- There is an immense literature on this topic in various disciplines - archaeology and history of art, particularly of Mesopotamia and Egypt; history of religion; folklore of high cultures; ethnology of all continents (for the literature in detail see Egenter).
- A very important field of archaeological sources is paradoxically the earliest types of script in various ancient cultures.
- Kerschensteiner shows that the original meaning of the word 'cosmos' was a well-formed order (e.g., military). In contrast to 'cosmos', which evolved spatially with cosmological discoveries, the word 'cosmetics' has retained the restricted spatial concept and remained closely related to the human face.
- Basic for this criticism is also 0. F. Bollnow's (1963) phenomenological study of the anthropological conditions of space. Through Indo-German etymology Bollnow relates the origin of human space concepts to the early formation of settlements, and shows clearly that 'cosmological' concepts of space in the modern sense were a very late development of the fourteenth-century Europeans and on, mainly related to the age of the great discoveries.
- For the arguments in detail see below.
- Though European folklore has preserved some scant remnants (e.g., maypoles, fire festivals, rural festive 'decorations' - see Kapfhammer 1977), they did not seriously enter scientific discussion because they were viewed in distorted ways (expression of primitive creeds, degenerated elite art, etc).
- Note that the whole history of boats speaks of this hypothesis: from earliest times boats tend to show ornamental or symbolic treatment of the bow!
- All these phenomena exist explicitly in the Japanese Shinto tradition of the village protector deity.
- A well-researched doctoral thesis on the wide spectrum of ritual behavior with artificial snakes and dragons in Japanese rural Shinto cults could convince many historians of religion of the conventional Eurocentricity of their basic axioms.
- For an ethnographical wall-painting see Jain 1984. In most of the pictures presented, a 'wavy line' (snake or rope?) 'divides the painting into the 'World of Gods' (above) and the region of Pithoro's [mythical figure] wedding (below)'. This meaning is probably related to the primitive hut which is built in the same ritual, but which - unfortunately - is not described in detail by Jain, only mentioned. Note also that the constructive interpretation of the snake provides us with a very pragmatic explanation of its anomic ethical values as the incarnation of chaotic or destructive forces: if it is taken off the local territorial sign and symbol, this dissolves, falls apart!
- E.g., linear opposition of defined domestic domain and the non-defined wild extension; 'place and access scheme', etc.
- Hitoshi Watanabe's (1973) detailed study of the ecosystem of a former hunters and gatherers population in the northwestern Pacific region (Ainu) is probably the most instructive study in this field. Unfortunately Watanabe completely disregarded the elaborate sign system of the Ainus and explained the elaborate spatial and social organization related to the river valley territory by a metaphysical system borrowed from Radcliffe-Brown (social solidarity between men and deities). Noteworthy were the inquiries of Ohnuki-Tierney (1969, 1972, 1973) into the time and space concepts of this hunters and gatherers population of the Ainu. But Ohnuki-Tierney's approach is not convincing: she maneuvers herself into great contradictions because her approach is primarily based on the 'macro-origin' of spatial organization of the environment (see Egenter 1992 and subsequent volumes).
- See also Clément et al. 1982.
- Initial and most important: Amos Rapoport, House Form and Culture (1969). In the last two decades, many architectural departments of universities or technological institutes have developed a new type of worldwide ethnological research into 'dwellings and settlements' (Berkeley) or 'environmental design' (New York, Auckland, Sydney, Tokyo; for details see Egenter 1992 and subsequent volumes).
- It is evident that what the historical outlook calls 'myth' in early Japanese history deals essentially with territorial conflicts triggered by intensified contacts with the continent (China, import of Buddhism). The formerly locally or regionally organized traditional system of land legislation (deities of highly ranked knots; deities of sprouting reeds; deities marking a particular place) are superseded by a spatially more evolved system of continental origins. Upon the completion of the administrative system the emperor becomes the principal landowner of the Japanese archipelago (so-called 'Taika Reform' of the eighth century).
Back to main text 1, 2, 3, 4
Back to homepage