Reciting Landscape: Documenting Ritual Journeys and Landscape among the Dumi Rai of Eastern Nepal
Among the Dumi Rai of eastern Nepal, the notions of ethnic identity and its geographical boundaries and reference points are strongly expressed in oral recitations. In many rituals, these landscapes—partly existing and partly imaginary—are travelled in the course of a shamanic journey by the specialist conducting the ritual or the spiritual being for whom the ritual is conducted. This presentation explores the relations between oral recitation and ritual landscape, through the recording and analysis of the pronounced words, but also by documenting and contextualising the landscapes and imaginary points referenced. Documentation methods include the audiovisual documentation of rituals, the mapping of the ritual landscape, and the collection of research outcomes in a database of toponyms and ritual language.