bull-roarer

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bull-roarer,

an instrument consisting of slit board or chamber attached to a cord. When swung around in the air, it emits a deep, vibrant, "whirrrrrr"-like sound. The mythology of some Native South Americans (e.g., the Tupí-Guaraní) indicates that women originally controlled such sacred instruments of power as bull-roarers, flutes, or trumpets, but, through some calamity (often involving women's inability to hunt), lost possession of these instruments to men. The control of such instruments legitimizes adult male power. Thus, at puberty, Bororo boys are shown how to use bull-roarers, and they participate in secret rituals with the adult men. There are separate ceremonies in which men taunt women with bull-roarers, sexual songs, and clay phalluses. Taboos exist against women seeing these instruments, which are normally concealed in the men's house but removed for ceremonies. Women's real attitude toward bull-roarers is difficult to gauge; some secretly admit to have seen the sacred instruments, but open defiance of the taboos would invite severe sanctions and is avoided. Among some groups, the instrument is merely a toy. The bull-roarer is also important among the Australian aborigines. See matriarchymatriarchy,
familial and political rule by women. Many contemporary anthropologists reject the claims of J. J. Bachofen and Lewis Morgan that early societies were matriarchal, although some contemporary feminist theory has suggested that a primitive matriarchy did indeed exist
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References in periodicals archive ?
Jethro explained how he had tied to the bullroarer some hairs from a younger adoptive brother of his, a boy he had been quite close to but who had died sud denly the previous year.
Once again dur ing the 1950s, at the behest of and overseen by Lutheran mission workers, secret objects of ritual significance -- bullroarers and the like -- belonging to the village men were ceremonially buried; also, an important tabooed site (tut) believed to be the home of spirits and ancestors was leveled.
Rong specialists watch over a small 'thunder house' where ritual paraphernalia -- especially bullroarers and special stones, sometimes too the jawbones of now departed ritual experts -- are kept on a rack over a ritual fireplace.
Klaus makes it clear that much of the music listed in the book is very difficult and cites several pieces that employ extended vocal techniques, Sprechstimme, aleatoric or improvisatory elements, microtones, and graphic notation, as well as a wide variety of nonstandard accompanimental instruments such as bones, bullroarer, car horn, electric shaver, wrapping paper, and so on.
The string is fixed to a bullroarer and this string is made of human hair that has been twisted strongly into form by a woman's manual labour, rolling string on thigh.
Either an embryo (ratapa), living in the metamorphosed body of an altjirangamitjina, enters the body of a woman passing by, in which case the child would be born with a narrow face, or a "totem ancestor" emerges from the earth and throws a small bullroarer at a woman, in whose body the bullroarer turns into a child which would then be born with a broad face.
On Tuesday from 1-3pm enjoy Australian Family Fun and create your own piece of Aboriginal artwork, didgeridoos, boomerangs, bullroarers and more.
The great sacred and secret totem boards were brought to me, and the smaller boards and bullroarers placed round about me, while all the men present chanted the sacred totem songs and waved green branches to and fro as we sat in a great circle round the 'totem' (dhu'gurr) fire.
I remain fascinated by his description of Lenten-time customary uses of clappers, inasmuch as groggers (clappers) and bullroarers have been sounded since the Talmudic era by Jews celebrating Purim, a holiday that occurs about the same time of year as Lent.
Silverman discusses various objects and practices (anal birthing symbolism of the flutes, bullroarers, totemic excrement, riverine mud, and the myth and the rite of initiation), all of them affirming men's envy of female fertility and the masculinization of motherhood.
The ability of Whites to control truth was believed to reside in their ability to conceal throug h more powerful and cunning ways than the Kaliai, who sometimes saw themselves as trapped in the false concealing practices of tradition -- like bullroarers, tumbuan masks and other secret cult items of the men's house (Lattas 1992b).