19/12/2011

TRIBAL PEOPLE: LIMBOOS OR LIMBO an HIMALAYAN TRIBE in THE PEOPLE OF INDIA RACES AND TRIBES OF HINDISTAN LONDON 1868

ETHNOFLORENCE

INDIAN AND HIMALAYAN

FOLK AND TRIBAL ARTS

2008 - 2016

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THE 

PEOPLE OF INDIA.

A SERIES OF

PHOTOGRAPHIC ILLUSTRATIONS.

WITH DESCRIPTIVE LETTERPRESS,

OF

THE RACES AND TRIBES OF HINDUSTAN,

 

ORIGINALLY PREPARED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF

THE GOVERNAMENT OF INDIA,

AND

REPRODUCED BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR

INDIA IN COUNCIL.

EDITED BY

J. FORBES WATSON AND JOHN WILLIAM KATE

 

VOLUME ONE

 

LONDON 

INDIA MUSEUM,

1868

 

THE HIMALAYAN TRIBES

 

LIMBOOS.

 

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The term LIMBOO is a corruption of Ekthoomba, and is generally used to

designate the whole population of the mountainous country lying between

the Dood-Koosi and the Kanki rivers, in Nepal. 

 

Their original country is Chung, in Tibet. 

 

The Limboos are found in smaller numbers eastwards to the Mechi

river, which forms the boundary of Nepal and Sikhim. 

 

In still fewer numbers they exist within the Sikhim territory, as far east as the Teesta river, beyond

which they very rarely settle. 

 

In Bhootan they are unknown, except as strangers.

 

They doubtless belong to the great Mongolian family of the human race. 

 

This is clearly evidenced in their form of features, absence of beard, and yellow colour of

the skin; but to which of the numerous divisions of this family, to be found

between the Himalaya mountains and the Yellow Sea, they especially belong,

or of which they are an offshoot, remains to be decided by further comparison of

their language and their religion, with those of other Mongols. Their language

has no written character, nor does it impress the hearer as having any resemblance

to the Lepcha or Mech dialects. 

 

There is, however, reason to suppose that it once

had a written character peculiar to itself (Journal As. Soc. Bengal., ii., 4.)

 

Although they have been long in close contact with the Hindoos, there is not

any perceptible mixture of the blood to be observed, whether in more regular

features, or in the absence of the small low nose of the Mongolian races, and

presence of the beard. 

 

In religion they are neither Hindoos nor Buddhists ;

though they outwardly conform, as their locality requires, to the practices of either

creed. 

 

They believe in one great god, called SHAM-MUNG, and worship many

minor deities. 

 

Their marriage ceremonies are simple, involving little but a sacrifice

and a feast. 

 

Their funeral proceedings are thus described:—Just as the vital

spark has taken its leave of the mortal tenement, it is usual among the Limboos,

for one who can procure a little powder, to fire a gun.

 

The report is supposed to give intimation of the event to the gods, and to speed the 

soul of the deceased  to their keeping. 

 

They burn the dead, selecting the summits of mountains for

the purpose, and afterwards collect and bury the ashes, over which they raise a

square tomb of stone, about four feet high, placing upon it an upright stone.

 

On this is engraved a record of the quantity of largess distributed at the funeral of the

deceased. 

 

This inscription is either in the Dev-Nagri or Lepcha character,

according to the comparative facility of procuring an engraver in either. 

 

It is an act of virtue in the relatives to give largess, but it does not appear to be considered

of any efficacy to the soul of the departed. 

 

The Limboos do not make offerings, or sacrifices for the dead, nor have they any belief in the transmigration of souls.

 

They mourn the dead by weeping and lamentations at the time, and by avoiding

merry-makings, and adorning the hair with flowers for a month or two. 

 

They are a warlike race, and occasionally enlist in the British native army.

 

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