMOST EVERY CASE THE NAME HAS A SEMANTIC MEANING DESCRIPTIVE OF THE GOD.
A low caste shaman
the ultimate gesture of submission to a high caste shaman as he invokes the gods before a ritual trance dance.
ACCORDING GABORIEAU THE DIFFERENTIATION OF THE MASTA GODS ON THE BASIS OF THE LOCATION OF THEIR MAIN SHRINES SUGGESTS
THAT MASTA IS ONE GOD WHOSE INCARNATION IN DIFFERENT VILLAGES AND DIFFERENT FORMS ARE IDEALLY REFERRED TO AS TWELVE
BROTHERS; TO OTHER IT SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT MASTA IS A COLLECTION OF A NUMBER OF VILLAGE GODS WHOSE ORIGINS AND NATURES
HAVE CONVERGED OVER THE YEARS.
COMMON FEATURES SUPPORT AT LEAST THE PARTIAL IDENTITY OF THE VARIOUS SEPARATE INCARNATIONS. These common features are found in the similarity with which the shrines are organized, the regular worship performed, in the origin stories and life-histories recounted by each brother in his PARELI
in trance during a celebration marking
the beginning of Dashain, the month-long Hindu high holiday.
(Photo Chris Lombardi)
Fondation Bernard et Caroline de Watteville
(Photo Credit Le Temps)
MUSEE DU QUAI
Népal 19e siècle.
2003 © musée du quai Branly,
Photo Thomas Duval
2003 © musée du quai Branly, Photo Thomas Duval
Masque de danse, personnage masculin. Bois à patine brune. Népal, 19e siècle Donateur Marc Petit, 2003 © musée du quai Branly