Bohannan, Paul. A source book on Tiv religion

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Volume I Cosmos, Soma, Psyche And Disease



Chapter 1 Cosmos







The Sprites

Monstrous Births

Masked Dancers

The Dead

Raising (kende) Mku

Life After Death

Chapter 2 The Body

The Nurturance System

The Functions Of Different Types Of Food

Some Qualities Of Some Specific Plant Foods

Food Taboos

Belly (iyav)



Muscles And Other Igbira



Snake Bite And Scorpion Stings

Internal Pains And Igbira


Blood Letting

Setting Broken Bones (dzor Kuhwe)

Perceptual Organs: Eyes

Eye Difficulties

Eye Medicine

Internal Organs

Lungs (huhu)

Gall Bladder (mlem)

Spleen (kwembe)

Kidney (ihi; Plural Ahi)

Heart (shima)

Reproductive System

Doctrine Of Procreation

Reproductive Organs - Male

Reproductive Organs - Female




Childbirth Medicines


Puberty And Fever

Chapter 3 The Psyche


Character (inja)

Luck Or Fate - Destiny

Jijingi - The Shade

Psychic Disturbances

Madness, In The Tiv View

Madness: Cases


Mnyam: Dreams And Portents




Chapter 4 Symptoms And Diseases

Hygiene And Charms

Being Ill In Tivland



Attitudes Toward Medicine

Classification Of Medicines

Payment For Medicines

European Medicine, Hospitals, And Dispensaries



“diseases” For Which Tiv Have Words

Diseases That Tiv Do Not Recognize


Coughs And Colds



Cuts And Abrasions

Skin Rashes

Chills (karikase) [malaria]

Animal Bites And Pests

Speech Defects


Congenital Cripples

Volume Ii Tsav

Chapter 5 Tsav: The Substance And Its Uses

The Physical Attributes Of Tsav

Tsav - Who Has It

Tsav - Where You Get It

“the Sisters’ Son And The Mbatsav” [a Text By Iyorkôsu].

Tsav - How It Feels

The Uses Of Tsav

Bewitching - Different Types


“eating” The Dead

Chapter 6 The Mbatsay And Their Activities

Mbatsav As A Logical Necessity

Mbatsav As Bogey-men: Jokes

Mbatsav As Bogey-men: Fear

Mbatsav And Repairing Tar

Mbatsav And Magicians

Mbatsav As An Organization

Numbers And Relative Power

Signs Of The Mbatsav: Indiyer Drums

Mbatsav - Nocturnal Activities

Equipment Of The Mbatsav

Atsuku (drawing A)


The Divining Apparatus (ishol) Of The Mbatsav

The Bende

The Iwen Ifee (drawing D)

Mbatsav: Their Use Of Akombo

Activities Of The Mbatsav

How The Mbatsav “go Out” (duwe)

The Mbatsav As Animals

The Flight To Swem

The Mbatsav As Agents Of Death

Removing Bodies

Mbatsav Use Of Human Body Parts

Chapter 7 Victims Of The Mbatsav

Who Bewitches Whom

The Kinship Bond

Deals Between Lineages

Victims Of The Mbatsav




Flesh Debts

Collecting Debts

Flesh Debts And Tsar Market Place

Chapter 8 Anti-tsav


Extra-processual Events

Swem And Sasswood



Volume Iii The Lesser Akombo

Chapter 9 The Lesser Akombo



Akombo Dôôr


Akombo Igbe. Symbols

Akombo Igbe - Cases


Texts On The Ingbyanjôv

Ahina (twin)

The Case Of Tyowua.

Akombo Hindan

Akombo Twer


Texts About The Chigh.

Cases Of The Akombo Ichigh

Akombo Imande

Akombo Ihundugh



Cases Of Akombodam. 1. Utishayem

Cases Of Akombodam. 2. Daga

Agashi - An Aspect Of The Akombodam

Akombo A Uke


Kpanda Awambe

Akombo Akporo

Kulu, The Indigo Workers’ Akombo





What The Megh Demands Of Practitioners

Akombo Msondo

Inya I Kungu


Kinds (ato) Of Swende

The Protective Emblems Of Swende, And How It Is Pierced

Removing Swende

The Place Of Swende In Relation To Other Matters

Swende - Kpwese Bua

Swende - Chiluete



Veekombo (or Verakombo)


Iwa: Protective Emblems

Symptoms Of The Iwa

Seizing The Iwa.

Akombo Iwa - Medicines And Repairing

Uwar Akombo


Protective Emblems Of The Wayo

Symptoms Of The Wayo

Cases Of Wayo



Volume Iv The Great Akombo And Akombo Ritual

Chapter 10 The Great Akombo

Akombo And Heritage

Some Great Akombo



Tum Or Tyum


Kasen Akombo, Talen Ku, Or Ityar


The Biamegh Ceremonies In Tongôv

The Second Day In Tôngov

Notes Taken After The Tôngov Biamegh

Kokoiwen’s Biamegh

Abayol’s Biamegh

Chapter 11 The Uses Of Akombo And Their Ritual

Washing Akombo

Actual Cases

General Information About Washing Akombo

Repairing Akombo

Actual Cases

Seizing Akombo

Seizing An Akombo To The Finish (beginning At The Base)

Brewing Akombo (akombo Mirin)

Seizing Akombo Chigh

Erecting Akombo For Protection

List Of Portective Emblems

Conditions In Which Akombo Are Used For Protection

When The Protection Fails To Work

Other Things An Akombo Undergoes

To Remove (dugh) Akombo

Remember (umbur) Akombo

To Gather Up (kura) Akombo

To Beat (gbwidye) Akombo

To Drag (kpwera) Akombo

Taking Oaths On Akombo Emblems (bum Akombo)

Invoking Akombo (sogh Akombo)

Volume V The Meaning Of Akombo And The Life Cycle

Chapter 12 The Principles Of Classification Of Akombo

Birth Akombo

Luck (ikôr) Akombo

Subsistence (yiagh) Akombo

Strength Akombo (akombo Agee)

Bridge (tsa) Akombo

Distinctions That Are Drawn In Classifying Akombo

Chapter 13 Akombo Components And Symbols

Emblems And Ideas




Akombo Regulations


Repairing Akombo

Buying Akombo

Cancelling Akombo (aven Akombo)

Chapter 14 The Social Aspects Of Akombo

Yar Akombo

Those Who Eat One Akombo

We And They

Akombo Repairman

Participation Of The Dead In Akombo Ceremonies

Payment For Akombo Ceremonies


Chapter 15 Divining

Divining Apparatus - Oracles

Sasswood As An Oracle

The Divining Chains And How To Use Them

The Rubbing Horn (jiagba)


Miscellaneous Oracles

Occasions For Consulting Diviners


Initiation Of A Diviner

Materials Needed

Pounding The Medicine

Laying Out The Oracles To Be Consecrated

The Sacrifice

Penny, Penny, Who’s Got The Penny?

Waiting For The Sacrifice To Cook

Eating The Sacrifice

Divining Seances - Cases

1. Ende’s Age-set Consult The Oracles

2. Gu Consults The Oracle About His Daughter

3. Shitaa Divines For Abodzer

Chapter 16 Rituals Of The Life Cycle

Idyugh I Kwase

Ityumbun Wan

Senda Hwav

Cases Of Senda Hwav.


Sudden Death By Tsav

Post Mortem Operations In Search Of Tsav

Funerals Of Great Men

Actual Funerals

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: A source book on Tiv religion

Published By: Original publisher New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files. 1969. 5 v. (xv, 802 leaves) ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Paul and Laura Bohannan

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 1998. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Tiv (FF57)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Religious beliefs (770); Religious practices (780); Ecclesiastical organization (790);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This compendium presents reworked field notes on a number of subjects related to Tiv religion, particularly on witchcraft. It is divided into five volumes, paginated consecutively. The first volume contains data on general religious beliefs, ethno-conceptions about both nature and man, sickness, nutrition and reproduction. The second volume concentrates on some of the key elements of Tiv religion, such as, TSAV (a substance which grows on the heart, inadequately translated as 'witchcraft potential'), MBATSAV (a society of those who have TSAV, or 'men of ability), and SWEM and SAssWOOD (sacred objects and means of controlling the actions of the MBATSAV). The third volume contains material on AKOMBO, a quite involved religious concept which in a very narrow sense means magical emblems and magical forces. The AKOMBO differs from the GREAT AKOMBO (the content of the fourth volume) in that it affects individuals while the GREAT AKOMBO is the matter of social groups with different sets of emblems and sacrifices. The principles of classification of AKOMBO and its components and symbols are framed in the fifth volume. The researcher may find reading pp. 629-630 helpful for understanding the AKOMBO concept. The last chapter contains data on rituals in the life cycle, particularly those grouping around childbirth and funerals.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 30

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ff57-030

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: The subject Sorcery (754) has been used for TSAV and MBATSAV, and Trial Procedure (695), Ritual (788) or Magic (789) for SWEM and SAssWOOD. Sibjects Sacred Objects and Places (778) and Magic (789) have been used as the basic categories for the AKOMBO, and subjects Theory of Disease (753), Sorcery (754), Magic and mental therapy (755), Life and Death (761), Prayers and Sacrifices (782), Ritual (788), and Organized Ceremonials (796) have been used for various aspects of the same.

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1949-1953

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologists-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Dubravka Schmalzbauer ; Sigrid Khera ; 1971-1972

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). not specified

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Benue State, Nigeria

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Tiv (African people)


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