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Chthonic Sovereigns? ‘Neak Ta’ in a Cambodian Village

Chthonic Sovereigns? ‘Neak Ta’ in a Cambodian Village Typically conflated with spirit or religion, territorial land entities known by various names across monsoon Asia are engaged in social relationships with human communities. Most often called neak ta in Cambodia (meaning the Ancient ones), but also known as maja tuk maja day, (the master of the water and the land), and arak (guardian or protector), many will tell you this is Brahminism, superstition from the ancient religion. More recently scholars use the term animism, and through this lens, neak ta becomes spirit—metaphysical guardians of territories, spirits of founding ancestors, or the earth-bound deities in Buddhist cosmologies. For locals they are guardians, people we cannot see, punishers, and healers, sometimes ancestors sometimes not. In the following treatment, empirical data complicates the prevailing paradigm and begins to detangle these entities from the constructed category of religion. In the context of an expanding discussion rethinking animism in Southeast Asia and its relationship to universal religions, these sovereigns of the land emerge beyond their confinement, or their assignation as spirits. They are in and of the water and the land and are instrumental social actors in the articulation of economic activity and political strategies as well as Buddhist practice. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology Taylor & Francis

Chthonic Sovereigns? ‘Neak Ta’ in a Cambodian Village

The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology , Volume 20 (1): 22 – Jan 1, 2019

Chthonic Sovereigns? ‘Neak Ta’ in a Cambodian Village

Abstract

Typically conflated with spirit or religion, territorial land entities known by various names across monsoon Asia are engaged in social relationships with human communities. Most often called neak ta in Cambodia (meaning the Ancient ones), but also known as maja tuk maja day, (the master of the water and the land), and arak (guardian or protector), many will tell you this is Brahminism, superstition from the ancient religion. More recently scholars use the term animism, and through this lens,...
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Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2018 The Australian National University
ISSN
1740-9314
eISSN
1444-2213
DOI
10.1080/14442213.2018.1553205
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Typically conflated with spirit or religion, territorial land entities known by various names across monsoon Asia are engaged in social relationships with human communities. Most often called neak ta in Cambodia (meaning the Ancient ones), but also known as maja tuk maja day, (the master of the water and the land), and arak (guardian or protector), many will tell you this is Brahminism, superstition from the ancient religion. More recently scholars use the term animism, and through this lens, neak ta becomes spirit—metaphysical guardians of territories, spirits of founding ancestors, or the earth-bound deities in Buddhist cosmologies. For locals they are guardians, people we cannot see, punishers, and healers, sometimes ancestors sometimes not. In the following treatment, empirical data complicates the prevailing paradigm and begins to detangle these entities from the constructed category of religion. In the context of an expanding discussion rethinking animism in Southeast Asia and its relationship to universal religions, these sovereigns of the land emerge beyond their confinement, or their assignation as spirits. They are in and of the water and the land and are instrumental social actors in the articulation of economic activity and political strategies as well as Buddhist practice.

Journal

The Asia Pacific Journal of AnthropologyTaylor & Francis

Published: Jan 1, 2019

References