The paper provides a description of a female ritual aimed at cleansing the community in moments of impending crisis. The ceremony, known as momome in its Sefwi variant, is discussed by positioning the meaning of the choreographic props used in the performance (dresses, spatial dispositions and movements, chromatic symbolism, metaphoric acts, use of therapeutic herbs, songs) within the wider cultural framework of the Akan world of West Africa. The historical transformations of the ceremonial occurrence in the course of the twentieth century are examined closely to show that even though the performance has – informants claim and precolonial sources confirm – not been altered significantly, the timing and motives have. The momome, held in response to wars and epidemics in the precolonial setting, in the course of the twentieth century was increasingly evoked in moments of crisis (illness, deposition, death) of prominent figures of the chiefly establishment. The paper evaluates the ideological autonomy of the ceremony – presented by some analysts as a ‘ritual of inversion’ - and comes to the conclusion that institutional politics has had a major influence in promoting and containing the various forms of supernatural protection sought in the course of the twentieth century.
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2008|
|Titolo:||Female cleansing of the community: The momome ritual of the Akan world|
|Volume:||XLVIII (4), 192|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Articolo su rivista|
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