Collection Description

Culture Name

Yapese

Culture Description

The Yapese speak an Eastern Malayo-Polynesian language and occupy the westernmost of the Caroline Islands in Micronesia. The island was under Spanish control from 1871 to 1899, German control from 1899 to 1914, Japanese control from 1914 to 1945, and American control from 1945 to 1985, after which it became part of an independent state (Yap State) in the Federated States of Micronesia. Ethnographically, the Yapese are noted for their men’s eating classes, elaborate gift-giving ceremonies, and social hierarchy.

Note

Select the Culture Summary link above for a longer description of the culture.

Region

Oceania --Micronesia

Countries

Federated States of Micronesia

OWC Code

OR22

Number of Documents

28

Note: Select the Collection Documents tab above to browse documents.

Number of Pages

2875

Collection Overview

Documents referred to in this section are included in the eHRAF Collection of Ethnography and are referenced by author, date of publication, and eHRAF document number.

There are 26 documents in the Yapese collection. Eleven documents are translated from the German and comprise the earliest documents in the collection, published between 1873 and 1917 and covering a time period from 1865 to 1910. The accounts are by explorers, government officials, missionaries, natural scientists, and travelers. Only one author was an anthropologist, Muller (1917, no. 6), who wrote a 380-page general ethnography. There is one Spanish source (Montes de Oca, 1893, no. 15) and a German translation of Russian explorer's diary (Miklukho-Maklai 1878, no. 20). Both are brief accounts of the island and its culture. The missionary Salesius (1906, no. 2), traveler Tetens (1873, no. 4), and colonial official Senfft (1903, no. 5; 1907, no. 13) wrote general ethnographic accounts covering a range of topics. The missionary Walleser (1913, no. 21) wrote about religious life. The natural scientist Volkens (1901, no. 14) provides a geography of the islands. The physician and government official Born wrote about music, poetry and dance (Born 1903, no. 17) and funerals (Born 1903, no. 19.) Senfft (1901, no. 18) and Beauclair (1963, no. 11) write about Yap money. In 1947, the U.S. administration initiated a research expedition as part of the Coordinated Investigation of Micronesian Anthropology. This three-year study produced a general ethnography by Hunt with a focus on the depopulation of the island during the colonial period and three articles by Schneider on kinship terminology (Schneider 1953, no. 3), political organization and incest (Schneider 1957, no. 7), and abortion practices (Schneider 1955, no. 9.) A second generation of American anthropologists examine Yap culture and society under U.S. Administration (1945-1985) and in the post-colonial period (1986-2001.) Lingenfelter writes about Yapese eating classes (Lingenfelter 1979, no. 22), dispute settlement (Lingenfelter 1991, no. 23), courtship and marriage (Lingenfelter 1993, no. 24), and decision-making (Lingenfelter 1977, no. 25.) Labby (1976, no. 25) constructs an emic model of traditional Yapese social structure and behavior. Egan (1998, no. 27) borrows heavily from this model to understand social change in the post-colonial period. He and others (Egan, Burton, Nero n.d., no. 28) also write about contemporary food exchanges. Ogata (1960, no. 8) writes about coconut cultivation. For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in the collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.

This culture summary is based on the article, "Yap," by Sherwood Galen Lingenfelter, in the Encyclopedia of World Cultures, Vol. 2. 1991. Terence E. Hays, ed. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co. Lingenfelter and Jay Dobbin advised in the selection of documents for this collection. In May, 2005, Ian Skoggard wrote the Synopsis and indexing notes, and post-1980 updates to sections on history and cultural relations, commercial activities, and division of labor.

Overview by

Ian Skoggard

AYUW-funerary donations - use "GIFT GIVING (431)", "BURIAL PRACTICES AND FUNERALS (764)"

BINAW-village - use "COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)"

BULCE-highest rank within landholding class - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "TERRITORIAL HIERARCHY (631)"

DEF-estate and household - use "REAL PROPERTY (423)", "HOUSEHOLD (592)"

GABUN-rank- use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)"

GANONG (GENUG) - matrisib - use "SIBS (614)"

GGAAN-female produced starch - use "VEGETABLE PRODUCTION (244)", "DIET (262)", "DIVISION OF LABOR BY GENDER (462)"

GILAB-personal belongings - use "MODE OF MARRIAGE (583)"

GILARUC-village ward - use "COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)"

M'OY-marriage ceremony - use "NUPTIALS (585)"

MAFAEN (MAFEN) -father's sister and children - use "AVUNCULAR AND NEPOTIC RELATIVES (604)", "COUSINS (605)"

MAGA-labor - use "LABOR AND LEISURE (461)"

MAKAN-sacred month - use "ORDERING OF TIME (805)"

MALMAL-lazy - use "LABOR AND LEISURE (461)", "SOCIAL CONTROL (626)"

MAM-complex spiritual concept (see Indexing Notes for document no. 21)" - use "LIFE AND DEATH (761)", "RELIGIOUS BELIEFS (770)", "REVELATION AND DIVINATION (787)", "ETHNOPHYSIOLOGY (827)", "ETHNOPSYCHOLOGY (828)", "CONCEPTION (842)", "STATUS OF CHILDREN (858)"

MIRAB-acronym for Yap post-colonial economy - use "PRODUCTION AND SUPPLY (433)", "MANIPULATIVE MOBILITY (557)"

MITMIT-elaborate gift-giving ceremonies - use "GIFT GIVING (431)"

NUG-regional network of allied villages - use "TOWNS (632)", "DISTRICTS (634)"

PALUW-sea captain and navigator - use "NAVIGATION (502)", "OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALIZATION (463)", "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)"

PEBAEY-community house - use "PUBLIC STRUCTURES (344)"

PILUNG-landholding village - use "REAL PROPERTY (423)", "CLASSES (565)", "INTER - COMMUNITY RELATIONS (628)"

PIMILNGAY-landless village - use "REAL PROPERTY (423)", "CLASSES (565)", "INTER - COMMUNITY RELATIONS (628)"

RAI-stone money - use "LITHIC INDUSTRIES (324)", "MEDIUM OF EXCHANGE (436)"

SALAP-master builder - use "CARPENTRY (335)", "SHIPBUILDING (396)", OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALIZATION (463)", "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)"

SOWAI-tribute - use "TAXATION AND PUBLIC INCOME (651)"

SUON (SUWON)-seat of authority - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)"

TAAY-pollution - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "PURIFICATION AND ATONEMENT (783)"

TABINAW(U)-estate - use "REAL PROPERTY (423)", "HOUSEHOLD (592)", "LINEAGES (613)", "COMMUNITY STRUCTURE (621)"

TABUGUL-pure - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "PURIFICATION AND ATONEMENT (783)"

TAGAC-skilled warrior - use "MILITARY ORGANIZATION (701)", "OCCUPATIONAL SPECIALIZATION (463)", "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)"

TAMANBEY-diviner - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "MAGICIANS AND DIVINERS (791)"

TAMERON-religious practitioner - use "SHAMANS AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS (756)", "MAGICIANS AND DIVINERS (791)"

TATFLAEY-patriclan with skills in medicine - use "SIBS (614)", "SICKNESS (750)"

THIGITH-ancestral spirits - use "SPIRITS AND GODS (776)"

THUMAG-male produced protein - use "FISHING (226)", "DIET (262)", "DIVISION OF LABOR BY GENDER (462)"

TIYOR-dance - use "SODALITIES (575)"

ULAN-highest rank of villages - use "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "TERRITORIAL HIERARCHY (631)"

YALEN-code of conduct - use "ETHICS (577)"

YOGUM-men's eating classes - use "EATING (264)", "STATUS, ROLE, AND PRESTIGE (554)", "AGE STRATIFICATION (561)"

Indexing Notes by

Ian Skoggard

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