Local belonging, ethnic identity and the material ontology of the otherworld in Eastern Nepal

Wettstein, Marion (3 December 2017). Local belonging, ethnic identity and the material ontology of the otherworld in Eastern Nepal (Unpublished). In: Conference of International Society for Academic Research on Shamanism (ISARS): Expanding Boundaries: Ethnicity, Materiality and Spirituality. Museum of Ethnology, Hanoi, Vietnam.

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For Prem Bahadur and his fellow villagers there is no doubt that the bhume deity in his custody revealed itself in the very moment he caught it in the air, where it had manifested as a small round stone: a very hot stone that him alone, the shaman of Maldel village, was able to touch. This stone, as an ontological reality of the otherworld in their life, is a material focus point for the small group’s local notion of belonging. At the same time, hundreds of other bhume stones in the custody of other shamans assembling each their communities’ local belonging constitute a material, otherworldly network of ethnic identity across Eastern Nepal. Taking different examples of material manifestations of the realm of the spirits, deities and ancestors met with during field research among the Rai of Eastern Nepal over the last fifteen years, this paper will discuss the relevance of the material ontology of the otherworld for notions of local belonging and ethnic identity.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute for the Science of Religion

UniBE Contributor:

Wettstein, Marion


200 Religion
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Marion von Stockhausen-Wettstein

Date Deposited:

10 Apr 2018 10:54

Last Modified:

10 Apr 2018 10:54



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