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The Dancing DeadRitual and Religion among the Kapsiki/Higi of North Cameroon and Northeastern Nigeria$
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Walter E. A. van Beek

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858149.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 October 2020

The Funeral of Zra Teri Kwada

The Funeral of Zra Teri Kwada

(p.3) 1 The Funeral of Zra Teri Kwada
The Dancing Dead

Walter E. A. van Beek

Oxford University Press

The book starts with a specific case, as does each individual chapter. Here, the case is a funeral, describing in detail the highlight of the funeral ritual, viz. the moment the smith (a special category of people in Kapsiki/Higi culture) in the midst of a swirling crowd dances with the corpse on his shoulder, the “dancing dead.” Though not unique to Kapsiki/Higi culture—a few neighboring groups do it as well—this ritual with the dancing corpse provides the major themes for the book: the contrast between a rich symbolism in rites of passage and the privacy of the sacrificial rites of belonging, between the structured echelons of the village society and violent intervillage relations, all set inside a long history of threats of slave raiding and war.

Keywords:   dance, smith, symbol, mourning, emotion

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