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Taboo (in Madagascar): A Study of Malagasy Customs and Beliefs
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Author: Jørgen Ruud.
Language: English
No. of Pages: viii + 327 + 8 b&w plates + 4 figures
Dimensions: 165mm x 233mm x 36mm

Item Identification Code (UID#): 127
Shelving Location: Ethnography & Ethnology
Estimated Value: £55.00
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Taboo (in Madagascar)

A Study of Malagasy Customs and Beliefs

First Edition
Oslo University Press / George Allen & Unwin Ltd. (1960).
Hardcover Book with Dust Jacket

A detailed ethnographic study of fady, the complex system of taboos or superstitions that influence and govern the way the Malagasy live their lives.

Text from the Back Cover

Little has been written about the vast, mysterious forces which brood over and control the lives of the Malagasy. These forces create a great network of restrictions, the taboos, of which the author presents a material describing more than six hundred. Details are given of that which is forbidden during pregnancy, at birth, in the home, through life to death – from the cradle and before to the grave and after. Animal and plant taboos are described, as well as restrictions on the siting of houses, villages and tombs. All these and many other important aspects of the taboos of Madagascar are recorded, and constitute a fascinating and instructive work, the fruits of many years of patient study.

About the Author (from the Front Flap)

Jørgen Ruud was born in 1901. He was ordained in 1933, and after studying in France he was posted to the Mission field in Madagascar in 1934, where he stayed almost without a break for 20 years.

He was awarded a grant in 1947 to enable him to further his study of ethnology at the British Museum and Cambridge University in 1947 and 1948.

His other works on Madagascar are "Panthéon et Religion chez les Tanala" and "Étude Grammaticale du Dialecte Betsimisaraka du Sud", which are published by l'Académie Malgache in Tananarive.


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Hospitality
  • Authority and Seniority
  • Vintana or destiny
  • Plant taboos
  • Animal taboos
  • Building houses and founding villages
  • The Malagasy tomb
  • Burial taboos
  • The feast of the turning of the corpse
  • Posthumous names
  • The sacredness and impurity of the dead
  • Fetich taboos
  • Marriage taboos and sexual restrictions
  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Rules concerning circumcision
  • Transgression, guilt, punishment
  • Lifting of taboo
  • The basic nature of the taboos
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Notes
  • Index
  • Map of tribes in Madagascar

Condition of Item

Very good. Price clipped from front flap of dust jacket. Protected by transparent plastic cover (non-adhesive).

Refer to the glossary for definitions of terms used to describe the condition of items.


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