Marshall, Harry Ignatius, b. 1878. The Karen people of Burma: a study in anthropology and ethnology

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter I Habitat And Tribal Distribution Of The Karen

Chapter Ii The Origin Of The Karen

Chapter Iii Physical Characteristics

Chapter Iv Mental And Moral Characteristics Of The Karen

Chapter V Language

Chapter Vi Dress And Ornaments

Chapter Vii Measures Of Time And Space. Karen Astronomy

The Seasons And The Months

The Days Of The Week

Measurement Of Space

The Karen's Knowledge Of Astronomy

Chapter Viii The Karen Village-house

Chapter Ix Food And Its Preparation

Chapter X Agricultural Pursuits And Other Occupations

In The Hills

On The Plains

Chapter Xi Hunting And Fishing


Chapter Xii Spinning, Dyeing, And Weaving. Mat-making And Basketry

I. Spinning

Ii. Dyeing And Weaving

Iii. Mat-making And Basketry

Chapter Xiii Bronze Drums

Chapter Xiv Social Conditions

Political Arrangements

Community Life

The Women

Family Relationships


The Guest-chamber And Club-room


Chapter Xv Laws And Precepts

Chapter Xvi Warfare And Weapons

Private Forays

Redemption Of Captives


Chapter Xvii Music, Musical Instruments, And Dancing

Karen Music

Musical Instruments


Chapter Xviii Birth Customs, Childhood

Birth Customs


Chapter Xix Marriage Customs

Chapter Xx Funeral Customs

Chapter Xxi Religious Conceptions

The Three Conceptions

The “y'wa” Tradition

Beliefs Concerning The Soul And The Life Principle

The Continuity Of Life

Chapter Xxii Supernatural And Mythical Beings

Chapter Xxiii Propitiatory Sacrifices And Healing Offerings

A. The Great Sacrifice Of The Sgaw

B. The Bwe Sacrifice

C. The Small Sacrifice Of The Sgaw

Ii. Offerings For The Sick

Iii. Offerings To The “k'la” Itself

Prophets And Elders

Chapter Xxiv Feasts To The “bgha”

The Ceremonial Of The Feasts

Customs Incidental To The “bgha” Feasts

Chapter Xxv Mount “thaw Thi.” Religious Cults

The Sacred Mount

Religious Cults

Chapter Xxvi Magic

Chapter Xxvii Divinations

Chapter Xxviii Tabu

Chapter Xxix Growth Of Christianity Among The Karen

Chapter Xxx The Progress Of The Karen Race

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The Karen people of Burma: a study in anthropology and ethnology

Published By: Columbus: The University of Ohio Press, 1922. xv, 329 p., plates

By line: Rev. Harry Ignatius Marshall, M.A.

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2012. Computer File

Culture: Karen (AP07)

Subjects: Linguistic identification (197); Traditional history (173); Mythology (773); History (175); Topography and geology (133); Normal garb (291); Special garments (292); Descriptive somatology (142); Mortality (165); Form and rules of government (642); Ethnic stratification (563); Inter-ethnic relations (629); Pregnancy (843); Missions (797); Religious and educational structures (346); Cultural identity and pride (186); Acculturation and culture contact (177);

Abstract: Despite the subtitle, this work is not a thorough ethnography, because as the author states, 'the notes were collected at such intervals as could be taken from my labors as a district missionary.' A large portion of the text is devoted to mythology and extinct ceremonials, for some of which material the author relies on the writings of earlier missionaries. The photographs depict various aspects of Karen material culture, but nothing of the much-described ceremonies and rituals. A glossary of Karen words is included. The author's description of the contemporary culture, i.e. ca. 1910-18, is specific although incomplete.

Document Number: 19

Document ID: ap07-019

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: ca. 1910-1918

Evaluation: Missionary-5

Analyst: W. K. Carr ; 1955

Coverage Date: 1910-1922

Coverage Place: Karen people, Burma

LCSH: Karen (Southeast Asian people)//Burma--Social life and customs


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