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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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Sacrifice and the History of Dwelling

Sacrifice and the History of Dwelling

(p.74) 5 Sacrifice and the History of Dwelling
The Dancing Dead

Walter E. A. van Beek

Oxford University Press

A discussion of the village sacrifice of 2008 leads into the echelons of sacrifice. Modeled on the house sacrifice, the ward, the lineage, and the village have their own rhythm of this rite of belonging. The village sacrifice is the crucial and most elaborate one and is described in intricate detail. In its rich symbolism it reflects the perilous history of the Kapsiki/Higi, between the neighboring villages and as a refuge area against a dangerous larger world. The two parts of the village sacrifice stipulate a ritual calendar and feature the major ritual players of the village: the village chief, the chief smith and several clan representatives. The chapter then moves into the bull sacrifice, a major sacrificial complex in the north of the Kapsiki area, which links the area with similar ritual complexes in the northern part of the Mandara Mountains. In closing, the question is raised of what constitutes a shrine in Kapsiki/Higi country, and how these shrines highlight identity dynamics and politics.

Keywords:   sacrifice, chief, clan, smith, identity, shrine

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