SHAMA, s. Hind. shama [Skt. syama, ‘black, dark-coloured.’] A favorite song-bird and cage-bird, Kitta cincla macrura, Gmel. “In confinement it imitates the notes of other birds, and of various animals, with ease and accuracy”(Jerdon). The long tail seems to indicate the identity of this bird rather than the maina (see MYNA) with that described by Aelian. [Mr. M‘Crindle (Invasion of India, 186) favours the identification of the bird with the Maina.]

c. A.D. 250.—“There is another bird found among the Indians, which is of the size of a starling. It is particoloured; and in imitating the voice of man it is more loquacious and clever than a parrot. But it does not readily bear confinement, and yearning for liberty, and longing for intercourse with its kind, it prefers hunger to bondage with fat living. The Macedonians who dwell among the Indians, in the city of Bucephala and thereabouts … call the bird [Greek Text] keraiwn (‘Taily’); and the name arose from the fact that the bird twitches his tail just like a wagtail.”—Aelian, de Nat. Anim. xvi. 3.

SHAMAN, SHAMANISM, s. These terms are applied in modern times to superstitions of the kind that connects itself with exorcism and “devil-dancing” as their most prominent characteristic, and which are found to prevail with wonderful identity of circumstance among non-Caucasian races over parts of the earth most remote from one another; not only among the vast variety of Indo-Chinese tribes, but among the Dravidian tribes of India, the Veddahs of Ceylon, the races of Siberia, and the red nations of N. and S. America. “Hinduism has assimilated these ‘prior superstitions of the sons of Tur,’ as Mr. Hodgson calls them, in the form of Tantrika mysteries, whilst, in the wild performance of the Dancing Dervishes at Constantinople, we see, perhaps, again, the infection of Turanian blood breaking out from the very heart of Mussulman orthodoxy” (see Notes to Marco Polo, Bk. II. ch. 50). The characteristics of Shamanism is the existence of certain sooth-sayers or medicine-men, who profess a special art of dealing with the mischievous spirits who are supposed to produce illness and other calamities, and who invoke these spirits and ascertain the means of appeasing them, in trance produced by fantastic ceremonies and convulsive dancings.

The immediate origin of the term is the title of the spirit-conjuror in the Tunguz language, which is shaman, in that of the Manchus becoming saman, pl. samasa. But then in Chinese Sha- man or Shi-man is used for a Buddhist ascetic, and this would seem to be taken from the Skt. sramana, Pali samana. Whether the Tanguz word is in any way connected with this or adopted from it, is a doubtful question. W. Schott, who has treated the matter elaborately (Über den Doppelsinn des Wortes Schamane und über den tungusichen Schamanen-Cultus am Hofe der Mandju Kaisern, Berlin Akad. 1842), finds it difficult to suppose any connection. We, however, give a few quotations relating to the two words in one series. In the first two the reference is undoubtedly to Buddhist ascetics.

c. B.C. 320.—“ [Greek Text] TouV de SarmanaV, touV men entimotatouV TlobiouV fhsin onomazesqai, zwntaV en taiV ulaiV apo fullwn kai karpwn agriwn, esqhtaV d ecein apo floiwn dendreiwn, afrodisiwn cwriV kai oinou.”—From Megasthenes, in Strabo, xv.

c. 712.—“All the Samanís assembled and sent a message to Bajhrá, saying, “We are násik devotees. Our religion is one of peace and quiet, and fighting and slaying is prohibited, as well as all kinds of shedding of blood.”—Chach Náma, in Elliot, i. 158.

1829.—“Kami is the Mongol name of the spirit-conjuror or sorcerer, who before the introduction of Buddhism exercised among the Mongols the office of Sacrificer and Priest, as he still does among the Tunguzes, Manjus, and other Asiatic tribes. … In Europe they are known by the Tunguz name schaman; among the Manjus as saman, and among the Tibetans as Hlaba. The Mongols now call them with contempt and abhorrence Böh or Böghe, i.e. ‘Sorcerer,’ ‘Wizard,’ and the women who give themselves to the like fooleries Udugun.”—I. J. Schmidt, Notes to Sanang Setzen, p. 416.

1871.—“Among Siberian tribes, the shamans select children liable to convulsions as suitable to be brought up to the profession, which is apt to become hereditary with the epileptic tendencies it belongs to.”—Tylor, Primitive Culture, ii. 121.

SHAMBOGUE, s. Canar. shana or sana-bhoga; shanaya, ‘allowance of grain paid to the village accountant,’ Skt. bhoga, ‘enjoyment.’ A village clerk or accountant.

[c. 1766.—“… this order to be enforced in the accounts by the shanbague.”—Logan, Malabar, iii. 120.

[1800.—“Shanaboga, called Shanbogue by corruption, and Curnum by the Musulmans, is the village accountant.”—Buchanan’s

  By PanEris using Melati.

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