西ニューギニアの神経難病多発地域を歩く(第3報): 医療と文化・貨幣経済・地母神  [in Japanese] Third Report of A Longitudinal Survey of Neurodegenerative Diseases, Walking in Swampy Jungle of West New Guinea: Medical Sciences, Culture, Monetary Economy and Gaea, the Goddess of the Earth  [in Japanese]

Access this Article

Search this Article

Abstract

This is the third report of of a longitudinal survey of neuro-degenerative diseases, walking in swampy jungle of West New Guinea. When we visited small city of Agats, where about five thousand people of the Asmat tribe lived, we found very few patients with neuro-degenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Parkinson disease. City of Agats lies a few hundred kilometers northwest to the main district of Mappi, where many patients with neuro-degenerative diseases have been found by our survey. When we had dinner in a hotel in Agats, we barely managed to eat the Sago worm which lived in a Sago palm tree. A female doctor from a big city of Indonesia said that she had never eaten those ugly worms and that it is another culture in her country. In the old days of coastal swampy jungle of West New Guinea, Sago was once the staple food among many tribes of Papua. But monetary economy has changed their self-sufficient living of life, and people now need money to get rice from outlander merchants. A young man has been suffering from retrobulbar optic neuritis, and became blind. He worked in a palm oil factory to get money only to take to drinking methyl-alcohol. A French film named "Cybèle ou les Dimanches de Ville d'Avray" was awarded the American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1962. The heroine of the film confided that her true name is Cybèle, very old name in ancient times. In the cinema, I wondered how old it could be. Thirty years later when I visited Turkey, I found that Cybèle was a Greek goddess of the earth, a Gaea or Gaia. But I found also that the big plaster figure in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara was named as the Goddess of the Earth. This figure was thought to be built 8, 000 years ago. Nowadays modern Turkish people regard Cybèle as the same goddess of the earth. So the name of Cybèle might be traced as old as in the New Stone Age. Papuan people lived the Stone Age living until quite recently. And Asmat people make wood carvings resembling the Anatolian figure, and I wonder if they once called them Cybèle before the era of monetary economy.

Journal

  • ヒマラヤ学誌 : Himalayan Study Monographs

    ヒマラヤ学誌 : Himalayan Study Monographs (15), 175-183, 2014-03-28

    京都大学ヒマラヤ研究会; 京都大学ブータン友好プログラム; 京都大学霊長類学・ワイルドライフサイエンス・リーディング大学院

Codes

Page Top