CULTURAL RELATIONS ON THE KANSU-TIBETAN BORDER
Robert B. Ekvall
The University of Chicago Press
The account that follows was prepared by Mr. Ekvall as a result of his participation in the Seminar on Racial and Cultural Contacts held under the auspices of the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. During 1987-38 the Seminar was maintained under the direction of the undersigned. Mr. Ekvall delivered a paper to the Seminar: this was discussed, and thereafter Mr. Ekvall expended his contribution into the longer document that is here published. The Department of Anthropology of the University is to be thanked for allowing the inclusion of the paper in one of its publication series, and has provided funds to make publication possible.
The account throws light upon a number of little known groups living in an isolated part of the world. The information we have on the peoples of this area is very meager. Students of society will welcome new dependable facts about them. It should be stated, however, that the materials included here are only a small part of what the author knows about the groups on the Kansu-Tibetan border. In spite of the fact that his memory is aided by few notes, he is able to reproduce in remarkable detail the characteristics of life in that area as he lived it for many years in great intimacy with the natives and in possession of the necessary linguistic knowledge. We asked Mr. Ekvall to begin the preparation of an account of the composition and mode of life of one nomadic Tibetan tent-group in which he had lived; this second manuscript, as yet unpublished, indicates the amount of detailed descriptive information which he is able to produce.
It is to be hoped that Mr. Ekvall will continue his study of the area. As a result of political developments in the East, the region, long isolated, is being brought into a larger organization of society, characterized by the development of international relations, of more organized warfare, and of wider cultural contacts. It would be well if these changes could be followed as they occur by one already familiar with the old life.
The Seminar on Racial and Cultural Contacts has for three years served as a forum within which members of the staff of the Division interested in the effects of contacts between societies and cultures could submit their varying points of view to criticism. It has also served as a place in which observers of particular cases of such contacts could present their facts with the hope of improving understanding of the relevance of the of the later sort; indeed, it is the clearest possible example, for the author came to his facts with no previous theoretical interests in the nature of social change. He is an excellent reporter of the facts as simple facts. So his account becomes a test of the possibility of relating such relatively unguided particular observations to more general considerations.
In summarizing his observations for himself, Mr. Ekvall has called our attention to some of the advantages of the region for study of general characteristics of inter-group contacts. Within a small area are to be found easily identifiable ethnic groups, each with its own culture and social organization. Among these groups the lines of contact are simple and may be isolated and described effectively. Furthermore the nature of the contacts between any two of these ethnic groups is interestingly different from that characterizing the contacts between any other two. The diagram at the end of the paper gives Mr. Ekvall's designations of these differences. Whether or not we are to agree with these designations, we must recognize that these relatively clean-cut differences within a single area and larger societal framework provide a sort of concentrated experiment in the field of culture contacts.
Further observation and consideration might result in more fruitful comparisons. What, for example, are the differential effects of modes of subsistence as compared with religious differences in determining the character of ethnic relations and of both as compared with the fact of occupation of a common territory? Of the four groups involved in this report the nomadic Tibetans and the Moslem Chinese differ most sharply from one another in language, custom and religion, yet are economically useful to one another and maintain friendly relations and influence one another. On the other hand the Moslem Chinese and the non-Moslem Chinese dwelling in separate but neighboring villages, differ very little except in religion, and the relations between these two groups are expressed in hostility and open conflict. In the formation of the four major constellations of relationship what have been the roles of numbers and vitality of population, of ethnic heritages, religious traditions and practices, forms of economic organizations and competition for resources?
Mr. Ekvall's preliminary characterizations of the fourfold relationships suggests the possibility of recognizing more generally applicable categories in terms of which to classify ethnic relations, as well as of discovering basic factors and processes which make for fundamentally different relations between one people and another. The indicated procedure is the comparison of one paired combination of ethnic groups with all the other pairs in turn. Mr. Ekvall characterizes the relationships between Chinese and Moslems as one of segregation and hostility, whereas that between sedentary Tibetans is one of infiltration. Whereas the relationship between nomadic Tibetans and Moslems involves trade and diffusion of culture, that between nomadic Tibetans and sedentary Tibetans involves superordination and subordination. These characterizations are not to be regarded as mutually exclusive and exhaustive, yet there is sufficient reason to think that the relations of any one people to any two others in this area are so different as to warrant further investigation with a view to the discovery of some major factors in bringing about types of ethnic relationship.
The four groups differ notably, it appears, in the respective resist exhibited by the groups to outside influence and also in the areas of life in which change most easily occurs. The Mohammedans and the nomadic Tibetans seem to be tough, or resistant groups. In contrast the Chinese seem to be rather soft, but with a kind of cultural depth that yields continuity and permits the Chinese culture, with a minimum of conflict, to penetrate into that of other groups. It might be possible to develop more rigorous ways of studying these relationships In terms of these differences in psychological orientation.
Particular interest attaches to the relations between the sedentary and nomadic Tibetans. Older theories of cultural development regarded nomadic life as older than sedentary agricultural life, and presumable as one to be abandoned for the advantages of the latter. Here, however, is a situation in which the nomads not only consider themselves as superior but are acknowledged to be superior and in which the individual is regarded as improving his condition if he leaves faming and becomes a nomad. The situation can be matched elsewhere, but here is one place in which it could well be studied. It would be particularly interesting to study the lines of cleavage between the nomadic and the sedentary sections of the same tribe and to make a thorough analysis of their likenesses and differences. The differences in mutual aid, in the position of women, and in the amount and character of wealth have been merely alluded to by Mr. Ekvall. They furnish occasion for much further research.
Attention might well center on particular aspects of ethnic relations, considering these in each of the four pairs of groups in turn. A fundamental group of problems is raised by Mr. Ekvall's observations on matters of population. The relative fertility of the Chinese and the apparent low reproduction rate of the Tibetans represents a striking contrast. The Tibetans are well organized and aggressive, while the Chinese are less well organized and much less resistant; yet the Chinese penetrate the Tibetan area and gain in numbers as the Tibetans lose. Mr. Ekvall refers to suggestions in the literature as to the effect of horseback riding upon reproduction. The roles of disease and of diet are obviously to be reckoned for stud of the relationship between standard of living and number of children including not merely the birth rate but the survival rate. The effects which race, religion and various cultural factors have upon the vigor and survival of a people seem to be particularly inviting matters for study in this area. In the case of the Moslems the form of family life is an obviously important element. Perhaps also the attitudes toward death and danger, towards survival and solidarity, toward the ancestors and toward small children are to be related to the population situation.
The role of trade in the economy and social life of the people seems to be particularly well adapted for study in this area where trade bears some of the traits of the more primitive commercial relations that existed long ago in Europe. The extent to which the cultural tradition operates to establish certain advantages on the part of one group over another in trade relations is an interesting issue. Another contribution to the economic life from the side of tradition is provided by the conventional guest-host relations referred to by Mr. Ekvall in which the chains of trading connections are forged out of personally defined linkages between men in settlements distant from one another.
The local forms of warfare also invite particular study. It would be interesting to discover the functions of feuds, raids and punitive expeditions in the larger society of the area. The superiority of the Moslems in this respect is noteworthy.
This study of Mr. Ekvall represents a case of a marginal area. Because of that fact, and because of the interests of the Seminar, it emphasizes contacts and interrelations between societies and cultures rather than the independent development of isolated groups. Nevertheless it calls attention to the fact that although each group is in contact with others, each has a culture and a life of its own, and undergoes internal development and change at the same time that contact from without impinges on it. Ethnographic depictions of primitive societies not infrequently underestimate the role of contacts and variations due to contacts. Reading this account of Mr. Ekvall's we may over-emphasize contact at the expense of independent development, Mr. Ekvall knows better than to do this. In the supplementary memorandum not yet published he has brought forward facts indicating that particularly within the Tibetan group there is great range for individual action and initiative. The trends of Tibetan life are largely determined by the originating action of Tibetans, with no necessary reference to the effects of contacts with non-Tibetans. As compared with other societies, that of these nomads places an unusual emphasis upon individual enterprise. A man's role in the group is largely independent of his membership in any familial or other group. Mr. Ekvall's unpublished account impressed one with the importance that must be attached to powerful personalities in the life of personal the Tibetan group. Apart from matters of culture contact, the Tibetan society is apparently one in which it would be profitable to study the way in which new personal relations emerge between people giving rise to new orientations upon the part of such individuals and tending to undermine customary ways of activity. But these last remarks are introduced here merely as a sort of caveat; the reader of the pages that follow will not find this problem presented; he will encounter a description of fourfold inter-ethnic relations. For this straightforward account Mr. Ekvall is to be thanked.
W. Lloyd Warner
University of Chicago
I was born on the Kansu-Tibetan border and lived most of the first fourteen years of my life in that region. I returned to that region as a missionary under the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1928 and, with the exception of one year (1927-1928), lived and worked among the peoples of this part of northwestern China and northeastern Tibet until 1936. The years from l923 tol925 were spent principally among the Chinese and Moslems of the region; from 1928 on I was for the most part among the Tibetans, though necessity or choice frequently sent my wife and me to the Chinese side of the border.
Our first station was Titao, in Kansu, where I was in charge of the school work of the mission. Here, as part-time courtesy teacher in the government normal school, I was fortunate enough to be in close contact with the scholars and intellectuals of the region. Other evangelical work took me on many trips through the Chinese and Moslem districts described in this paper and created many opportunities for close association with the inhabitants of the Chinese and Moslem villages. Assignment to various missions brought me in touch, as well, with some of the Moslem military and religious teachers.
In the summer of 1924, acting as interpreter, I went into the field where the Swedish archaeologist, Dr. J. G. Andersson, was engaged in uncovering some of the rich finds of late Neolithic culture. That winter we lived for some time in a Tibetan village, where we began to study the Tibetan language. Later in 1925 we were assigned to the station of Taochow Old City, immediately on the border of the Tibetan country; here we continued our study of the language and made trips of exploration among the inhabitants of the former Tibetan province of Amdo.
The work of exploration initiated at this time and continued during much of the period since was undertaken primarily as pioneering work in the cause of missions in new and unexplored areas. Ekit, in studying the language, tribal organization, customs, conditions of life, distribution of population, methods of travel, and in reporting on such information, we secured many data of geographical, ethnological, and anthropological interest. Linguistic problems are closely boundup with missionary endeavor. My own medical work, augmented by the experience of a three months' tour of the Tibetan country as interpreter and sponsor for a missionary doctor, enabled me to note various physiological phenomena associated with health, regional incidence of disease, and population growth and decline. Later, I was called into various tribal councils (once, in the course of a border war with the Chinese, I even acted as a member of a peace party in making a treaty) and thus had opportunity to acquire much inside information concerning the political and tribal organization of the Tibetans and many details of the administration of their affairs.
Our return to this region in the fall of 1928 brought us for a time into close association with the Moslems and their leaders in the rebellion of 1928-1930. The following spring (that is, the spring of 1929), we again entered the Tibetan country, more or less as refugees, and remained throughout the fall and winter in the village of Ga-ding-o, in Sam-tsa Rong, sharing the communal life of it twenty-three families. From there we undertook a series of trips among the Sam-tsa and other nomadic tribes and eventually settled in the lamasery center of Lhamo. It was not as having passport rights and privileges, but rather as claiming and receiving favor under the Tibetan host-guest system of hospitality, that we were able to make this our base station from 1930 until we left for the United States in 1935.
Our work consisted largely of visiting among the nomadic and sedentary tribes of the region. We wore Tibetan clothes and attempted to live as much like the natives as possible-our tents pitched alongside theirs in the encampment ring of tents-moving when they moved and sharing the routine of nomadic life with them. Thus, with our medical and first-aid work we had opportunity not only to observe the externals of their life but to learn about many of the troubles and problems which among themselves would ordinarily not be mentioned. In addition we made routine trips to both Chinese and Moslem centers and to aboriginal tribal communities as well. In the summer of 1926, we visited the independent kingdom of Ngawa, beyond the knee of the Yellow River; a second, fairly long stay in that principality, in 1932, included a visit to one of the Golok tribes, where we became acquainted with some of the Jarong aboriginals.
From early childhood I have spoken Chinese almost as fluently as English. Although my knowledge of Tibetan as a learned language is far behind my knowledge of Chinese, I have acquired a command of Tibetan, in both the sedentary and the nomadic dialects, which has been of inestimable value not only in our missionary work, but also in the gathering of data relative to culture contact on the Kansu-Tibetan border.
Much of the material to be presented was drawn from first-hand observation; much, also, is the product of interviews with Chinese, Moslem, and Tibetan scholars and leaders. This latter material, revealing as it does their several and widely dissimilar view points, has special significance and many others of our friends have made their unconscious, but real, contributions to this study of culture contact.
In writing this monograph, I drew largely upon my memory of conditions as they existed during my stay on the Kansu-Tibetan border, supplementing it with a careful check of such maps, travel notes, and manuscripts as I have with me in the United States. Discussion and close comparison with my wife, when I felt that two memories were more to be trusted than one, have further clarified the report. The documentation of this monograph is rather slight, but I have taken every possible precaution that the presentation should be a fair and factual treatment of the culture contact between the peoples of the Chinese-Tibetan frontier.
There is little literature extant dealing with the region under consideration; only a few travelers and scientists, and those at infrequent intervals, have come to this section of the border. In the short bibliography given at the end of the paper attention is called to those writers who have specifically or incidentally contributed to this paper.
I. THE KANSU-TIBETAN BORDER
Our travels have taken us to points considerably beyond the rectangle lying between 102 and 104 degrees east longitude and 34 and 88 degrees north latitude, but the peoples and conditions described in this paper are for the most part to be found within that area. It lies on the border between the province of Kansu-a part of China proper-and that portion of northeastern Tibet formerly known as the province of Amdo, since tagged with a Chinese name to indicate a regime of Chinese control which is largely nonexistent. The map which accompanies this paper will serve to specify further the strictly geographic aspects of this region.
The matter of elevation deserves some particularization. The lowest point of the entire area-along its northern limit, in the valley of the Yellow River--is somewhat over 6000 feet above sea level, and the higher extreme of human habitation within this quadrangle extends to more than 14,000 feet elevation. In much a range are created a number of climatic zones, between the lowest and highest of which occur greater differences of temperature than are to be found in a spread of twenty to thirty degrees of latitude. In general, the farther north one travels in this area, the warmer it is; conversely, the farther south one goes, the colder it is. The differences in elevation also make for striking differences in rainfall. The lower areas appear to be regions of declining rainfall and increasing aridity, while in the higher levels there is abundant precipitation during the summer months One generalization holds good for the entire area: the winters are dry and cold, the precipitation coming largely during the summer months. Seasons are much like those in the northern United States, except that seasonal changes follow more closely the changes of the solar year (mid-winter is nearer the winter solstice, etc.). The diurnal range of temperature is much greater; in some parts of the upper steppe country, the variation may be as much as sixty degrees in twenty-four hours.
The eastern and northern portion- mainly that in which the Chinese and Moslem populations are located- is part of the loess region of North China. This deposit varies in thickness anywhere from a few feet on the western fringes of the 'white earth region" to a maximum layer several hundred feet in depth. Along the border between the Chinese and the Tibetan communities, this layer is broken by a number of barrier limestone ranges interspersed with sandstone, shale, and slate formations. Little mineral is mined in a primitive fashion, and a few isolated deposits of copper, iron, and lead are worked. The only mineral wealth exported from the region is salt from the Tibetan salt lakes.
The distribution of the loess formation has an important bearing on the agricultural economy of the region. Wherever that rich and seemingly inexhaustible soil is found with enough moisture present or assured by irrigation, excellent harvests are assured year after year without fallow fields, by simple rotation of crops combined with the Chinese method of fertilization. Most of the Chinese and Moslem villages are in the region of the loess deposit. Wherever that formation gives way to the clays and marls of the border country the yearly yield is much less. Even in the Tibetan faming country, the best land is found wherever the erratically distributed pockets of loess are located.
The higher country- the steppe or semi-steppe of the Tibetan plateau has practically none of this soil; its place is taken by alluvial deposits, glacial debris, and the thin, stony soil of the mountain ranges. Those same mountains, in the belt between 7,000 and 11,000 feet in elevation, are covered on the northern slopes with a fair growth of timber or brush, the principal trees being spruce, juniper, birch, and a number of varieties of poplar and willow. The slopes facing the south are invariably bare of trees, presenting sharply defined areas of alternating grazing country and woodland. Besides giving the landscape a distinctive aspect, this condition also affects the agricultural economy of the people in the vicinity, who combine exploitation of the timber and pastures with routine faming. The loess region, on the other hand, sustains almost no timber and is on the whole barren and desolate in appearance.
The limits of agriculture in this region are found at about 11,000 feet above sea level. The true tree line is much harder to estimate, for it would seem that much of the treeless steppe is considerably lower than the level at which forest actually flourish when given the right combination of circumstances. Above 12, 000 feet the steppe is absolutely bare of even the lowest bushes, but in the higher mountains stunted trees are found up to elevations of 14,000 feet. Good grazing lands can be found as high as 16,000 feet, although domesticated animals are never grazed so high. From observations made near the great snow mountain, Nyn-bir-yir-tse, beyond the knee of the Yellow River, I estimate the snow-line at about 17,000 feet.
This region, with its diversified soil, topography, and climate, supports equally diversified peoples with along though little known history behind them. From his studies of Neolithic culture, Dr. Andersson came to believe that it must have been over four thousand years ago that the Chinese migration entered the Yellow River basin at this point where their descendants still live. At different times the unidentified peoples of Hor, the Mongols, the Tanguts, the Ouigour Tartars, Sarts from Samarkand, and Arab mercenaries lived in, or marched through, the land. In still later times Chinese military colonists established outposts on the border or dispossessed the more obscure aboriginal peoples, some of whom have left racial or linguistic fragments to the present day, while others have vanished, leaving traces of themselves only in some peculiar custom or odd accent in the speech of the peoples of today. About six hundred years ago, another immigration from Central Tibet brought an additional racial and linguistic strain to the Tibetans of the region, who themselves came from no one knows where.
Although far removed from the outside world- not more than a few years ago it was a long month's caravan travel from the extremity of the railway (for which Japanese and Chinese armies are battling so fiercely today) to reach this frontier region- the people of the region had their part in the larger history of the past. Fu-hsi the legendary founder of Chinese civilization lived here, kings and emperors had their origin here, Marco Polo passed this way; for then, as now, the old caravan road of Central Asia- one of the silk roads-followed the long panhandle of China that reaches between Tibet and Mongolia, passing through the Jade gate to Turkestan and the lost cities of the Central Asian deserts. Today military necessity has opened that road; Soviet emissaries, followers of the Panchen Lama who are working for the Chinese Central Government, and Tibetans from Lhasa, with British influence behind them, spread their diverse views among the tribesmen of the region.
In the time of the Manchu dynasty, the entire region was administered by a viceroy of the Imperial Government. That portion of the country occupied by Chinese Moslems and some other, smaller, racial units was under traditional Chinese law. The Tibetans enjoyed almost complete independence and varying degrees of prestige. The Chone Prince ruled over the forty-eight "banners" of one group of Tibetans; other Tibetan rulers or chiefs held grants or commissions- some of them hundreds of years old- from the Imperial Government. At that time the ethnic frontier corresponded almost exactly with the administrative frontier.
Since the establishment of the Republic in 1912, changes have occurred. Although the region nominally owes allegiance to the Central Government of China, the administration has been split between Moslem and Chinese factions. As a consequence, what was one province has been split up into two, the Moslems having a controlling influence in the governmental affairs of one, the Chinese dominating the other. The territory they separately administer does not altogether fall into this neat division. Conditions have changed most radically along the border, and the Chinese government has attempted to exercise considerably more power over the Tibetans than formerly. This has resulted in the establishment of a greater degree of control over the Tibetans along the border but has alienated those Tibetans who persistently maintained their independence, even enhancing that independence, which is combined with a half-wistful nostalgia for the days of the Empire. At the time we left to return to the United States in 1935, agents from Mongolia were seeking to use this condition to create a receptive mood towards Japanese influence.
The economic life of the area can be briefly summed up as pastoral, agricultural, and commercial. Wheat, millet, barley, and other such grains are raised for local consumption. Of the agricultural products, only tobacco figures as an item of export in a trade which is maintained in spite of the very considerable difficulties of transportation to the outside world. Pure pastoralism is found only among the Tibetans; but both Chinese and Moslem farmers raise some sheep, and this deviation from a strictly agricultural economy forms one source of the supply of lambskins. Trade is of two kinds: Tibetan trade and that which comes from the coast region of China and other countries. The principle imports from the outside world are cotton goods and notions of various sorts. In exchange for these, horses, wool, furs, hides, medicinal herbs, hartshom, musk, and tobacco are exported. Many of these are brought from Tibet to be exchanged for grain and locally produced foodstuffs. Thus, in a sense, the Chinese and Moslems of the region are the intermediaries in the trade between the Tibetan country and the outside world. Salt from Tibet is consumed entirely by the Chinese and Tibetan market. There is also a highly profitable, but dangerous, business in gun-running- firearms of every class and vintage are brought into the Tibetan country, where they command fancy prices.
In the modern sense of the word, there is no industrialization anywhere in the area. There are, of course, districts where specialized types of handicraft flourish, such as the making of rugs, felts, woolen goods, and linen, cabinet-working, and smithing, but all these are carried out on a handicraft basis.
Several distinct cultural groups inhabit the region. First of all are the Chinese. As has been indicated, the Chinese of the region may be considered as belonging predominantly to the true Chinese stock. All local records, as well as archaeological evidence from early historic and bronze periods back to prehistoric kitchen sites and Neolithic burials, testify to the continuous Chinese occupation of this region for at least four thousand years. In the district of Titao are family graveyards that have a continuous history of nearly two thousand years. Thus, whatever aboriginal admixtures there may be, the people are basically and characteristically Chinese of the northern type. The language they speak somewhat resembles Pekinese, but the occasional use of the fifth tone and some other features of pronunciation indicate relationship with the Sze-chuanese dialect. Dr. Hu Shi, the great authority on the- "national language' of China, said of my Chinese that it belonged to the most widely distributed dialect in China. Because of this linguistic affiliation, the people of the region properly constitute an Integral part of the great Chinese people-a proud, conservative, Industrious, frugal, and enduring race.
Religiously these Chinese adhere in general to the so-called 'Three Great Religions," tolerantly making Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism in varying proportions, part of their religious system. In regions such as the above-mentioned Titao district, where in history and culture the people go back to the main line of the Chinese and where scholarship and tradition have strengthened the cult of ancestor worship and the ideals and practises of Confucianism, this system predominates in the religious complex of the local inhabitants. In the border communities, where the influence of the nearby Tibetans is strong, the Chinese include a greater amount of Buddhistic observance and practise in their religious activities. Despite their persistence in styling themselves members of the "great sect"-i.e., Confucianism- they devote their time and money, in religious matters, to the performance of Buddhistic ritual. The Chinese of such areas are appreciably more religious than those of the more typically Chinese communities. Taoism is sandwiched into this all-embracing system of magical practises, necromancy, and whatever other aberrant forms of philosophy or superstition might spring up. Though subscribing to all three of these religions in varying proportions, the Chinese as a whole seem rather materialistic; nowhere among them is to be found the religious fervor and devotion which characterize both the Moslems and the Tibetans of this part of Asia.
The Chinese-speaking Moslems constitute a racial group quite distinct from the Chinese, although they share with them a sort of joint occupancy of a good part of the Kansu and Ching-hai provinces. They are the descendants of the Ta-shi, or Arab mercenaries, that from the eighth century or there-abouts began to march through the events of Chinese history. As far as we know, those mercenaries did not bring wives with them and so later took Chinese wives. Since that time successive intermarriages have diluted the Semitic strain, which is nevertheless evident to the close observer. Many of them have a brownish or even ruddy cast to their beards, their faces are identifiably Semitic in outline, and nine times out of ten they can be distinguished from the Chinese even when they are not wearing any distinctive article of apparel.
They differ from the Chinese in character and general traits to an even more noticeable degree. In houses, dress, manner of living, and in modifications most of the Chinese practises, and in language they are quite indistinguishable from the Chinese. Yet with all these borrowings, they are characteristically different. It is difficult to define that difference in its totality- perhaps it is best illustrated by the fact that occupationally they have a special leaning toward vocations that require superior hardihood and courage, and that in trade they outwit even the astute Chinese. By certain faint idiosyncrasies of pronunciation they can sometimes be identified as Moslems, but only by the use of religious terms taken from Arabic and by the use of Semitic first names (pronounced with Chinese inflection) are they linguistically set apart. By far the greater number of them have as a surname the syllable "Ma," which is the Chinese rendering of the first syllable of the name Mohammed. It is interesting to note, also, that this syllable in the termination of a village name identifies the village as Moslem.
In religion they belong to Islam. They would not measure up to Wahabi standards, but compared to Moslems in some other parts of the world- notably the island world- they are strict and punctilious in matters of orthodox observance, notwithstanding the fact that they are divided into a number of sects, marked by bitter enmities and feuds.
The third great racial division to be considered comprises the Tibetans of the region. By all criteria of physical anthropology the Tibetans of northeastern Tibet are hard to classify. We can safely discount statements that they are descended from the ancient Goths; they unquestionably belong to the mongoloid division of the human race, but within that broad classification they seem to be considerably mixed. Lacking concise anthropological measurements, we can only make generalizations based on appearance. Even so, we find a wide range of types. In skin color some individuals, beneath the accumulated suntan, soot, and grease, are lighter-- less a true yellow-- than the Chinese. Others seem more ruddy or brownish. They are somewhat larger in build than the Chinese of northwestern China, who themselves are of the large northern type. Some have typically Mongolian faces, but others have the aquiline features and peculiar look about the eyes which we have come to associate with some North American Indians. Even as to hair and eyes there is a great deal of variation: some have the light brown eyes seen in certain Tartar types, and some have black eyes, but the so-called Oriental slant is infrequent: straight black hair predominates, yet curly, or even kinky, hair is to be found, sometimes in combination with Negroid features. Any one seeking to establish a basic type through measurements would find the situation exceedingly complex, for these Tibetans, whether nomadic or sedentary, present all the characteristics of a mongrel physical type. They are not nearly so homogeneous as the Chinese of the area.
All this agrees with what little historical information we have for the region. Certainly during the time of the Mongol dynasties of China there was a notable dominance of Mongol peoples here. Many tribes whose language is now Tibetan are known as Mongols, and there are also some tribes so designated who still speak Mongolian. Previous to the period of Mongol dominance, the mysterious Hor kingdom and people were in the ascendancy; the Tangut kingdom on the north and the Chiang peoples to the southeast made their contributions to the Tibetan population of the present day. And finally, as recently as five hundred years ago, came Tibetans from Lhasa and Central Tibet, whose descendants are still to be distinguished from the others in language, tradition of dress, and even physical type.
Yet this mixture and whatever other divergent strains there may be are welded into a fairly distinct unit by the use of a common language and the observance of a common religion. While religion and language may be two distinct aspects of culture, in the culture complex of the Tibetan, these two aspects are very closely linked. It was Buddhist missionaries who, in the seventh century, intent upon providing a means of disseminating and perpetuating their religion, reduced the Tibetan language to writing; and it was Buddhism which, with many interpolations and modifications, the Tibetans finally accepted as their religion. Both language and religion are common to all Tibet. The language of northeastern Tibet can be understood in Lhasa and on the Indian border. Speaking the dialect of the nomads of northeast Tibet, I have yet been able to talk with monks from Tashi lumpo or pilgrims from Ladak, far off in the western comer of the land. There are differences in pronunciation and structure, of course, and when we come to consider some of the differences in dialects in the region of the Kansu-Tibetan border we will have to take into account the differences between those dialects and the Lhasa dialect, as well as between the language spoken today and its form at the time of its reduction to writing. The brother of the Panchen Lama assured me that the nomad dialect of northeast Tibet was closer to the original language than any other dialect existing at the present time.
The fact that the language has had a written form and a literature for over a thousand years has frequently led to the mistaken assumption that Tibetan culture must be advanced far beyond the primitive folk stage. Yet a written language and the development of a literature are no more an indication of civilization than are the literacy and the literary attainments in the case of certain African tribes that have been taught to read and write their own languages by missionaries. Certainly, by no criteria have the people of northeastern Tibet an indigenous culture more advanced than the tribal cultures of the nomadic and sedentary tribes of North American Indians.
The form of Buddhism held by the Tibetans is a comparatively corrupt form, known as Lamaism, or northern Buddhism. Not only has it taken unto itself many of the animistic or shamanistic practises of the early Bon religion of Tibet, setting up an extensive pantheon of gods and demons as an integral part of the system, but it still admits of distinct sorcerer sects, which are linked with the orthodox, or Yellow, sect as a part of the religious organization. These sorcerer sects have a non-celibate priesthood and a ritual which is entirely different from the Buddhist ritual; yet they are not only tolerated but revered as a part of the "true belief." This ability to harmonize or integrate utterly incompatible and mutually antagonistic beliefs and practises runs all through Tibetan life.
First we see how the conflict between the dietary tenets of Buddhism and the exigencies of a pastoral, meat-eating existence is resolved. Buddhism forbids the killing of animals for meat, and the Tibetan accepts this theoretically; but he continues to kill sheep and cattle for meat and rejoices in the delights of the chase. So, also, in the matter of sexual intercourse; the Tibetans practise more license than most people, notwithstanding an interdiction stronger than in most religions. Neither does the Tibetan see anything incongruous in whirling a prayer wheel and saying his prayers as he rides to rob and kill.
Similar irregularities are apparent in the control-devices and organization of Tibetan life. The effective unit of organization is the village, or, among the nomads, the encampment. Encampments and villages are organized into tribes for the purposes of defense and the effective maintenance of land rights. Sometimes the tribe has no chief, in which case all matters are settled by the council of old men; at other times, there is a hereditary chief. This chief may exercise control of the tribe in conjunction with the tribal council of old men, or he may even be nominally autocratic (such autocracy, however, is always strictly qualified by public opinion). These tribes are in some cases united in confederacies; one or two groups are really little states, or kingdoms, and are called such by the Tibetans. The Political structure, thus, would seem to be fairly complete; nevertheless, along with all tribal government there is a quasi-rule by the Living Buddhas, or lamas, and by the great ecclesiastical establishments, or lamaseries. In some instances, the lamasery may represent merely a separate unit within the scheme of tribal organization, but a unit which by general agreement is allowed to run its own affairs without interference from the outside. Then, again, the lamasery and tribal authority may parallel, or even be competing. Finally, there are large areas where the tribal organization either has ceased to exist or never did exist; here the lamasery authority is supreme. Strictly speaking, the lamaseries should be interested only in matters of religion and things of the other world; but in view of the fact in Lhasa is an ecclesiastical hierarchy, it is small wonder that the lamaseries are powerful in northeastern Tibet. The wonder is, indeed, that they have not superseded tribal authority entirely.
Aside from all these interesting and diverse aspects of organization, the most outstanding aspect of Tibetan life from the standpoint of the study of culture contacts is the absolute division, on the basis of occupation or subsistence economy, that cuts across state, tribe, clan and even family, separating the people in interests, traits, and even in dialect. Together with factors of location, etc., it makes of the Tibetans of the northeast two distinct groups: the sedentary, or faming, peoples of the low valley bottoms and the nomadic, or pastoral, peoples of the grassy steppes. This difference is so great that the cultural relationship between the nomadic and sedentary peoples may be considered as a problem of culture contact quite as clearly defined as, and in some respects more interesting than, the problem of culture contact between peoples of different race.
In addition to these three large racial divisions of Chinese, Chinese speaking Moslems, and Tibetans, there are a number of other racial and linguistic units to be found in this region. The scope of this paper is limited to a discussion of only the most important aspects of culture contact among the larger groups; but it will be proper to mention briefly the composition and character of these lesser groups.
Around the city of Hsuin-hwa, on the Yellow River, there is an extensive population of a Tarki-speaking people, who in the thirteenth century migrated to this region from Samarkand. They stand apart from the Chinese not only in race but in religion-in which they are fanatical followers of Islam. Only the more traveled of them speak Chinese, and in their way of life- they are as different from those around them as though they still lived in far-away Samarkand. The current tradition of their migration is an interesting one. They were, it seems, a turbulent and horse-thieving lot, who were eventually forced to emigrate by indignant and victorious neighbors. With only a bag of earth and a white camel to carry their leader, they set out to find a home wherever the soil might correspond to the sample in the bag. As they camped one night- where they now make their home, the camel died, and in the morning they found that the earth of the place was like that which they had carried from Samarkand. If you don't believe the story, they will show you the white camel, which very conveniently turned to stone. Near them, in another valley, are a number of villages of Tibetans who speak Tibetan but are Moslem in religion. There are villages of Mongolian farmers, a peculiar group whose language is a strange form of archaic Chinese (they claim their ancestors came to the region in the later Han about 200 A.D.), and still other groups who are called simply in the Peh Ling range, southwest of Titao, inhabited by another group of aborigines numbering some thousand families, whose language has been neither recorded nor identified.
Finally, there are the Tung Hsiang Huei Huei, who inhabit the extensive loess plateau found within the triangle made by the influence of the Tao and the yellow rivers. According to official Chinese estimates they number about two hundred thousand. They speak Mongolian, are Moslem in religion, and are the descendents of the Ouigour Tartars who filled the pages of Chinese history with great deeds during the seventh, eighth, and ninth centuries.
With these the list of distinct ethnic groups to be found in the area of our investigation is virtually complete. In certain of the districts now called Chinese, however, there still remain many traces of aboriginal admixture of race and culture. Only so can we account for the great variations of facial form and pronunciation found in the Fu-Chiang district or for the peculiarities of the people of the Kai Chow district.
From this long list of ethnic groups only four will be considered. Instead of dealing comprehensively with the many combinations of culture contacts existing among those four groups, I am arbitrarily limiting the discussion to four aspects of cultural interaction which are not only the most important ones but differ sharply in kind and degree. They are as follows:
(1) The Chinese and the Chinese-speaking Moslems (descendants of the Arabs)
(2) The Chinese and the Sedentary Tibetans
(3) The Moslems and the Nomadic Tibetans
(4) The Nomadic and the Sedentary Tibetans
These relationships can be graphically indicated as a rectangle, with the four groups at the four corners and the relationships indicated by the lines which form the sides.
The labeling of the lines connecting the four groups- in other words, the classifying of the kind and degree of contact- may be left until the facts have been properly described in the body of this paper.
II. THE CHINESE AND THE CHINESE-SPEAKING MOSLEMS
The first aspect of culture contact to be described is that between the Chinese and the Chinese-speaking Moslems. The particular communities which I have in mind are located in the Titao and the Hochow districts. The city of Titao is strictly Chinese, but, although no Moslems are allowed to reside within the city gates, there are many Moslem communities and individuals within the district. Hochow consists of two parts: the city, which is Chinese, and the southern suburb, which is entirely Moslem. This suburb is called the Mecca of China; filled with mosques, shrines, and Islamic schools, it well deserves the title. In these two districts are represented virtually all the manifestations of Moslem-Moslem contact as it occurs throughout the provinces of Kansu, Chinghai, and Ninghsia.
As has been indicated, this area is largely within the fertile loess region, where productivity is being seriously threatened by a diminishing rainfall. That threat is being minimized to some extent, however, by increased irrigation. Thus the area is typical of the farming economy that is found all the way across the northern half of China. The crops are the same, and the manner of life is similar.
Not only is the general climatic background the same for both these groups, but the local unit of organization is identical. Although both are primarily agricultural peoples, they do not live in isolated farmhouses, nor does the individual proprietor live in the midst of his own fields. For the sake of protection and in accordance with a tradition of settlement that is continent-wide and probably older than history, the farmers are gathered in villages. When some peculiar suitability, such as location on a well-traveled road, makes a village acceptable to an entire district as a market town, it may grow to the proportions of a city. A typical faming village supports between twenty and thirty families. Whenever the population grows so large that those whose fields lie on the periphery can no longer go back and forth each day, the village begins to break up, those with the very distant fields becoming the nucleus of a new settlement.
Those closely integrated units, whether Moslem or Chinese, are alike not only as to spatial characteristics but as to their function in the social organization. The counties may be administratively divided into districts, "roads," or "directions," but the basic unit of control is the ad-man who is largely responsible for the maintenance of law and order and for the carrying out of government regulations. The larger villages may have their own "family protective associations" and organized units of the militia, but even the smaller ones that have no such organizations are recognized by the county administration as autonomous units.
The Chinese and Moslems living in the same general population pattern seem superficially to have much in common. In the first place, they use the same language (the Moslems have brought into usage among themselves a large number of Arabic names, but they are pronounced with a Chinese inflection). In districts where Moslems and Chinese share a dialect, it is asserted by some that Moslems and Chinese can be distinguished by certain differences in pronunciation; I have never been able to make such distinctions in the dark, although when hearing was reinforced by sight, I too fancied that there were minute differences. Among themselves the Moslems use many religious words that are taken directly from the Koran, but such words are also given a Chinese twist. They wear much the same clothing as the Chinese, but with, of course, certain mannerisms and preferences in dress (such as, among the womenfolk, the wearing of a hood and sometimes a partial veil) which are sufficient to make them distinguishable in a crowd.
With language and dress the list of similarities ends. Racially, in spite of adulteration of the Semitic strain for generations and a fairly large number of proselytes, they can be distinguished at sight. Some are very like the Chinese, but at the other end of the scale are those who by their strongly Semitic features, and heavy beards, sometimes with degrees of brown or red in them, could never by any stretch of imagination be confused with the Chinese. Beyond the matter of physical traits, they display many features of character and disposition that mark them as being nonChinese. The Chinese of the region truly and typically belong to the northern Chinese group and by every factor of heredity and a shared history of four thousand years are fully Chinese.
In religion the Moslems belong to Islam, and the Chinese are ancestor and idol worshipers. Both have uncomfortable and distressing histories, and thoughtful members of each group are giving anxious thought to the implications of their heritage. Traditionally the Chinese have always been dominant in general politics, but they have hardly known what to do with the high-spirited, restive, and turbulent Moslems who were always a defiant minority, impossible to assimilate. Even if all other chasms might have been bridged by tactful treatment (of which there has been little except when the Chinese were scared by the threat of an impending Mohammedan rebellion), there would still remain the uncompromising creed of Allah to threaten the Chinese with death and destruction in the name of the All Merciful.
Yet the ground on which these incompatible factions or groups must meet is that of a common subsistence economy. As the village is the unit of organization common to Moslems and Chinese alike, so are they both predominantly farmers, of the small land-owning peasant type, and follow the same seasonal routine.
Their yearly routine exhibits the characteristic common of all farming operation, namely, that seasons of comparative leisure alternate with periods of great activity. Yet the work of preparing the ground, sowing, cultivating, harvesting, and threshing the crop is more evenly distributed throughout the year than in many regions. In the dead of winter little can be done beyond collecting all the sewage and barnyard droppings for use as fertilizer, but farming operations are begun early in the spring with the carting of both fertilizer and blocks of ice to the fields. The general openness of the winters makes it possible to do this very early in February, and with the first softening of the ground plowing is started. Plowing and seeding is man's work among the Chinese and Moslem farmers, but when the grain is up two or three inches the fields are cultivated and weeded by all the members of the family, who spread out across the field in as long a line as their numbers will allow and work on hands and knees. Every member of the family is also employed during the harvest. Threshing and final winnowing of the grain rarely takes place until early winter, which brings the end of one season's activity very close to the beginning of the next season. The grain is the main source of wealth. After the year's supply of food and seed-grain has beer, set aside, the surplus is sold to the urban population. The amount that can be sold determines how much cloth and cotton wadding can be bought for clothes and how many of the extras of life may be enjoyed. Some of the farmers supplement their income by selling wood, which they cut and carry, into the city either on their own backs or on the backs of such donkeys or horses as they have. Sometimes, also, they burn and sell charcoal or peddle fodder.
These peasant farmers have very little in the way of livestock beyond a few sheep, most of which are needed for working the farm. The only exception to this is the pig or two which the Chinese fatten for the New Year festivities. From the wool of the sheep they make felt and felt socks and a coarse homemade cloth. The thread fort the cloth is spun by hand by the members of the family, and the weaving is done by certain farmers who carry their portable looms around from community to community and hire themselves out. The food of the peasant is the very coarsest, and he had but scant protection against the rigors of the climate; yet he feels that with his home and a regular yield from his fields there is little else he needs. Brushwood provides him with more firewood than the city dweller can generally afford. The stable droppings and the dried leaves and chaff which he gathers assures him of at least a hot kang on which to sleep (the kang is a sort of hollow platform made of dried mud and is heated from beneath by smudge fires). The days are not unpleasant; he can while away the hours just standing around in the winter sunshine, or he can inject a little adventure into his life by going to town with grain, fodder, or firewood, and perhaps bringing back with him something he was able to buy in the market.
Occasionally the Chinese and Moslem populations are found living together within the same communal unit, but more frequently they maintain separate villages, which alternate in an irregular pattern throughout the district. Some districts are predominantly Chinese, others are Moslem. There is a greater degree of mixture to the population wherever the villages have progressed in size beyond the farm hamlet and have become towns, because the resultant diversity of occupation has made possible some divisions of callings or vocations. In such a community, we find a tendency on the part of the Moslems to follow the more adventurous of the subsidiary callings, or those which require more hardihood and daring. Such occupations as innkeeper, trader, muleteer, carter, soldier, and the like attract many more Moslems, proportionately, than Chinese.
Trade in this part of northwestern China is still very much what it was in the days of the Marchaunt Adventurers. By their willingness to dare the uncertainties of a form of trade that is not only affected by all the vagaries of the markets but is exposed to possible seizures by the military and depredations by bandits and footpads, the Moslems have made themselves the outstanding traders of the region. They are undaunted by the hardship of primitive travel and the risks of new situations and unknown roads. Traveling in Tibet, their expeditions often have a semi-military aspect, and in Chinese areas of warfare and lawlessness they must sometimes face the risk of prison or at least confiscation of their goods.
The life of the muleteer or carter is even more difficult. At times they must be awake all night long and at dawn be on the road to walk for thirty or forty miles before nightfall. They get but little rest in the inn, for they must feed and care for the animals and tend to the repair of saddles and gear. They are always in fear that some untoward circumstance will intervene to wipe out their chances of a livelihood. The best of such interruptions is that of being commandeered by the civil authorities to carry persons or goods. In such case there is a fair hope of finishing the task and going again about their own business; and, if the matter is not too urgent, money in a few palms may make it possible to escape the task. If, on the other hand, they are commandeered by the military, it may be weeks and even months before they are finally permitted to go, and they will have worn out themselves and their animals in return for a mere subsistence allowance. Frequently their animals are commandeered outright; then the chances of getting them back are slim indeed. Finally, they may meet bandits, either Chinese or Moslems, as they travel; in which case, the traces are cut or the loads tossed to one side, and the bandits ride off on their new mounts. I have seen an entire squadron of Mohammedan rebel cavalry going into action with nothing but pack mules and cart horses for mounts.
Innkeeping is also an adventurous calling. Compared with the profits from faming or handicrafts in a village community, those from keeping an inn are large (providing there are no major setbacks), but the risks are great. If bandits come, the innkeeper must serve them or his inn will be wrecked; should the soldiers arrive, they will quickly make him regret his entertainment of the bandits- and order some for themselves. In either case he gets little or nothing for all he purveys. Indeed, the bandits are more likely to offer payment, but it is usually some stolen goods that he dare not accept. So may the unwelcome guests of a single night carry off the profits of a month.
Lastly, it is as soldiers that the Moslems excel. Even before the current war in China it was true that every corporal might have a marshal's baton in his knapsack. The present governor of the province of Chinghai was first a carter in the transport service of an army, then a private, and now governor. The Moslems make first-rate soldiers. In difficult places Moslem troops are supported by a sort of religious frenzy. I have seen them fighting the Tibetans, and I have seen them fighting the Chinese; once, when I was being held prisoner by them, I saw about two thousand fight their way out of a trap formed by six times as many Chinese regulars, taking machine gun nests and making a way through by sheer courage and superior daring. It is interesting to note that the last general to stand against the Japanese in Manchuria, in 1931, was the Moslem Ma-chan-san; and that at the present time (1988) Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek's second-in-command is the Moslem Pai Chong Hsi, who shares honors in the dispatches from the front with yet another Moslem general Li Tsun Ren.
The Chinese, on the other hand, tend to monopolize the handicraft occupations. They make the best carpenters, silversmiths, blacksmiths, masons, and tailors. There is one exception to this general rule, namely the preparation and making up of furs, which is in the hands of Moslems- probably because the handling of sheep and lambskins was closely associated with the butchering-trade which, except for pork, is Moslem. The Chinese show greater aptitude, or at least greater preference, for the scholarly callings; they are the school teachers, accountants (even in Moslem firms), doctors, engineers, and administrative officials in the civil service.
Instances occur of what might be called a division of labor or a highly satisfactory cooperation between Moslem enterprise and Chinese skill. Not many years ago in Taochow Old City there was an extensive industry of casting brazen pots and kettles for the Tibetan trade. The metal used was that of the old coinage of China- the time-honored square-holed coin that is now out of date. This coinage was brought up and transported by small Moslem trader-muleteers and then sold to the Chinese artisans, who did the casting. The finished product was again sold to the Moslems, who took it into the Tibetan country as an article of trade. Thus by their enterprise the Moslems found a market for the product of Chinese skill which kept the foundry fires going a good part of the year. The last Mohammedan rebellion, in 1929--1930, and the consequent depopulation and enmity interrupted this cooperative effort for a number of years, but the venture has recently been revived.
Thus, in the callings that may be incidental to the basic pursuits of the village or in those adventitious callings that may take a man away from the village and into the larger urban organization, there is possible a division of interest and activity, based, one may believe, on preferences or natural gifts. But in the basic occupation of the village- the production of food for the people of both the village and the city (which may or may not have a share in that basic occupation)- there may be either communal cooperation or a rivalry of sufficient intensity to eliminate or segregate one of the parties. This is unquestionably the situation that exists between the Moslem and the Chinese.
It is clear that the Moslems and Chinese have not chosen the way of tolerant cooperation. I know of no strictly farming village where there is an equal mixture of the two groups; in every case the village is predominantly one or the other. In some instances, the population is composed almost entirely of one group, with only a few hangers-on of the other. In the Hochow district such division of villages is very marked. On one occasion we made a trip with Moslem muleteers. They were friendly and suggested that we stay with them in their village, so for that night we stopped in a little Moslem world. The children were called I-si-mer (4-1-3, Ismael) Fa-ti-mai (3-1-3, Fatima) Er-pu-tu (4-1-4, Abdul) [the numerals indicate the tones which were assigned to the syllables of a non-tonal language in rendering them into Chinese]. It was the fast of Ramadan (or feast, if you think of it in terms of night), and the fires blazed all night, and people called and shouted. Before darkness fell, pious bearded men said their evening prayers in public places; one, who wore a white turban as a sign that he had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, argued points of theology, quoting the Koran in oddly mutilated Arabic. The Moslems referred to themselves as "we" (being careful never to use the inclusive "we," which would include those spoken to) and to the Chinese in the near-by villages as "they." The village had a small building that did duty for a mosque, where the children were gathered at regular periods to receive instruction in Islam and learn the Arabic alphabet and phonetics so that they would be able to read the sounds of necessary prayers and religious formulas even if they couldn't understand them. Some of them went also to the government school, to which a teacher came daily from a neighboring town.
We made another trip over the same general route but on this occasion had Chinese muleteers. We kept a lookout for the Moslem village but missed it nevertheless; inquiry brought out that we had been taken around it. Somehow the landscape seemed to have a much more typically Chinese complexion than before. Again we stayed for the night in the native village of our muleteers. The homes were plastered with newly-posted kitchen and door gods. The local shrine, or temple, stood at the crossroads, with a platform over it for the performance of plays, and the smell of incense was in the air as it is at New Year's time. Pigs grunted in the courtyards and in the streets; after dark, accompanied by the beating of gongs and the clashing of cymbals, effigies and masks were carried around in celebration of some aspect of pagan worship. When the people said "we"- and sometimes, with greater tolerance than the Moslems, they included us- they referred to themselves and also to Chinese in general; "they" meant the others, who were defined with some hesitancy as the Moslems who lived in other villages around.
These two villages- one very near the other- were very clear-cut examples of the pattern of segregation to be expected. They were strictly farming communities- there wasn't even an inn in either of them. In a larger community, where there are a shop or two, a blacksmith establishment, and a few inns, one may encounter a Moslem innkeeper in a Chinese village or a Chinese blacksmith in a Moslem village. The Moslem inn, with its shingle bearing the sign of a teapot, enjoys not only the exclusive patronage of their own people, who may not eat food prepared by others, but that of quite a large number of Chinese as well, for these inns are clean and the food is tasty. Thus, in communities of mixed population the Moslems tend to monopolize the restaurant business.
A number of factors can be cited to account for the pattern of segregation in the population distribution. As we shall see later, the Chinese have a higher population gain, and the Moslems are economically more successful, both of which facts may be sources of jealousy. But factors related to religious habits and ideals appear to have a determining effect in keeping the two peoples apart.
To state categorically that the Chinese are rather materialistic in their outlook does not do away with the fact that Chinese religious observance and, in particular, their conscientiousness in carrying out the ritual connected with ancestor worship and veneration of the past occupy a large place in Chinese communal life. At stated times throughout the year- especially at the New Year, and during the second, fifth, and eighth moons- festivals honoring certain deities or commemorating religious events are held. Such a festival is always a communal matter: all contribute money for the furnishing of trappings proper to the affair, some are concerned with organizing the celebration, others carry the images in the procession, and still others collaborate with the priests- Buddhist or Taoist, as the case may be- in the performance of the various ceremonies. Such religious festivals are not altogether a matter of the calendar, for additional celebrations are often held in times of drought or other community disaster.
Another aspect of communal worship is to be found in the village or community theatricals. Although the plays given are generally straight drama (most of them are historical) and not at all like the miracle plays or so-called "devil dances" of the Tibetans, the primary significance in the presentation is a religious one- to give the gods pleasure and thus dispose them favorably to the people of the community. Even the masking and the animal plays of the New Year's celebration have a definitely religious significance. That the plays are presented for the pleasure of the gods does not detract, of course, from the enjoyment of the people themselves.
The local temple or shrine is also a matter of community effort. Regular assessments are levied for the propitiation of the local deity, who is often styled "earth god" and is represented as having a very particular interest in the locality- cannot, in fact, leave unless his idol is carried. During times of drought he may be taken out on a tour of the fields to see the extent of the damage; if he proves obdurate and persists in refusing the needed downpour, he is left for hours in the burning sun so that personal discomfort may add its urgings to the prayers of the people. His home and its upkeep is a sort of public charge, that is not mandatory by law but is a matter equally of public opinion and personal faith. At times the entire population will turn out to rebuild a wall or renew a roof of the local temple.
Such idolatry many Chinese might consider an aberration and a cause for embarrassment. In truth, it is not strictly in line with the unifying factor of Chinese culture, which may be defined in a three-fold manner as the recognition, veneration, and perpetuation of the tie with the past. The essential religious activity of pure Confucianism- the worship of the spirits of ancestors- is an integral part of Chinese culture. We think of a funeral as a strictly family matter, but in a small Chinese hamlet is very much a community affair. Virtually everyone has a part in the mourning, feasting, burying, and attendant religious activities. Then, too, every year during the feast of Ching Ming, in the early spring, the Chinese decorate the graves, make various of offerings of food and drink, and burn paper
money and incense, and bewail the dead. The graveyards are not necessarily communal, but as Ching Ming is universally observed no one can abstain from participation without arousing comment and a certain degree of reproach; on the other hand, prompt observance of the rites creates at least a feeling of fellowship. Of course, it is primarily a personal matter; nevertheless, the entire community responds, just as in the case of the spring planting and for the same reason; the comradeship each finds in working with the others in whatever concerns the welfare of the community.
These communal activities, for all their religious significance, play a large part in creating a community consciousness. The Moslems in the same community the festivals, theatricals, and temple-building and repair are offensive as being part of "idol worship"; nevertheless in some subtle way, they find cause for resentment in being excluded. They, also, have their special religious observances, some of which are of a communal nature, although Islam is essentially an individualistic religion. First of these is the month-long feast of Ramadan. As no good Moslem either eats or drinks from dawn to dark during that month, in a strictly Moslem community food disappears from sight during the daylight hours. In a mixed community, when Ramadan coincides with the general feasting and gaiety of the Chinese New Year, the behavior of each group is an offense and aggravation to the other. Neighborhood quarrels and street fights may ensue, and even when there is no open break there is much covert ill-will as a result. But if the Moslems have to match the New Year's feasting of the Chinese with long-faced abstinence during the day, they manage to crowd the hours of darkness with great feasting and good fellowship of their own.
The building and upkeep of the mosque is also, as in the case of the Chinese temple, a communal matter. Again assessments are made, and cooperative effort is initiated; and, of course, as a project it rivals and competes with the Chinese temple. The whole business is a fruitful source of trouble, often ending in lawsuits and boycotts, between the two factions of the community.
The burial customs of the two groups differ widely. The Chinese busy their dead in coffins- costly out of all proportion to the simple scale of Chinese peasant life, for the coffin has come to be a symbol of filial piety. For years before it is finally called into use the contemplation of the sturdy timbers of his final narrow bed brings joy and comfort to the grandfather and grandmother of the family. The Moslems have fiercely resisted the use of the coffin, probably because of what they conceive to be idolatrous connotations. Their dead are wrapped in cloths after the manner of mummies. The grave is dug straight down into the ground, and at a sufficient depth a shelf is hollowed out on one side, making in effect an artificial cave; the body is laid on this shelf. To the Chinese the Moslems are savages, who bury their dead like dogs.
Each group has its own graveyard, which among the Moslems is more a community project than among the Chinese, who are likely to have a system of family lots. The Moslems take great pains to make their graveyards like parks or semi-public groves, which become places for informal religious meditation and acquire a peculiar odor of sanctity. Among the Chinese the graveyards are open, and there is no prejudice against allowing sheep or cattle to graze over them- in fact, they are in a way community pastures. But the carefully kept Moslem graveyards are generally closed to such purposes, and should cattle or sheep get in there is further cause for friction.
In matters of religious or semi-religious import the trouble-producing dissimilarities between Moslems and Chinese thus range from issues of a strictly religious nature to those of veneration and custom, and even to things which to us seem ludicrous. There is, for example, the matter of pigs. Pork is the chief meat of the Chinese, and the average village in western China has pigs in the streets or roads and pigs in the courtyards and squares. Whatever food shops or butcher-shops the hamlet may boast will have sections displaying raw or cooked pig. The New Year's pig is to the Chinese what the Thanksgiving turkey is to the Americans. Item by item this story of the pig is one long and continuous aggravation to the pious Moslem, for whom the pig pollutes the air and defiles the ground.
The Moslems on the other hand specialize in beef and thereby violate one of the mores of the Chinese. The cow is not sacred, as it is in India, but as the symbol of agriculture it is the object of a sort of veneration, especially where Confucian traditions are strong. In earlier times, the killing of cattle was under interdict as a generally recognized crime, and even now the Chinese butchers leave the killing of beef to the Moslems. I know many old-time Confucian scholars who have just as great a horror of eating beef as the Moslem has of eating pork.
These and many other ramifications of the various sources of friction between the Chinese and Moslems have brought about an acute state of incompatibility, manifested in overt violence and covert hate, and have resulted in the segregation we now find in areas where the two people live.
There have been three Mohammedan rebellions within the last hundred years. The first and greatest of the three began in the middle of the last century and lasted for about twelve years. During this time the population of the province is said to have been reduced from about twelve million to something less than four million. For a number of years before the end of that rebellion no crops were planted (although the accidental yield of the fallow fields was furtively reaped), and men banded together to hunt human beings for food in the same wav they would hunt game. There has been one rebellion every thirty years, the most recent one being that of 1928-1980. The natives say that the recurrence of the rebellion waits only for a generation to grow up and revenge itself on the slayers of its fathers.
These conflicts have always begun over some matter of political import-oppression, over-taxation, an unjust settlement of some case in the courts, or even the unwise interference of the government in a sectarian issue between the Moslems. Yet one cannot say that these immediate causes were the fundamental, underlying ones. Sometimes, it is true, persecution, harshness, and the generally overbearing attitude of Chinese officials towards the Moslems have provoked trouble, but more often Moslems and Chinese have suffered alike under oppression and misgovernment and only the Moslems have had the hardihood to resort to arms. However much the war may have been in the beginning a political one and directed against the government, it has always degenerated quickly into a holy war of extermination, in which non-combatants were killed wholesale. In no instance has extermination been complete; communities of Chinese in the midst of Moslems and communities of Moslems in the midst of Chinese have survived. Yet the net result has been to encourage segregation, Moslem groups fleeing from Chinese districts and establishing themselves as war refugees in predominantly Moslem communities, and the Chinese following the same course. The degree of segregation appears to be greater at present than it was thirty years ago.
Over the course of years, segregation has also been brought about through less drastic measures. In the majority of districts- Titao is an example- the Chinese are numerically and politically dominant and by means of that dominance are able, through petty persecution, trumped up lawsuits, and the like, to make it sufficiently uncomfortable for the Moslems that they will eventually go elsewhere. The Moslems, in turn, by terrorism and similar methods, gradually squeeze out a Chinese minority. This is especially true of districts like Hochow, where the civil power is held by the Chinese but the military power is in the hands of the Moslems. Thus, throughout such districts, we find a fairly regular alternation of Chinese and Moslem villages.
All these factors have produced a marked competition for political power. As we have pointed out, the rebellions have often been precipitated by political issues, and in the negotiations for peace which followed (for the Chinese have never gained an outright victory) there has always been a maneuvering for more power on the part of the Moslem leaders. Conditions along the border, also trouble with the restless, turbulent Tibetan tribes, have often afforded signal opportunity for the Moslem military leaders. One Moslem general who was made defense commissioner of the border- marches used that commission and the activities involved as a springboard to the governorship of a province- one of the two provinces in northwest China ruled by Moslems. For a long time repressive measures by the Chinese authorities seemed to be driving these two provinces into revolt, but more recently a policy aimed at enlisting Moslem cooperation and Moslem military genius in behalf of the central government has resulted in greater stability, which gives promise of increasing as time goes on.
The degree of power which the Moslems have won and maintained has furnished a promising ground for propaganda. Back in the days of the World War, agents preaching pan-Islam did their best to stir up military ambition and foster military action. At a later date the Soviet-trained Uzbeks and Kirghiz worked very hard to get something started among them. The moment was opportune, for the Central Government of China was then putting strong pressure on the Moslems, the Soviet agents backed the wrong horse when rightly or wrongly, Ma Chong Ing, became identified in the minds of Moslems as the protégé of Moscow; he had been the leader of the last rebellion (quite definitely the least successful), but he had alienated the most powerful section of Moslem influence and power. When the Communist armies of Central China on their famous long march approached through Tibetan territory they met fierce resistance on the part of organized Moslem power, which by that time had been drawn into cooperation with the Central Government. The body of Moslem opinion was behind that cooperation, for the Moslems were thoroughly alarmed at the anti-religious propaganda of the Communists.
In the meantime, after the Japanese coup in Manchuria the rumor spread among the Moslems of the northwest that a nephew of Abdul Hamid had been received in Tokyo and was being backed by the Japanese government. A determined effort followed to build up pro-Japanese sentiment under cover of a revived idea of pan-Islam, with Japan instead of Germany playing the role of defender of the faithful. But again fate played into the hands of the Chinese government when the Moslem general Ka-Chan Shan made himself a national hero by his die-hard fight against the Japanese. Not only did the fact that he was a Moslem present the suspect Moslems to the Central Government in a new light, but the story of his bravery and the fight he made turned Moslem sympathy away from the Japanese. Thus the rise of Moslem military power in the far northwest of China, growing out of the incompatibilities of two peoples, constitutes an interesting story in itself and has furnished a field for diverse international intrigue and plotting.
However much all this may bring into relief the rivalries of the two peoples, and however much the pattern of population distribution may indicate definite incompatibilities, there is, nonetheless, a certain amount of shift in population from one group to the other- chiefly from the Chinese to Moslem. Three factors are involved here: the less religious, or at least more religiously tolerant, Chinese can change his with less of a break than the Moslem, for whom religion is pretty much a life-and-death matter; in the second place, the Moslems are on the whole a little better off economically than the Chinese; and finally the population increase is definitely greater among the Chinese than among the Moslems. This last condition is hard to explain; it may be that the generally greater incidence of monogamy among the Chinese is responsible; possibly racial differences are the determining factor; or it maybe that the Chinese philosophy regarding life and the hereafter creates an intense desire for progeny not present among the Moslems- though, so far as I know, there is no birth control practised among the latter. Certainly the facts are obvious, and anyone going through Moslem and Chinese communities or living in them is impressed by the comparatively small families of the Moslems.
Intermarriage is one way in which this shift of population is accomplished. In the beginning the Arab mercenaries took Chinese wives, and their descendants have no prejudice against such a procedure. Indeed, as far as I have been able to observe, there is in certain instances a real premium placed on Chinese wives. One Mohammedan official I know of gave preference to his Chinese wife, for, being a woman of education, she represented Chinese culture. Education is now being initiated for Moslem women, but it has progressed at a faster rate among the Chinese. There is, of course, a certain reluctance on the part of most Chinese women to be party to such marriages, for they are not only expected to become Moslem in religion, but they must forgo all contact with their own people. Yet even in peace times, when there is no overt coercion, such marriages do take place; and of course during the turmoil and upheaval of rebellion a great number of such marriages occur, being in effect marriages by capture. On the other hand, I have never heard of a peacetime marriage between a Moslem woman and a Chinese man. Some marriages by capture do take place during disturbed conditions, but they are generally only temporary, because the Moslem woman usually runs away when conditions have quieted down.
Proselytizing is another cause of shift- also from Chinese to Moslem for one of the duties enjoined on the faithful is the winning of proselytes. When there is peace and conditions are normal, the feared and hated Moslems find proselytizing a rather slow process, but always there is a gradual addition to Islam because of the missionary efforts of the followers of the prophet. Sometimes the convert wants merely to fit into a Moslem community or to better his economic position, but sometimes also, conversion is affected because the creed that cries to Allah satisfies a hunger for truth to a degree that the painted effigies in the temples can not.
The greatest number of proselytes, however, are gained during the rebellions; when he is confronted with the traditional alternatives of relinquishing his belief or submitting to the sword, the average Chinese has no hesitation whatever. Of course, many such converts leave after the crisis is past, but a great number remain, for the rite of circumcision gives a peculiar definiteness to the transition and marks the man so that return to the Chinese group is doubly hard. As has been said, most Moslems have as a surname the syllable "Ma." An inquiry into the history of Moslem families with other surnames leads me to believe that they were originally Chinese and became Moslem through various methods of persuasion. Indeed, the Chinese style these Moslems of the "odd" surnames "the persuaded Moslems." However that may be, they seem to be in good standing with their co-religionists (though they are somewhat less zealous) and are definitely a part of the Moslem group in the culture complex of the region.
Finally, there is a population shift from the Chinese to the Moslem group through the adoption of Chinese children by Moslem families. This fits in with the difference in birth rate, which has already been noted. As is the case with marriage and proselytizing, the greater number are forcible adoptions during times of rebellion- then children are of ten spared along with the younger women, and taken as captives to be regularly adopted into Moslem families and brought up as true children of the home. At the end of the rebellion some find their way back to their own families, but by far the greater number, having adapted themselves to the new conditions of life and found them on the whole rather pleasant, are willing to stay on.
Though not as impressive numerically, there is also a regular incidence of peacetime adoptions, largely because of the better economic position of the Moslems and their greater solidarity. A famine or some other general disaster provides opportunity for Moslems to adopt children, both girls and boys, from refugees and from those Chinese whose margin of subsistence is very narrow. But the children of their own poor are taken care of by Moslems, in order that they may not have to be cared for by any Chinese (although there is much less chance in that direction) and so lost to Islam.
In spite of the general incompatibility and antagonism between Moslems and Chinese and the consequent tendency toward segregation in districts where the two groups are most closely in contact, and in addition to the population shift, there are also to be discerned certain reciprocal modifications of character and outlook. The Chinese living in a region where there are large numbers of Moslems seem to take on a certain hardihood and daring. The natives recognize this fact and say that the constant friction brings out the hardiness of one's makeup. The Chinese of the Hochow district, where there is a strong Moslem predominance, are themselves the most successful soldiers and muleteers- to name two of the more dangerous callings- of all the Chinese peoples of the province. On the other hand, a Moslem community in a region where the influence is overwhelmingly Chinese tends to lose some of its religious intolerance, and its members manifest a greater leaning toward, and preference for, scholarship and the so-called learned callings than do those Moslems who are less subjected to culture pressure from the Chinese. Such is outstandingly the case in the community of Hinchow, where the Moslems are definitely a minority.
In summarizing the culture contact found between the Chinese and the Chinese-speaking Moslems in China's northwest one can say that here we have two cultures, differing in race and religion, but having the same regional distribution, the same subsistence economy, and the same language. The barrier erected between the two groups by the deep racial and religious dissimilarities has been made stronger rather than weaker by their sharing of the same subsistence economy. The resulting antagonism has been expressed in conflict of great intensity, which has led to an increasing degree of segregation, notwithstanding a certain interchange of population and some secondary influences. The two peoples stand opposed, with a tendency to seek a solution to their mutual problems through political self-determination.
III. THE CHINESE AND THE SEDENTARY TIBETANS
The second problem of culture contact with which this paper is concerned is the infiltration of Chinese into the region occupied by the Tibetan farming population, many instances of which are found all along the border between the Chinese and Tibetan country. In the region of the Koko Nor an extensive colonization project is in process of development, and the government is putting all possible pressure behind it. Land has been preempted from the Tibetan tribes, with scant regard for their desires, and is being granted to Chinese colonists. In still other districts turbulent Tibetan villages have been brought under strict rule by Chinese authorities, and under the repressive force of such control the Tibetans have been forced to the wall. There are, however, other sections where the Tibetans, aided by favoring circumstances of terrain, have been able to resist even long-continued pressure from the Chinese. The instance we are about to consider falls in neither of these categories: it is an example of infiltration affected without benefit of political pressure, the results of which may therefore be ascribed to cultural causes alone.
It should be noted, first, that the district is located in a sharply defined geographical area, extending for about seventy miles along the upper course of the Tao River- from a point about twenty miles above Hinchow to the last of the villages of the Choni clans, twenty-five miles from Taochow. Most of those villages are in the main valley of the Tao River, although a few are to be found on some of the larger tributaries to the south. For part of the distance the river forms the boundary between Chinese and Tibetan villages; then Tibetan villages appear on both sides of the stream, though Chinese influence predominates on the northern bank for some distance.
Little farming is carried on at a height above 10,000 feet, and the riverside level of this area is from 8,000 to 9,000 feet above sea level. The elevation, combined with the close proximity to forested mountains of considerable height, insures a fairly regular and adequate rainfall- indeed, some years the problem is not lack of rain but too much of it. The growing season is quite short, and the principal crops are barley, soybeans, peas and even some wheat. The soil is definitely not so fertile as in the characteristic loess region and requires not only barnyard composite but sometimes special burnings of sod to make it productive. Even then the yield is far below that of the Titao and Hochow districts.
On the other hand, the extensive forest and the good grating slopes furnish the inhabitants with two kinds of supplementary activity. By means of lumbering and charcoal-burning the forests are exploited to supplement the yield of the fields, and the available pasture has stimulated the keeping of livestock to an appreciably greater extent than in typical Chinese farming country.
As one follows the river upstream, there is a gradual but definite change in the physical characteristics of the region. The pockets of the loess formation found within the protecting contours of steep hills become infrequent, the forests that stand or hang on the shady slopes become increasingly dense and valuable, and the soil becomes progressively poorer. There is a steady gain in altitude in the valley floor of about one thousand feet in the seventy miles, with an accompanying change in the methods and schedule of agriculture. The terracing so characteristic of a Chinese landscape decreases, and more and more the fields are found only on the differing levels or natural terraces of the valley floor.
Following the river up this steadily changing valley, we pass from one clearly defined culture pattern to another, progressing through all the intermediate stages in the successive villages. Thus, a trip of seventy or eighty miles takes one through a veritable laboratory of cultural change, with every step labeled and illustrated. In the first village Chinese culture is dominant, and there are only vague traces of Tibetan influence; as one moves on, Tibetan influence increases to a point where the two cultures are evenly balanced; and from there on Chinese influence decreases until in the farthest villages the Tibetan aspect of life and manners is virtually unadulterated.
Such a trip likewise recalls a certain sequence of events that makes it almost a journey into the past; for, leaving the first village, which is Chinese in almost everything but its name (even that is pronounced with a Chinese inflection and tones), one leaves, in a sense, the present and travels gradually backwards in time until he reaches the last village, which, with its dominantly Tibetan character, represents what the now definitely Chinese village once was. This journey into the past has been in terms not of years but of events and cultural changes; indeed, it is hardly possible to think of the history of the district in any other terms, for there is very little authentic local history. The Chinese of the adjoining region were once military colonists, placed as garrisons on the border- marches in the time of the Ming dynasty. That dynasty began in the thirteenth century and lasted to the seventeenth century; sometime during those four centuries considerable numbers of Chinese colonists were brought into the nearby Taochow districts. (Descendants of some of those colonists can even today point back to their ancestral homes, many of which were in the Nanking district in far-off Kiangsu.) The aboriginal tribes which inhabited the territory were followed by Mongols. The so-called Mongol wall (the ruins of which can still be seen, the fortified end of the long rampart occupying an almost impregnable position within a bend of the Tao River), was based on one of the garrison cities of the Mongol dynasty. In the Field Museum is an octagonal pillar, brought back from the Kansu-Tibetan border by Dr. Laufer, which commemorated this city of Yang-ba, now a mere heap of ruins.
So much for the historical background of the district. The Tibetans of the villages we mention have the tradition that, in whole or in part, they came from central Tibet shortly after the downfall of the Yan or Mongol dynasty. The Choni Tu-si, who rules over the district traces his lineage back eighteen generations to a Lhasa family, and certainly the Choni dialect more nearly resembles that spoken in Lhasa than does any other dialect of northeastern Tibet. Unquestionably there must have been other groups of Tibetans or unidentified peoples in the region, whose cultures were merged with that brought from central Tibet.
With only a few exceptions these mixed villages, called by the Chinese "pan fan tsi" (half-Tibetan) are under the rule of the Choni Tu-si, who holds authority from the Chinese government. The pattern of hereditary rule is little changed by such an overlordship on the part of the Chinese authorities. The Choni Tu-si, or, as the Tibetans call him, Choni Tbon-po, administers the affairs of the region through village head-man. The court of final appeal in matters of law, equity, or administration is the Choni Tusi himself. In view of the deep-rooted aversion of the Tibetans to paying anything in the nature of taxes, it is interesting to note that although regular taxes of a sort are collected they are not nearly so heavy as those paid by the Chinese of the nearby county of Taochow. All taxes go to the Choni Tu-si personally, and except for special assessments levied on him, none are turned over to the Chinese government. In each village there is a head-man ("tseng-kuan"), who is appointed by the Choni Tu-si and who is responsible for the affairs of the village. As the village is the basic unit of control, this head-man has a position of considerable authority. Next above the village is "the banner" an aggregation of several villages- which has to do with the organization of the militia, to which every village furnishes a quota. Matters concerning the "banner" as a whole are settled in a council of the head-men under the direct on of official point by, and acting under, the Ta-si himself.
The Chinese of the nearby Chinese communities are organized in exactly the same way as the Chinese of the Hochow district, as described in connection with the cultural contacts between the Chinese and the Moslems. Again we find that the village is the important unit of organization, that the village organization is integrated in the county, and that the village authorities are answerable to the county magistrate. These Chinese villages are taxed much more heavily than are the "pan fan tsi" villages. Direct control by the Chinese government has been extended over a few of the Tibetan villages; the reasons for this are not altogether clear- certainly it is not a case of any preponderance of Chinese culture, for some of these villages are quite far up in Tibetan country and in their culture conform more to the Tibetan pattern than to the Chinese. Conversely, there are villages which have become almost exclusively Chinese but still remain under the Choni Tu-si. From local tradition we learn that secessionist movements have taken place at times when the community resented some decision or fiat of his and have brought about direct control by the Chinese. Then, too, there were, and still are, a number of hereditary chiefs of minor importance (some of whom have only a dozen or more families as subjects). In many instances these groups are being eliminated by nearby local authorities, the means used being not unlike those used by Hitler in taking over Austria. It is interesting to note that in no instance has the Chinese government tried to put into force the system of taxation current in the typical Chinese regions.
Another political factor is the secular power wielded by the great religious establishments or by powerful lamas- Living Buddhas. This varies from village to village and from place to place. In the river district alone there are about a dozen of these religious establishments, or lamaseries. In some instances they are the effective governing agency and have subjects directly under them. In other places they function under the patronage of the Choni Tu-si, often times having really the upper hand as far as power is concerned. Again they may be at outs with him; and since they can carry on a very effective opposition he must reckon with them.
At the present time there is no overt action on the part of the Chinese government leading to direct political domination. Indeed, it is sometimes amazing to find the Chinese officials seemingly content to let matters remain in forms that are centuries old and obviously outmoded. But on the other hand there is a very clear and certain note of Chinese dominance in all that concerns the "pan fan tsi" village communities. Under orders from their Tu-si, the inhabitants cut and haul lumber for the use of the provincial government and perform much service for the Chinese government. Behind every problem that may arise in border affairs is the sure knowledge that the Chinese government is all powerful when it wishes to be and that their Tu-si continues in office as a tool (if at times a very unwilling one) of the Chinese authorities. It is hard to determine just how largely this factor underlies the culture contact of the border. It has not been a disruptive force, as it has been in some other regions, acting to enforce colonization or to deprive Tibetans of their land; and in some ways, especially in the matter of taxation, the Tibetans seem to fare better than the Chinese. Nevertheless, the power of the government looms large in the thinking of every Tibetan or half-Tibetan of the region, and by creating issues of prestige and advantage has definitely affected the cultural contacts of the border peoples. After all, this prestige and advantage can fairly be said to represent one phase of the demonstrably stronger culture of the Chinese, and we are justified, therefore, in giving it place among the interactive aspects of the two cultures.
Applying to the Chinese-Tibetan contact the same criteria used in defining the Chinese-Moslem pattern, we find those criteria realigned: in religion and occupation the Chinese and Tibetans are similar; in race and language they are dissimilar. Yet, lest we should be tempted to assign identical values to these factors, we must remember that the words similar and dissimilar represent two extremes, and all the facts that we label one or the other may lie, in reality, at any distance from those two extremes and may, in addition, show infinite variations both of kind and of degree. In contrast to the violent incompatibility existing between the Chinese and the Moslems, we have between Chinese and Tibetans a mutual tolerance in matters of religious belief and practise. One of the three great religions professed by the Chinese is Buddhism, and in the mixed religion practised by the Tibetans Buddhism is one of the two principal ingredients; thus is created an adequate basis for religious comity. In noting the religious differences between the Chinese and Moslems we have already discussed the religious complex of the Chinese; the Chinese of the border differ from those already described in that they place a greater emphasis upon Buddhism to the neglect of some aspects of Confucianism. In particular do the more uneducated tend to become almost entirely Buddhistic in observance; the scholars, of course, give greater place to the doctrines of the Sacred Books of Confucian teaching and always refer to themselves as members of the Confucian sect. Also, the Chinese of the border country possibly influenced by the religious fervor of the Tibetans- appear more religious-minded than their fellow countrymen of the Titao district. Thus we see that in assigning similar values to the religious beliefs and practises of the Chinese of this district and those of another district we must qualify the evaluation, for there are distinct differences both of kind and degree. When we say that the Chinese and the Tibetans have the same religion, we mean that because of mutual tolerance the differences in their beliefs have no fundamental effect on the cultural relationship between the two groups.
The faith of the Tibetans is, in fact, far different from that of the Chinese. Buddhism as developed among the Tibetans has been largely adulterated by the incorporation of many of the beliefs and practises of the early Bon religion of Tibet. Sects which are frankly of the sorcerer variety flourish, and the admission of the mountain gods, earth spirits, and water demons of the localized Bon religion to the Buddhist pantheon has changed the horizon of the Tibetan's religious thinking and has even marked the very landscape in which he lives. On the one hand the Tibetan works his hardest to fulfill all the requirements of Buddhism, devoting himself to prayers and meditation; on the other hand he marks his calendar with the festivals of local mountain gods and crowns the mountain tops with shrines of fearsome beings that are like gods of a truly savage faith.
Not only is the content of Tibetan religious belief quite different from that of the Chinese, but the Tibetan in his whole-hearted devotion to, and absorption in, things religious differs significantly from the more matter-of-fact Chinese. We have defined the essential aspect of Chinese culture as consisting of a special preoccupation with the tie with the past. The corresponding aspect of Tibetan culture may be discovered in religion, although there is a secondary response to the demands of the community, communal necessity superseding any demand of the individual. Bit, underlying these considerable differences in expression and importance of religion among the two groups, there is the common factor of Buddhism, and overlying them is the tolerance we have remarked; thus, in making a broad classification, we are not unjustified-particularly in the face of the Chinese-Moslem conflict-in stating that the Chinese and Tibetans are similar in religion.
In the matter of occupation there is less need for qualification in putting the Chinese and the Tibetans of the region into the same category. Both are peasant farmers, the greater number owning their own fields; they raise not only all their own food but a surplus which is sold to provide whatever cloth and general notions are needed. Both engage in some subsidiary value-producing activity: the Chinese supply wood and fodder to the city and keep a few sheep for wool, which is made into felts and woolen cloth; the Tibetans keep some livestock (their diet is heavier in milk products and meat than that of the Chinese), share the exploitation of the forest to some extent, and, like the Chinese, sell firewood and charcoal.
In both groups the village is supremely important as a unit of organization, socially and politically. The villages are much alike in size, the average village having a population of between twenty and thirty families, but in organization and functioning the Chinese village and the Tibetan village show differences. Within the organization of the Chinese village we find not only a compact family unit but a clan system as well. The Tibetans, on the other hand, have no clearly defined clan organization, and their family is a much looser group than among the Chinese. Nevertheless, the Chinese village organization permits a considerable degree of individualism, whereas in the Tibetan village communal activity completely over shadows individual activity. Whether this is because the Chinese family and clan compete with the village organization, thereby acting as a check on the exercise of village authority, or whether the more advanced level of Chinese culture necessarily entails greater liberty of action and initiative for the individual is hard to determine. In all matters relating to the village-owned woodlands and pasture-lands, as well as in all matters regulating the time of planting, harvesting, etc., the Tibetan village acts with a solidarity and unanimity that is comparatively lacking in a Chinese village community, although that community also owns communal wood-lots and pastures.
In spite of these differences- which still permit the use of the word "similar" but forbid the assigning of identical values in any proposed equation- the subsistence routine is substantially the same for the Chinese farmer and for the Tibetan farmer, and the village of the one has a close resemblance to that of the other. In the subsequent discussion, centering around the development of a Chinese village out of what was once a Tibetan village, the similarities of occupation and organization will have considerable significance.
When we say that the Chinese and Tibetans are racially dissimilar, we again have to qualify the word, for both are unquestionably Mongoloid. It is greatly to be regretted that we do not have anthropometric data as a basis for comparison and so must content ourselves with saying that the Chinese and Tibetans differ in appearance to about the same degree as a Frenchman differs from a typical Italian. The process of infiltration over a number of generations has, of course, given rise to many intermediate types, but the existence of recognizably intermediate types does not conceal the essential differences of the two parent stocks.
The Choni dialect of Tibet, like other variations of the rong-skad, or "valley speech,' of the sedentary peoples of northeastern Tibet, is distinct from the drok-skad, or "steppe speech," of the nomadic peoples. It is somewhat like the Lhasa dialect-particularly in vowel values and its disregarding of final and prefixed consonants. It is, of course, radically different from Chinese; between these two peoples the language dissimilarity is as great as, or even greater than, that between a Germanic language and a Romance language, and this dissimilarity must be taken into account in the consideration of any problem of culture contact between the two peoples.
This culture contact is quite one-sided, the agents being, almost without exception, Chinese; the contact can be said to be reciprocal only in so far as the Tibetan community as a whole exerts an influence on the Chinese migrants within it. The Tibetans go into Chinese country to visit, but they do not attempt to settle down and make their way among the people. The only exception to this rule that might be cited is the movement of qualified Buddhist bonzes, or monks, into Chinese territory to officiate in religious establishments. Even for such purposes the movement is confined largely to the borders of Mongolia and in no way enters into the relationship of the Chinese and Tibetans of our border. These religious ventures to Mongolia, and even to Pekin, area very interesting phenomenon; they are carried on as a recognized trade, in which the bonzes of the Tibetan lamaseries sell their highly valued religious services to the more wealthy and simple-hearted Mongols and in due time return with a considerable fortune in the form of smuggled rifles, which bring enormous further profits to the pontifical travelers.
The one-sided movement of migrants from the Chinese into the Tibetan country is chiefly attributable to two causes: first, population pressure makes the fallow fields of the Tibetan villages very tempting to the land hungry Chinese; and second, the Tibetan country for a number of reasons is the traditional refuge for Chinese of the nearby communities whenever rebellion or banditry is rife. We have already seen that the Chinese, with their large families, constitute a population reservoir from which the overflow will pass into any group which does not have a similarly strong population pressure. Certainly the Tibetans, and especially the village people of the Choni district, offer no such resistance, for their population is unquestionably on the decrease. An extreme example is a village in the valley of Luchu, very near the upper limits of the district, which, because it is relatively inaccessible to the stream of Chinese immigration, appears to be dying out. Among the twenty or more houses there, four or five are deserted and in various stages of dilapidation, and at least half of the area once cultivated (indicated by terracing and boundary ridges) is now permanently fallow. So it is in most of the tributary valleys of the Tao River, where Chinese migration has not kept pace with the recession of the Tibetan population. Even where a line has persisted one finds a family of three or four persons occupying a great house built to shelter a dozen or more and tilling only a fraction of their fields.
It is hard to say just what forces have caused this gradual decline in population. Most of the causes to which population decline is generally ascribed are not operative in this case. Chinese population pressure has followed rather than produced the fact; economic pressure cannot be held accountable, for there is considerable more land available than is being utilized, and the native population is not sufficient for an adequate exploitation of the natural resources. It has been suggested that when a stronger and disruptive culture comes in contact with a simpler and more primitive one, breaking down ceremonies and beliefs, population follows because the community as a whole loses the basic satisfaction of a well rounded pattern of life. The impact of the somewhat similar and extremely tolerant Chinese system of religion and philosophy could not have produced the results observable among the Tibetans; yet religion has unquestionably had both directly and indirectly, an effect in producing this decline in population. Northern Buddhism as practised by the Tibetans is not only basically agnostic, but it is apathetic and antisocial in its philosophy of negation and in its emphasis on asceticism. All sexual irregularity is condemned, the marriage relationship itself is defined as only a degree less sinful, and the desire for progeny is stigmatized as a "desire of the blood" incompatible with religious success. What all this has done to the Tibetan and how large a part it plays in producing population decline cannot be stated with any accuracy, but it certainly has had a part.
A clearer cause of the population decline is to be recognized in the religious institution of monasticism. Various estimates have been made as to the percentage of the Tibetan population to be found in lamaseries. There are no adequate figures available, but for this part of Tibet about one seventh of the population would not be too high an estimate. If the sex ratio were anywhere near equal, that would be nearly one out of every three males. I know of many families who have one boy out of two, or even two boys out of three, in lamaseries. Such an arrangement has not only thrown the sex ratio and marriage out of balance but has resulted in homosexuality, incest, and a great amount of license. Correspondingly, there is a very high incidence of venereal disease. This is particularly true of the farming peoples of the lower part of the Tao valley. All this has a very direct influence on population decline. One further physiological factor should be mentioned: the introduction of the use of opium among those Tibetans nearest to Chinese communities and influence. As in the case of the introduction of liquor among the American Indians, that drug produces far more disastrous effects upon the Tibetans than upon the Chinese, who are habituated to its use and have developed a certain degree of resistance.
Finally, a low resistance to disease has played a part in the population recession among the Tibetans. In instance after instance of epidemics of smallpox, scarlet fever, and influenza, as well as in treating individual cases of infections, we have found that the Tibetans have much less resistance to such germ infections than do the Chinese. I have vaccinated Chinese children and Tibetan children from the same tube of vaccine and found that with the Chinese it would barely "take," while the Tibetans would have cases of varioloid which in general severity approached light cases of smallpox itself. The fear the Tibetans have of epidemic diseases and the strict quarantines they put into effect, in contrast to the careless attitude of the average Chinese community, clearly indicate this difference in resistive power.
Not only have the tempting fields and receding population of the Tibetan community invited Chinese penetration, but the Tibetan country has again and again been a most effective refuge for those fleeing from the three great Mohammedan rebellions and from other, secondary visitations of bandits and contending armies. In such circumstances the closely integrated Tibetan community acts more promptly and efficiently to defend itself than does the Chinese community, for the Tibetans are by habit armed to an extent unknown among the Chinese. The Tao River, too, has been a protecting barrier, and back of all the fords and passes which offer means of defense are the great forests to afford cover and fuel for the refugees.
The Tibetans, like many unsophisticated peoples, are rather softhearted toward refugees, especially if they be destitute. (They are often sufficiently troublesome toward those who have possessions and wealth). By Tibetan custom the right of refuge has become one of the basic rights, and when it is reinforced by the claims of acquaintance and the functioning of the "guest-host" system this right of refuge can open a path into the most exclusive of Tibetan communities. During the most recent Mohammedan rebellion, when many were fleeing its troubles and violence, we were accorded permission to stay in a Tibetan village with a tolerance that would not have been possible under ordinary circumstances.
Having discussed the occasions and agents which promote contact between Chinese and Tibetans, we shall indicate briefly the salient aspects of the process involved. The refugee situation does not, of course, constitute a complete process of contact; it merely creates favorable circumstances for the process, just as does the allure of empty fields, economic adventure, or manual labor in the exploitation of the natural resources. Sometimes the processor contact is contained within the mechanics of intermarriage, which is of two kinds: the matrilocal, in which the Chinese man takes his place as son-in-law in the Tibetan home, and the patrilocal, in which he is able through his wife's connections to set up his own home in the Tibetan community.
In every instance intermarriage is between a Chinese man and a Tibetan woman- never between a Tibetan man and a Chinese woman. This is attributable partly to the fact that, except in the refugee situation, the advance agents of culture contact are men and partly to the dislocation of the sex ratio among the Tibetans by the inroad made on the male population by the lamaseries. There is still another element. Tibetans have revealed to me that they find Chinese women, with their extreme decorousness, much less attractive than the Tibetan women who, with a background of greater social freedom, have very much of a "good -sport" outlook and manner. And Chinese men admit, although rather shamefacedly, that Tibetan women, with their rough-and-readiness of action and great out-of-doors industry are definitely attractive to them.
Whenever a likely young Chinese is taken into a Tibetan home as a son-in-law, he naturally becomes as like a Tibetan in dress, mannerisms, and speech as he can. If other agents do not operate to bring him into further contact with Chinese culture, he may become very much of a Tibetan. His children will be brought up as Tibetans, and after a generation or so only a Tibetan nickname, such as "Chinese boy," baby be left to indicate that there is any Chinese blood in the family. In the number of children, however, his family will be more Chinese than Tibetan.
When a Chinese man marries a Tibetan wife and establishes his own home, however, he generally makes an effort to set up a Chinese home and to maintain the Chinese manner of living and outlook. Especially is this true if he has living with him any members of his Chinese connection mother, brothers, or other relatives. Although the girls of the family will copy the Tibetans in dress and manners the boys will be brought up with the idea that they are Chinese and, even though they acquire Tibetan mannerisms and habits of dress, will avoid identification with the Tibetans. When Chinese cultural pressure is thus maintained through the processes of contact, these half-Tibetan homes become foci of Chinese influence and change.
Adoption constitutes another process of contact within the family. Tibetan families are often pitifully anxious for children, and there are many instances of their adopting Chinese children. This is especially true of boys, who can better perpetuate the family line. The Chinese lad becomes thoroughly "Tibetanized" and reacts to Chinese cultural influence to no greater degree than do the full-bodied Tibetans of the community.
In a strictly Chinese community the children of mixed marriages are Tibetans often referred to slightingly as half but in a mixed community they seem to have the same status as those who are entirely Chinese or entirely Tibetan. For, although the Tibetans on occasion resent Chinese domination and can have quite strong feelings against them. It is rather for what they represent in outside influence than for the fact that they have Chinese blood in their veins. If the individual acts in accordance with recognized behavior patterns, the Tibetans seem to care very little whether he is half Chinese, half Mongolian, or half something else.
In addition to contacts which are created within the family, there are others of a strictly economic character. Certain craftsmen, such as carpenters, blacksmiths, and millers, very easily obtain a foothold in a Tibetan community. They find there a very inferior kind of competition from most of the Tibetan artisans, although once in a while there is a Tibetan workman of outstanding skill and reputation. Much of the trade of to village will also gradually pass into the hands of the Chinese trader who may come just on a single trade-errand and remain to open a shop and set up a business. Finally, there are those who may come into the community life as laborers, willing to do anything and to work a bit harder than the Tibetans to make a livelihood. In this category are harvest laborers, lumbermen, and charcoal burners.
To complete the picture of this very one-sided cultural contact we must indicate some of its results. There is no doubt that the first and most obvious one is the immediate "Tibetanization" of the migrants. They come seeking favor and tolerance from the members of the community, not as conquerors, so that both convenience and policy favor the adoption of at least a part of the Tibetan garb and as much of Tibetan usage as they can without running counter to deep-seated Chinese prejudices. As has been intimated, this initial Tibetanization varies in degree according to the different factors in the process of the cultural contact. The Chinese son -in-law in a Tibetan home will go completely Tibetan, but in his own home he will retain some Chinese usage and technology even though he becomes largely Tibetan in habits, dress, and home arrangements. The wholly Chinese family in a Tibetan community will remain almost entirely Chinese in culture, taking over only such Tibetan practises as are obviously more convenient or make life in the community smoother.
This adoption of Tibetan ways is most noticeable in the matter of clothing. This is natural, for their clothes are far more convenient for Tibetan life than are Chinese garments. Great sheepskin coats, felt-lined boots, and fur hats are well suited to the rigors of the Tibetan climate and can be easily procured locally. As the woman usually bears the responsibility of preparing clothing for the family, this is the only kind of attire in homes where the wife is Tibetan. A Chinese wife may keep to Chinese clothing for herself, regarding the big Tibetan gown worn without trousers as being somewhat indecent, but she will try to make Tibetan garments for the men of the family (yet however much of a Tibetan a Chinese may become in dress he usually continues to wear trousers). The Chinese readily adopt the pots and pans of the Tibetan home; the women folk discard the two water buckets carried on a shoulder-pole and follow the Tibetan practise of the single large vessel slung from the shoulders and balanced on the small of the back. The men learn to use saddles, pack-gear, and other such pieces of Tibetan equipment.
There is, of course, not only an outright adoption of the Tibetan language for all the contacts of daily life during the initial Tibetanization of the migrants, but there is also a certain amount of linguistic borrowing. The two most notable aspects of such borrowing are, first, the acceptance of certain distinctly Tibetan forms of construction (most obvious in the matter of word order), and second, the borrowing of Tibetan words that become incorporated into the Chinese language of the border areas. A complete analysis of word order would be a most complex matter, so we shall select only one salient difference between the two languages and then, by taking one example, show how the influence of Tibetan usage has modified the Chinese word order. In typical Tibetan the verb always comes at the end of the sentence or phrase; in Chinese the verb order is much like that in English. As a short example we have the sentence, "mount the horse." The Chinese sentence would be: ch'i (ride) shang (up) ma (horse). But in the case of an imperative there is an atypical usage; the sentence is introduced by the word pa (sign of the optative) and the word order is reversed, the verbal phrase coming at the end: pa (sign of the optative) ma (horse) ch'i (ride) shang (up). In such case the use of pa is essential.
The typical Tibetan version of the sentence would be: rta (horse) zhon (ride-imperative form). This rule in Tibetan by which the verb always comes at the end-as in German- has influenced word order in Chinese as spoken in the border communities to the extent that, ignoring the usage of the word pa (sign of the optative), they will say: ma (horse) ch'i (ride) shang (up). The change in the order of two words seems a mere trifle until one hears the sentence with critical Chinese ears; then it sounds utterly atypical and foreign to standard Chinese usage, even though all the words are Chinese. This is just one example of how border Chinese reveals the influence of Tibetan usage.
Tibetan words are also incorporated into the vocabulary of the Chinese migrants and, to a certain extent, disseminated throughout the communities along the border which, as a result of the culture contacts between the two peoples, have become largely Chinese. Such words are pronounced with all the peculiarities of the Chinese phonetic system and with Chinese tones added to syllables that originally were non-tonal. The problem of linguistic borrowing between the Chinese and Tibetans is complicated by the factor of common origin, and tone is even more confused and controversial. The short list which, follows will serve to indicate specific instances of Chinese borrowing and to show how Chinese tones have been used. As the matter of language borrowing is involved in another one of the four cases of culture contact we are describing, a short statement of the essential differences between Chinese and Tibetan is here inserted.
Unquestionably there are fundamental similarities between Chinese and Tibetan, especially if we take for comparison modern, spoken Tibetan rather than classical Tibetan, which has been so greatly dominated by Sanskrit form and usage. Dr. Sapir, in view of this fact, has very aptly placed classical Tibetan and modern Tibetan in two different categories. Tibetan is basically a monosyllabic language but, through the frequency of combination and the use of many particles, exhibits many polysyllabic features. (Chinese, of course, also manifests similar phenomena but to a lesser degree.) Two phonetic distinctions sharply separate Chinese and Tibetan. One is the series of retroflex consonants that is such a marked characteristic of Chinese, and the other is the Chinese system of tones. Tibetan has been called a tonal language; if we concede that what we get from the placement of initial consonants is "tone" (far forward being high and far back, low), then Tibetan is "tonal"-but no more so than, let us say, Hindi, or many other languages. Chinese on the other hand has an arbitrary set of tones (four or five, depending on the dialect) which may be given to any combination of sounds no matter how far forward or how far back the initial consonant be placed. Thus when compared with Chinese, Tibetan may well be classified as a non-tonal language although not no-tonal in the strictest sense.
The added Chinese tones have been indicated by numerals written above the syllables. Care has been taken not to include any instance in which the Chinese word and the Tibetan word have obviously been derived from a common source. Many such words are to be found in the centers of language usage and culture, but the list given above contains words incorporated into the language only in the area of contact and common only in border usage. In addition to the Chinese tones and the transposition into the retroflex series of many of the initial sounds, the stresses and vowel qualities have been clearly modified to harmonize with the typical language pattern into which the word has been incorporated.
Closely associated with language borrowings is a certain change in the use of names. The Tibetans of Amdo have only personal names; there are no strictly family names or surnames. This lack is sometimes compensated for by the use of village or clan names, or of nicknames prefixed to the personal name. The typical Chinese, however, are punctilious in the use of the surname, personal names being rarely used outside of an extremely limited circle. It is noticeable that the Chinese of the border towns, and especially those living in the Tibetan communities, tend more and more to disregard surnames and use only personal names- often defined by reference to some personal idiosyncrasy such as "hare-lip" or "cripple"- in one another, thereby following Tibetan usage.
The Chinese migrants accept to a considerable extent the Tibetan communal ideals and customs relating to village loyalty and communal activities. In a way they can do nothing else and still remain in the community; but through continued residence they become accustomed to such communal activity and will often declare that village loyalty such as the Tibetans have is preferable to the greater individualism in the Chinese village, for one of its results is a somewhat greater degree of community security. When, however, Chinese infiltration has progressed to the point where a community is preponderantly Chinese, that loyalty and communal behavior become correspondingly weakened.
Lastly, the migrants take on much of Tibetan religious belief and practise. The sudden accentuation of the Buddhist aspects of belief and observance in the Chinese religious complex is of course initiated to a considerable degree by the necessity or desirability of gaining favor with the Tibetans, but before long the new religion acquires a definite and genuine hold on the Chinese mind and temperament. This conversion to a revived form of Buddhism manifests itself in a number of ways. There is, first of all, a personal participation in Tibetan religious activity, most frequently expressed in the saying of Tibetan prayers and religious formulae, personal participation in the circumambulation of shrines, the use of the prayer wheel, and the making of regular offerings of incense to the local deities. There is a unique family participation, in conformance to Tibetan religious custom, in the designating of sons as priests in the lamaseries, and this strikes hard at the Chinese family ideal and desire for progeny. Finally, there is participation in all the village or community festivals by personal attendance, and the making of contributions to defray expenses.
In distinction to these initial results of Tibetan culture on the agents of contact-migrants that come from Chinese regions into a Tibetan village community there later develops a secondary cumulative effect on the Tibetans. Of course, trade contacts made by the Tibetans themselves and certain aspects of overt or covert political pressure all contribute to enforcing or inducing a response on the part of the Tibetans to the pressure of Chinese culture, but the agents through whom the greatest degree of Chinese cultural pressure comes to bear on the Tibetans is through those same migrants.
The isolated migrant left to himself in the midst of Tibetan influence and environment would no doubt sooner or later become Tibetan; but behind him, and in successive stages reinforcing him, is the sustained population pressure from the Chinese country. One by one, others follow his lead, pressing into the Tibetan community through the opening he has made. Once a number of Chinese families are established in a village, simply as a matter of the difference in the birth rate of the two groups (for even with a Tibetan wife a Chinese man produces a larger family than is found in the all-Tibetan marriage), the Chinese are sure to gain; and bit by bit the community becomes more and more like a Chinese village. Finally, Chinese influence increases because the agents who exert that influence and spread that culture have a definite advantage over the Tibetans: namely, a certain "savoir faire" when it comes to dealing with the encroachments of the Chinese government. They can talk the language of government officials and wealthy merchants and traders, and they have definitely superior business ability and industry. The village oil-press or grist-mill sooner or later passes into the hands of a Chinese if, as is generally the case, he has not started it himself. So by superior intelligence and initiative the Chinese members of the village community forge to the front.
The impact of Chinese culture upon the Tibetans is manifested in a number of ways, and just as clearly as is the initial Tibetanization of the Chinese migrants. Indications of such impact run all the way from changes in habits of dress and in building arrangements to changes in language usage and nomenclature. It can be safely said that the Tibetans of this region regard trousers as superfluous, feeling that their long coats bloused at the hips and falling to anywhere from the ankles to above the knees, as occasion or the varying custom of each district might require are quite sufficient to modesty. As we have mentioned, the Chinese hangs onto his trousers no matter how big a Tibetan cost he may wear, and so the general use of trousers among the Tibetans of the so-called half-Tibetan villages has become a symbol of swank or prestige. Although the Tibetans of any district upon gala occasions wear highly-colored jackets or shirts in addition their "falling apart" and "falling off" coats, it is only those in close contact with the Chinese who have taken to wearing such shirts every day. Still more significant is the rapid spread of the use of chopsticks among the Tibetans, for chopsticks area typically Chinese implement and the degree of their use among Tibetans is in direct ratio to the degree of Chinese cultural penetration.
Most significant of all the material borrowings is the adoption among the Tibetans of the kang- the heated platform or masonry bed of the Chinese which is the most important part of the Chinese house. In the great earthquake of 1922, when so many thousands of villages in eastern Kansu were destroyed, it was interesting to note the order followed in repairing the home. In the bitterly cold winter weather, walls and a roof were matters of secondary importance. The first concern was to make a kane and build a smudge fire of refuse and stable- cleanings under it; then the family camped comfortably on top of the heated platform until the matter of walls and roof could be attended to. The Tibetans as a whole seem more architecturally inclined than the Chinese-perhaps because the fine timbers of the region encourage building ambitions. The Tibetan house of the Choni district is quite an imposing two-story, fort-like structure, superior in every way to the typical Chinese house (though in the nearby Chinese communities the Tibetan style of architecture has been adopted). But in the matter of the kang, the Tibetans are following the Chinese slowly, for in the Tibetan communities farther removed from Chinese influence it is unknown, or at least used only infrequently. In the Choni district there is only one to a home, and it is so constructed that the fire in the semi-open hearth serves not only for cooking but for heating the platform as well. The Chinese on the other hand, must have one in every room, and indeed the signification of a Tibetan village can be gauged with a fair degree of accuracy by the number of kangs found in its homes.
We also find a change among the Tibetans in the matter of surnames. In those villages which have sustained the greatest degree of cultural contact with the Chinese and in which the re-sinification of the original initially Tibetanized migrants has therefore progressed the furthest, we find that the Tibetans have arbitrarily taken unto themselves Chinese surnames, the entire population often taking the same name. Throughout much of the Choni district one surname occurs with the greatest frequency- that of the Choni Tu-si himself. The adoption of a surname is most interesting when we consider it in the light of the origin of surnames among the Chinese themselves. Originally, the people or subjects of a state were called the "black-haired peoples," and the ideograph for the syllable "people" was the picture of a man kneeling, with his hands tied behind his back. Later, as a special honor-almost like the creation of a hereditary order of nobility- the emperor conferred family names. The book of surnames is known as the book of "the hundred surnames," so it would seem that the number was once strictly limited. Now all Chinese have surnames, and the word for citizens or the people is "hundred surnames." The Tibetans in borrowing surnames thus seem to be following a step that the Chinese themselves once took in social organization.
In the processes of culture contact the Tibetans have also borrowed extensively from the Chinese language, and we present a sample list of such borrowings. The words have been properly incorporated into the language, with no attempt made to reproduce Chinese tones or inflection, and with the consonants represented by the nearest Tibetan equivalents.
A comparison of this list with that of the words borrowed from the Tibetan by the Chinese and of the material and symbolic borrowings between the two peoples indicates that the Chinese borrowings have been largely of a utilitarian nature whereas those of the Tibetans have been of a more cultural and symbolic nature.
Only in the matter of religion is there little, if any, change. It would seem that even in the face of a definitely superior culture, positive religious fervor has some advantage over passive religion, for even a Tibetan community which has been made over almost entirely into a Chinese community will bear the stamp of the Tibetan emphasis on religion, the great force of their belief exceeding that of a definitely superior culture.
The general process of cultural contact and change between these two distinct cultural groups has generated surprisingly little ill-feeling. Nowhere is there the bitter, though smoldering. enmity found between Moslems and Chinese. Yet, though the degree may vary according to both the individual and the community, there is no doubt that the Chinese feel definitely superior to, and look down upon, the Tibetans. After all, the Tibetans historically are to them part of the barbarians and their names--the th (eastern barbarians), runi (western barbarians), and man (southern barbarians)-stand as . terms of reproach on the pages of Chinese history. The Tibetans are a singularly proud and sensitive people and resent such an attitude accordingly. the various attitudes generated by such opinions are factors in the cultural contacts of the two peoples.
Without attempting to give a completely balanced summary of the various stages in the creation of a Chinese village out of what was once a Tibetan community, it is possible to epitomize the whole by bringing into relief three aspects of that process and change. The first Chinese migrants are willing to sacrifice a great part of their heritage in order to fit into the new environment, but it is only when a Chinese has given up everything else that he can bring himself to renounce Chinese burial customs and veneration of the dead. The Tibetans bury their dead, or rather dispose of them either by exposure to the vultures on some mountain side, by burning, or by consigning the bodies to the waters of the river. The river Tibetans generally practise the last-named method. So the matter on which Chinese culture makes its last stand at the end of any number of compromises is that of burial, and soon after the first migrants come to the village W-11 be set aside. The Tibetans have little or no dread in regard to their own methods of disposing of the dead; but burying the dead is to them a fearsome practise, and the plot becomes the haunt of unappeased spirits that have not found release for the next rebirth. To the Chinese that plot represents the one essential aspect of tradition and cultural heritage which they will not relinquish.
Much later, when, by successive arrivals of new migrants, by the slow but sure advance of a higher birth-rate, and by the steady pressure of greater racial virility and economic fitness, the one-time Tibetan village has become very much like a Chinese community, or has at least a preponderance of Chinese characteristics, as the crowning proof of its sinification, the use of the cart enters into the village agricultural routine and technique. The cart is a strictly Chinese method of transportation, and the Tibetans avoid its use with a peculiar obstinacy.
Even when the village has become all "Chinese," however, the quiver shrines of the mountain gods on the tops of the highest mountains are still tended and replenished year after year (the mountain gods are accepted as the gods of the locality); for certain aspects of Tibetan culture and religious observance have persisted in spite of the otherwise nearly complete transformation of the Tibetan village into a Chinese village.
Thus, the case of the cultural contact between the Chinese faming communities and the Tibetan faming communities along the border, as exemplified by conditions in the Choni half-Tibetan villages, represents the impact and steady pressure of a more vigorous culture and people upon a weaker one, beginning with infiltration and ending frequently with dispossession or absorption. In the process the stronger culture sustains changes closely related to, if not identified with, the strongest aspect of the subordinated culture, and the impress of Tibetan religion remains long after other Tibetan characteristics have vanished.
IV. THE MOSLEMS AND THE NOMADIC TIBETANS
The third case of culture contact in the region of the Kansu-Tibetan border is that which occurs between the Moslems living in farming villages and the nomadic Tibetans of the upper steppe country. Some of the Moslem communities described in the first part of this paper- those nearest the Tibetan border and some villages in the Taochow district-are included in the group now under consideration. The villages of the Taochow district exhibit certain regional peculiarities of dress and house-style and differences in agricultural routine incident to the higher altitude, but they are in essentials very like the other exclusively Moslem communities.
It is at this point that the nomadic, or tent-dwelling, Tibetans really enter our discussion, but because when we come to discuss the differences and contacts between the nomadic and sedentary Tibetans we shall describe at length their manner of life, it is necessary here to mention only such aspects of their culture and subsistence economy as give rise to the need and occasion for contact with the Moslems. The particular nomadic tribes which furnish the most typical incidence of trade contacts with the Moslem are the Dok-wo, Ta-tzen, She-tsang, Sa-mtsa, Bu-wa, Ka-chu-ka, Rzak-dum-ba, Sha-me, Za-ru, and Chiao-ko. These tribes, with the exception of Shetsang, Sa-mtsa and Za-ru, are entirely nomadic and are considerably removed from the border area. The three tribes mentioned are partly sedentary and are nearer both to the border and to the farming divisions of their own tribes. There is a distinct tendency for tribes close to the Tibetan farming districts of the border to do their trading for grain among the farming half of their own tribes, even though they are not far from the Chinese border. The more distant nomads, on the other hand, do not stop at the Tibetan farming communities but, having come so far, go a little farther to the Chinese border and beyond, thereby reaching the Moslem communities. Thus, the typical trade contact between the Moslems of the farming communities and the Tibetan nomads is a long-range matter, proximity in no wise entering in. An exception is to be found in the case of the tribes west of this strip of nomadic tribes, who would have to travel for almost a month to reach the Chinese border, and for that reason depend on the Tibetan farming communities in the lower levels of the Yang-tze basin, in Khan, for their grain, never going to the Kansu border for seasonal trade although the hardy and adventurous Moslem traders do go to them.
Nowhere in the territory occupied by these tribes is the altitude less than about 1.1,000 feet above sea level; therefore, they can grow nothing for themselves. There are some edible greens in the region, but, except for those of the onion family, all are distasteful to the nomad; some of the tribes even refuse to eat the large fine-flavored mushrooms that grow on the steppe. The edible potentella supplies a small tuber that is tasty and a great delicacy-the tubers are at beat about the size of a thirty-two caliber bullet-but even in the most favored spots it requires almost a day's, labor or dig a pint of the little roots, and they are good only in the early spring and late fall. Thus if he were to depend entirely upon what he could produce the Tibetan nomad would be restricted to a diet made up exclusively of meat and milk products. Some of the Golok tribes, far up along the pilgrim trail to Lhasa, sometimes do go for considerable periods without grains of any sort; but the Shimdrok tribes. as the tribes I have listed are called, consider grain a necessity.
The region of their home is partly true steppe and partly grass-covered mountains of rounded contours. In the midst of this country, limestone massifs are found in clusters, their peaks rising far above the 14,000-foot limit of the highest pastures of the nomads. Some of it is in the basin of the Yellow River, and the southern fringes are in the Yang-tze drainage. It has by far the best grass-lands in northeastern Tibet; north of this section of the Koko Nor the land is broken by the salt lakes and marshes of Tsai-dam and by stretches of near-desert country, and west of the range of the Shimdrok tribes the Golok country is not only higher and more mountainous but has extensive tracts which have been completely denuded of vegetation by swarms of mouse like rodents. As an index of the comparative excellence of the Shimdrok pasture lands the sheep, horses and cattle of this region are the largest in northeastern Tibet.
Neither in past history nor in present social or political organization do the Moslems and Tibetan nomads have anything in common. The historical background of the Moslems has already been discussed, as has that of the Tibetans, in a way, for there is little reason to distinguish between the historical background of the nomadic Tibetans and that of the sedentary tribes along the border. What little tradition of origin there is among the nomads at the present time serves only to emphasize the uncertainty of that origin. Some hundreds of years ago the chroniclers seem to have lost count of just how many), the kingdom of Hor extended in part, at least, over this portion of Tibet. There are a number of points in the Shimdrok range that are pointed out as places where battles took place between the armies of Hor and China. Just south of the winter camp sites of the Rzak-dum-ba tribe, far up in a magnificent circle of limestone peaks, I was shown, across a great gorge- like valley, the mouth of a cave in the sheer face of a thousand-foot cliff; in that cave are said to be the saddle, weapons, and armor of the Hor-lin-rgyal-po (king of Hor-ling), and some day his successor will come out of that cave and ride once more to lead the Tibetans to victory over their enemies.
For all such traditions, the Tibetans are not sure that they are truly the descendants of the Hor, and I have been able to find no tribal history that goes back more than three hundred years. It is even possible that not so very long ago the region was inhabited by faming peoples; both on the Ba plain where the Yellow River flows into Chinese country and along the banks of that river where the Black River flows into it, there are remains of villages and clearly demarcated fields. Indeed, not far from Sok-tsong, at the knee of the Yellow River, there is a wide flat, called Drag-skye tang (rice-sprout plain), which poses with added force the question whether there have not been very recent changes in climate; for these places are 12,000 feet above sea level and at the present time have such a short summer-only about twenty nights in the year are free of frost-that the natives claim even barley will not ripen. Tribal history always seems to begin with the phrase, "We came from...."
In political organization there is a slight resemblance between the Moslem villages and the encampments of the nomadic Tibetan tribes. That resemblance lies in the fact that the village and encampment are somewhat analogous in social structure and have much the -same functions--an aggregation of families associated for the purpose of protection and to facilitate the exploitation, either agriculturally or pastorally, of nearby land. But there the resemblance ceases. As we have seen, the village is integrated into the organization of a county and administered by a county official, and although it has considerable voice in- the running of its own affairs it has little to say about its relation with the county as a whole and, through the county officials, with the provincial government. The encampment, on the other hand, although associated with a tribe as a unit of tribal organization, maintains considerable independence; and, although it can hardly establish its rights to grazing privileges without the consent of the tribe as a whole, it can, being nomadic, always secede and go somewhere else if it finds tribal rulings harsh and arbitrary or the general atmosphere uncongenial. Thus it has far more self-determination in its relation to the next-larger unit of organization than does the Moslem village in regions administered by the Chinese government; further-more, while tribal custom and law modify to a certain extent the character of encampment rule, the Tibetans acknowledge no law or control beyond that of the tribe. About seventy years ago some of these tribes paid token-taxes to the Chinese government as a sort of yearly tribute, but even that has gone out of practise; and, though in a vague way the Tibetans acknowledge the "emperor's household," i.e., the Chinese government (many of the Tibetans are not sure whether it is in Peking, Mukden, or Nanking), to all practical purposes Chinese law is completely ineffective in the region. Not only are the tribes Independent of the Chinese government but they are even more independent of each other. In effect they are all sovereign states having complete control over their territory and fiercely resentful of any encroachments on their sovereign rights. Their ware and inter-tribal feuds affect their own freedom of movement as they seek to carry on the necessary trade, and the division of the country into dearly defined areas of control makes travel among them a nuisance because of the necessity of arranging safe conduct, etc., with so many different authorities. The Tibetans, though they do not levy formal duties on caravans passing through, extort various payments for "road rights," "grass and water rights," and for guides and escorts to ensure protection, so that the traders pay quite a large hidden tax as they go from tribe to tribe.
The contact existing between the Moslems, whose homes are in the faming country along the border or accessible from the border, and the Tibetan Nomads living some distance away as measured by slow caravan travel, is an unique one. Not only are they not neighbors, but they are utterly different. By each and every criterion we have employed to characterize the contacts found on the Kansu-Tibetan border, they are dissimilar-and in this instance we mean dissimilar in the extreme. Racially the Moslems are strongly Semitic; and the Tibetans, whatever the complexity of their racial admixture, are Mongoloid and more akin to the Chinese and other peoples in the southeastern part of Asia. The Moslems speak Chinese, while peoples in the Tibetans speak the nomadic variation, or dialect, of Tibetan. The Moslems are monotheists belonging to Islam, whereas the Tibetans subscribe to the religo-philosophy of Buddhism and worship, in addition, a multitude of gods and demons inherited from the pre-lamaistic religion of Tibet. Finally, the Moslems are a sedentary people, having agriculture as their subsistence economy, while the Tibetan nomads are a pastoral people, who take especial pride in their manner of life and have deep-seated prejudices against disturbing the soil.
In spite of the complete dissimilarity of these two peoples, certain factors in the life, location, and characteristics of each have created an occasion of contact. That occasion is found in the reciprocal trade which, operating as it does at a distance, constitutes a most interesting kind of cultural contact. The Moslems are characteristically traders, and their strong spirit of commercial adventure has put them in touch with all the currents of world trade which reach this remote part of the Asian highlands. By their location on the border, or within easy access to the border, they find themselves in a position of peculiar advantage to act as middlemen in passing the produce of Tibet to the outside world and, in lesser degree, to absorb some of it themselves and aid in its distribution to contiguous Chinese territory. To carry on trade and travel in the Tibetan country requires a certain mount of daring and initiative, and the same qualities that have placed the Moslems in other callings of hardihood and daring have made them traders among the Tibetans.
This special fitness is well exemplified by what an old Tibetan robber once said to me. In telling about the technique of robbing caravans he very aptly described the difference between the Moslems and the Chinese: "When we attack a caravan and they begin to cry out 'Lao Tien Ie' (the common Chinese appeal to the deity) we know that the caravan is practically ours, but if they cry 'Allah Hu Da' then we know that they are Moslems and we are in for trouble." Whether this incident also suggests that religion is one of the sources of that difference is a moot point, but the essential fact remains.
It may be that on the Tibetan side the adventurous spirit of the nomads also predisposes them to taking part in the venture of trade, but other immediate causes are more convincingly evident. The subsistence economy of the Moslems makes them practically self-supporting, and trade is principally a means of acquiring more wealth- especially Tibetan trade, which is exceedingly gainful in proportion to its hazards: but the Tibetan nomads must do some trading in order to get any grain at all, for their own subsistence economy furnishes them only with animal products. Their nearest source of grain supply is the Tibetan farming communities which lie between them and the border, but the grain surplus there is rather limited, and there is not nearly so good a market for nomad products except what can be used locally. The Tibetans therefore prefer to travel a few days longer to the border markets.
The fact that the nomads have almost a monopoly on the transport system of the land also tends to involve them in trade. All freight is carried on yaks. The nomads have the greatest number of these animals; so, either directly, as the source of supply, or indirectly, by contracting for carrier jobs, they are placed in advantageous contact with the routine of trade. Finally, the nomads produce most of the things for which there is a demand; lambskins, wool, sheepskins, livestock for the central China market, and furs all come from the steppe country. The possession of all these commodities predisposes the Tibetans to trade, and by the action of the forces operative in both peoples an effective occasion for cultural contact is created in the seasonal ebb and flow of that trade.
The action of this contact is reciprocal but different in its effects in the two peoples, since cultural force is exerted through differently selected agents, under different circumstances, and for unequal periods of time. The Moslem traders who go into the Tibetan country form a smaller percentage of the population of their home communities than do the Tibetan traders who come down to the border to trade for grain. The Moslems become traders as a means of increasing their wealth- there is nothing inherent in their agricultural subsistence economy to force them into such a course. In one Moslem village that I know, which was a fair example of a border village with a rather high percentage of traders, less than half of the heads of families had ever gone into the Tibetan country as traders. Among the Tibetans, on the other hand, practically every head of a family takes part in the annual journey to the border to trade for the year's supply of grain.
The circumstances under which these agents are exposed to the influences of the other cultural group and the degree to which they impart cultural influences also vary. The Moslem trader goes into the Tibetan country for periods of time from three months to two years. Though he travels in a company which often times represents a rather large caravan, nevertheless, he will stay, with at best one or two companions, for a long time in very intimate association with a Tibetan community. Not only is he exposed to Tibetan influence for long periods, but because he is necessarily greatly obligated to the Tibetans and will naturally seek to placate them, his exposure to the influences of Tibetan culture is favorable to his acquiring Tibetan culture traits. When a Tibetan visits a Moslem community in the Chinese border country, he stays at the most only a month or-so and during that time camps apart with his Tibetan companions. And though he is under obligation to his Moslem host, he has a much less Intimate relation with the Moslem community than his the Moslem trader In the Tibetan community, who stays in the tent of his Tibetan host or pitches his own at the door of his Tibetan sponsor.
Moslem traders who go to the nearer tribes frequently go in small parties but a typical trade caravan starting out on a trade venture among the nomadic Tibetan tribes is organized on a large scale. The very smallest caravans number at least two or three "kettles," and the largest may number forty or even fifty "kettles." (A "kettle" denotes the members of a unit having one campfire and the same food supply; in other words, they eat out of the same kettle. The group may vary in size from three men to a dozen, the average being eight or nine.) This tendency to combine into large caravans comes from a desire for protection and from the fact that by dividing the expense of guides and escorts- and of the latter what amounts to a small force of the military may be necessary in going through a bad section- the cost of traveling through the Tibetan areas is considerably reduced.
The Tibetan people among whom the trading is being done often move the freight, but the traders usually bring their own transport animals. The yak-ox is the traditional beast of burden in Tibet; and commercial caravans are generally composed of numbers of this hybrid ox, which is a cross between the yak and the ordinary cow. These animals form an important item in the export trade from the Tibetan country; they are sold both for caravans and for agricultural operations along the border and in the Chinese regions. A good ox will carry a load of about two hundred pounds at an average rate of fifteen miles a day and can live off the country, except during the last months of winter and the period before the new grass is well up in the early part of the summer.
Travel routine requires getting as early a start as possible- the camp is roused long before dawn and should be leaving by daybreak, the new camp is made and the cattle unloaded and turned loose to graze by noon. In stores and bad weather, plenty of which can be found on the high steppe, it is a hard life. For two men to handle the loading and driving of twenty oxen means spurts of back-breaking, heart-bursting activity. In safe country with favorable weather, there is a certain freedom and thrill- even gaiety- in Tibetan travel, and the traders who do much of it confess to a keen longing for the excitement of the trail.
Travel through the Tibetan country necessitates securing the permission and good will of the tribesmen, and this is done through the various hosts that are claimed in each tribe by the leaders of the "kettles. " When a caravan reaches a tribe it breaks up, each group going to its particular host. The same caravan may never be reassembled, for the various traders have different interests or different routes and form new caravans with whatever companions they may find as they wander through the country as visitors and strangers. The traders have no particular rights except as guests of their various hosts In the tribe. This "guest-host" relationship is of varying degrees of cordiality, ranging all the way from a life-long warm and intimate friendship to a very casual and mercenary association whereby the "guest" makes a gift to his "host" and receives certain privileges and recognized status in the community. However varying the degree of friendliness involved, the arrangement has an aspect of permanency, for it is expected that the contact will be renewed at each successive opportunity. When going through territory the traders are careful to look up their hosts and leave gifts at each tent, even when they do not expect to stop.
This relationship is initiated usually by an introduction through a mutual friend, but occasionally it is the result of casual contact. A reference or a message sent by word of mouth through the guide who takes the caravan on may suffice for an introduction. The trade caravan, or party, camps either within the circle of the encampment, or outside but close to the tent of the host. As soon as camp is made the members of the party adjourn to the tent of the host to have a meal (which may vary in amplitude according to the cordiality of the relationship) and to present the gift which is always covered with the "scarf of felicity"- a special token in the form of a -small white, or light blue, silken scarf which is the polite, congratulatory, social gesture that must accompany every gift. Indeed, the scarf of felicity is enclosed in every letter and is exchanged whenever the two meet on any occasion of-social significance.
If the tie between the host and his guests is a close one, he gives them a sheep to kill (they always give back the skin of that sheep) and sees that they are supplied with the first bucket of water needed for their cookery, with clobbered milk and other such delicacies during their stay, and with the fuel they need. The other extreme-the minimum-of such attention, is to -supply the first bucket of water and one basket of fuel as a -sort of token payment of the debt, after which the guests look after their own needs. Whatever the degree of friendliness In the host-guest relationship (easily determined from the material benefits granted during the stay at the tent door as well as by all the more personal contacts and intercourse), in one respect that relationship functions without variance. The host I o always the sponsor of hi a guests. Tb a great extent they carryon trade with the rest of the tribe through him. In cases of dispute they appeal to him, and they are definitely under his protection. He al so helps them make trade contacts, may even take them with him to the various encampments of the tribe, and act as sort of advertising agent for them; when the time comes to go on he either goes himself or makes arrangements for hiring the guides and escort. The traders on the other hand, are supposed to give him -somewhat preferred rates on any merchandise he wants, and I f they have to hi re transportation they first find out whether he has any animals to hire before seeking transport elsewhere.
The trading itself is the very ultimate in haggling and bargaining, with all the intricacies of Oriental concern with quality, quantity, and payment involved. Most of the trade is on the basis of immediate payment, although between those who have considerable mutual confidence some is done on a credit basis. Much of the payment is in goods, making it seem like barter, but there is little true barter of article for article without filing the price; for even though no "money" changes hands-catties of butter are the small change, and ounces of silver or fractions thereof, are the larger units of value-nevertheless the goods bought and the goods in which payment is made are both translated into terms of those two units of value. The use of butter as the recognized unit of value in nomad land is an index of the great, if not supreme, importance of that article in the subsistence economy of the region.
A general list of imports into Tibetan country included cotton cloth of various grades, coarse silks, chiefly for girdles and the scarfs used such as needles, thread, and colored cord, satins and brocades, pots and kettles, rifles and ammunition, fine artesian leather brought from Mongolia, and luxury foodstuffs such as dried ju-jubes, rice, sugar, raisins, and wheat flour. Grain for food is imported in large quantities, and barley is the one item which is never carried by the traders going into the Tibetan country, but is secured by the Tibetans themselves when they go down to the border to trade. Tea is an import that is in a class by itself. It is not a luxury but a necessity and constitutes a specialized trade, with a procedure and routine of its own; as it does not enter Tibet from this part of the border, however, it need not concern us in our consideration of Tibetan trade.
The principal exports are cattle (beeves for work animals and breeding stock), sheep, horses--there is a specialized large-scale trade in cavalry mounts for the Chinese army, as well as trade in mares for the mule- breeding areas of central China- wool, hides, furs, yak tails, salt, and to a more limited degree felts. -sheepskins, and yak-hair Cloth for the use of those traders who must keep up caravans and maintain pack saddle equipment and tents. Hartshorn and musk also form two relatively small but valuable items of export.
The Tibetan expeditions that go to the border are organized on much the same pattern as the Moslem trade caravans, but there are minor variations. Most frequently a caravan is composed of representatives of the tents of an encampment, who are grouped into "kettles" according to convenience and considerations of friendship; but this arrangement is by no means binding, for friends or relatives who live in different encampments may unite to form a caravan, ignoring the encampment caravan. Practically every tent at sometime during the season has a representative in a trade caravan. once in a while, when a family is very small and poor or is in particular trouble, the people of a tent will ask a friend or two to drive some of their cattle for them and do the trading for them. The trade caravan never includes representatives of more than one tribe. Thus all the members have the same general set of feuds and avoidances to keep in mind, leaving only personal or encampment feuds to complicate the situation.
Once the Tibetan trade caravan is organized it is a more closely integrated and cohesive unit than the Moslem caravan. I have traveled with both and have always found the degree of cooperation, the almost instinctive discipline and unity of action much greater in the Tibetan caravan. This is quite consistent with the greater force of the communal ideal as against that of individualism in their social organization. The tradition Is that a Tibetan trade caravan never breaks up until it has returned to the point of origin, one member's trouble or delay meaning trouble and delay for all. The caravan does not break up into separate units when arriving at a Moslem village but makes one camp, although the members may claim separate hosts among the inhabitants of the village.
There are other differences between the Moslem and Tibetan trade caravans than the differences in the length of time spent away from home and in their organization. One is in the schedule of their trade journeys within the round of the year's activities. As the Moslem trade venture is less a matter of community necessity and more a matter of individual initiative, it is organized with little regard to the agricultural routine in the village; rather is it scheduled on the basis of conditions within the Tibetan country. Midwinter is the preferred time for the start; at that time the winter' s catch of furs is pretty well in, and the spring yield of lambskins will soon be ready. Salt can only be transported during the dry winter, and there is always a certain amount of pressure upon the Tibetans to dispose of the stocks of wool and hides before the problems of spring moving become acute. Thus some of the Moslem traders plan on a quick trip of just a few months, getting back to the border before the deep snows of late spring and the rains of the summer; others plan to stay over through the summer. The late spring or early summer is the best time to buy horses and cattle; any kind of ox or horse looks good when carrying the flesh from a whole summer's good grazing, but it is only when they are thin from the rigors of the winter that the good and bad points stand out. Also, the degree to which they have stood the winter offers a good indication of the degree to which they possess that elusive but very real thing the Tibetans call "bone"-constitutional hardihood. Unless the caravan plans to stay over an entire season (and some even remain in the Tibetan country for two years or more), the traders try to get back in the early fall so as to be home when the nomads come down to trade. It may be said here that the fall or early winter is the best time to travel in the Tibetan country. The cold comes early, but the weather is dry. There is an abundance of dry fuel cow dung and dried sheep manure- and the frosted hay is much better fodder than the deceptive green grass of the early summer. Also the bogs are frozen, and there are no horse flies to stampede the cattle.
The schedule for the Tibetan trade caravan's journey is strictly limited. It must be undertaken while the tribe is in the winter encampment, for the routine of moving in the summer requires both the oxen and the men, and the summer camp sites are usually farther away from the farming country and the border. Also it must be before the cattle are weakened by the privations of the winter and while the grazing is still sufficiently good to keep them in shape while carrying heavy loads. Finally, it must be while the sheep and beeves, which are the principal livestock commodity for the foodstuffs trade of the nomads, are fat and in condition to be butchered. The caravan period is thus limited to a few months in the fall and early winter. It cannot be too early, for the caravan roads will not be open to great droves of cattle until the crops of the Tibetan farming country lying on the route have been harvested; furthermore it is only after the harvests are in, in the Chinese country and surplus grain stocks are high that the Moslem village folk are ready to trade grain foodstuffs.
The time involved is short; the Tibetans are always anxious to finish their trading and get back for the mid winter festivities in the lamaseries. Then, too, the farming country-even though stocks of straw and -such fodder may be available-is no place to maintain a yak caravan for any length of time. It is-seldom, therefore, that a Tibetan trade caravan 'Will-stay in the Moslem community for longer than two or three weeks. The Tibetan always makes much less effort to adjust himself to the tempo of life in a Moslem village under Chinese law than does the Moslem trader to the Tibetan encampment, for the latter stays much longer and is in more intimate association with Tibetan life.
There is another fundamental difference between the Moslem and the Tibetan trade caravans, and that is in the commodities carried for exchange. The trading done by the Tibetan caravans is in a sense a simpler kind, springing from the basic need of all life. It is the immediate exchange of a percentage of an exclusively protein and fats food supply for enough grain to make a suitable diet. This, in-spite of the fact that the yield of butter from the flocks and herds, which is the most obvious return from the exploitation of the one basic source of wealth in nomad land grass does not figure in the exchange for grain at the border. Surplus stocks of butter constitute the medium of exchange among the Tibetan themselves and are paid out for services and the working expenses of caring for the herds so that livestock, hides, and wool from those herds may be converted into grain at the border. Thus the trade caravans of the Tibetans which go to Moslem farming communities are engaged in a basic and imperative foodstuffs exchange.
The trade of the Moslem caravans which go to the encampments of the Tibetan nomads is a much more complicated matter. It is based on certain demands of the Chinese and even of world markets and is motivated by a desire for the gain to be derived from the middleman function in the movement of regional products from one place to another. In a sense it is a luxury trade, depending partly on arousing desires among the Tibetans for cloth, silk, luxury foodstuffs, arms, and ornaments. A favorable trade balance often enables the Tibetans to start for their foodstuff exchange with an extra stake or reserve of silver or other wealth; much of this wealth from the sale of horses, furs, etc., however, as well as the luxury goods taken in, is stored in the lamaseries or otherwise accumulated in individual hoards. Expansion of the trade is dependent upon an increasing sophistication of the Tibetans and an increasing demand for all kinds of notions.
The effects of this diversified, yet sharply controlled, contact are discernable in both culture groups. These effects on both Moslems and nomadic Tibetans are most clearly, attributable to diffused influence alone, for the contact is not only reciprocal but is maintained through selected agents. No population pressure is involved, nor does political pressure or aggression enter into the situation. Prestige is Involved but it is somewhat equalized, being on the side of Tibetan culture when the contact takes place where Tibetan tribal custom and usage obtain and on the side of Moslem culture when it takes place in the Moslem villages.
The effects of this contact are to be found in two aspects of the Tibetan nomad population: on the population as a whole and on the selected individuals who make the visits to the Moslem villages and trade centers of the border. Exponents of Moslem culture are pretty well diffused throughout the Tibetan communities by the prolonged stay of the traders in intimate and leisurely contact with the Tibetans. The degree to which the general population acquires certain traits as a result of this process is greatly accentuated in those individuals who make the annual trade visit to the centers of that culture. There for a brief time they are exposed to a relatively intensive form of culture influence. The results of this process in both its diffused and intensive forms appear in a number of ways. Unquestionably the Tibetans owe much of their knowledge of the outside world to the Moslem influence. The Tibetan language has not yet been modified to allow of proper terminology to describe civilization, but the people talk about planes and tanks, speaking of them respectively as "iron birds" and "iron cattle." The traders tell their hosts and friends the news of the outside world and introduce them to a consideration of things far removed from the round of camp life. These traders are also the agents of -sophistication; they introduce tastes for luxuries in the matter of foods and persuade the tent-dwellers to buy flashlights and cotton cloth. Older Tibetans have told me that fifty years ago no Tibetan ever needed Cloth; now, though the nomads haven't followed the Choni Tibetans in the adoption of trousers, there is a distinct tendency towards an increased use of cloth, both for trimming the borders of the big -sheepskin coats and for shirts and jackets.
Because of this contact certain words of obvious Chinese (Moslem) origin have come into general use among the Tibetans of the steppe. Such words, as in the case of the language borrowings by the sedentary Tibetans, have been changed to harmonize phonetically with Tibetan, and the distinctive Chinese tones attached to each syllable have been dropped. The following is a sample list of words which have been so borrowed (many other instances of borrowing are identical with those we have already noted along the border). As to Chinese itself, it is but seldom that the nomads ever learn more than a few words of it.
There is one notion current among the Tibetans which obviously comes from observance of the eating-habits of the Moslems, especially their refusal to eat meat that has not been killed by a believer of Islam. In different parts of the Tibetan country there are varying prejudices in regard to food, some foods being distasteful to certain of the Tibetans: for some, mushrooms; for many more, eggs, marmots, fish, fowl, etc. Birds are not popular in the Tibetan diet because of the association between their claws and those of vultures which have such a prominent part in the final disposal of the Tibetan dead, but this religious prejudice seems to have no country-wide distribution. Marmots, which the Tibetans of one district think of with the greatest abhorrence area highly appreciated treat to others. The symbolic use of the word "kha" (mouth) is not applied to such differences of usage and taste, but the Tibetans do have a notion that certain fundamental differences exist between the food for people of one religion and that for people of another religion, and when they hear about other peoples the question is always asked: "Is their mouth the same as ours, or is it like the mouth of the Moslems, or do they have some other mouth?"
The influence of Tibetan culture, on the other hand, is not so widely diffused throughout the Moslem community. The stay-at-homes and the womenfolk of the Moslems have very little direct contact with the Tibetans; whatever influence Tibetan culture has upon them comes to them through their own traders and depends upon the degree to which these selected members of the community have responded to Tibetan cultural influences and acquired Tibetan traits. As leaders of the community- they are usually its wealthiest members- these traders are able to make certain habits and traits the vogue. They undergo a more intensive exposure to the Tibetan manner of life than do Tibetan traders to a Moslem community and become remarkably Tibetanized in many things. Certain it is that much of the ready response to danger and the flair for decisive action that characterize the nomadic Tibetan strikes a responsive chord in the nature of the Moslem. Maybe it is that he, too, by heritage, is a nomad, though many times removed; and that the call of a nomadic existence is still potent for him. The Moslem villages which have been most in contact with the Tibetans are most likely to resort to arms to defend themselves against the recurrent scourge of banditry. In the year 1914 it was the fighting traders of the Moslem community of Taochow Old City who administered the first defeat the great Chinese bandit, White Wolf, had ever known up to that time. The traders not only acquire a fondness for Tibetan clothing and saddlery and adopt Tibetan travel equipment in its entirety, but when at home they like to showoff their Tibetan boots and great fur hats and talk in a half-Tibetan lingo for the admiration of the home-town folks- they parade Tibetan words the way the sailors who had sailed with Drake mixed Spanish with English when they talked in Biddleford town. They all, of course, speak Tibetan fluently, though most of them speak it with a marked accent.
Naturally, there has resulted a considerable amount of language borrowing. Some of it has been an outright borrowing of words, with the usual modifications of consonant and vowel quality common in such borrowings, plus, in this case, the addition of tones to make the words of non-tonal Tibetan fit into their Moslem-Chinese speech. Some borrowings have been more subtle; for example, a Chinese word will be reinterpreted according to the delimitations or connotations of its nearest Tibetan equivalent. Herewith are listed a few of the many Tibetan words which have been incorporated into the language usage of the traders, and to a lesser degree, into the language usage of their home communities.
Then, of course, the various words for cheese, tether rope, etc. which have been borrowed from Tibetan by the Chinese along the border, as listed in an earlier part of this paper, are used in the same way by these people.
I shall give, also, a few examples of the more subtle borrowings of Tibetan connotations and meanings: the Tibetans have one word, mthso, for lake and sea, which with a prefix signifying bigness, is also used for ocean. The traders, of course, hear mthso used for the salt lakes and for all the lakes of the Tibetan country, yet know that it really means sea and ocean as well, so they have taken to using the Chinese word hat in a new broader sense for lake, sea, and ocean, and have discarded the more particular words hu and ch'i even when speaking of a very small pond. This is clearly an instance of borrowing the system of classification of another language and using it in one's own language with words of one's own language.
The use of the word "kettle" to designate a group of men- those who share a single campfire- is a case of borrowing a Tibetan connotation and fixing it to the Chinese word of nearest meaning. The Tibetan call such a wa-ka (kettle-at); so the traders, if they do not borrow the Tibetan term, affect the Tibetan connotation for the Chinese word kuo-tre (kettle), a connotation it never had in the Chinese original.
The experiences and influences of Tibetan trade and travel seem also to have modified the truculence and religious intolerance of the Moslems, for those Moslem communities which have had much trade and contact with the Tibetans are not so bigoted as their co-religionists of the Hochow district.
One more result of this contact should be mentioned. During their rather extended periods of residence in the Tibetan country, many of the Moslem traders take temporary Tibetan wives, and those who do not have numerous sexual affairs with the free and easy Tibetans. Unquestionably this has had some influence upon the population of the nomad tribes and may have had a part in creating the puzzling mixture of types often found among the Tibetans. Once in a while a Moslem trader will even take his Tibetan wife back to his home and make her his principal wife, thus bringing further Tibetan influence into his home and to the community an added source of racial admixture.
In this third instance of culture contact we have two groups which are different in race, religion, language, and occupation, and which are not contiguous but removed from each other by considerable distances as judged by slow caravan travel. Yet the needs growing out of the subsistence economy of the one group and the commercial stimulus exerted upon the other by their peculiarly advantageous position on or near the frontier have produced a strong trade movement, carried on by variously selected agents in a regular seasonal cycle. The contact established through these agents and this trade has been sufficient to produce marked variations and changes in each of the two groups involved and furnishes an opportunity for the study of a closely controlled example of race and culture contact.
V. THE SEDENTARY AND NOMADIC TIBETANS
The culture contact between the sedentary and the nomadic Tibetan's is the fourth of such contacts with which we are concerned. The distribution of these two groups as it appears on a map suggests no orderly factors underlying their relative positions, but in terms of elevation and the accompanying zoning of climatic conditions and plant life the distribution is quite regular. The chan-tang, the high "cold plain" the central Tibetan plateau, is mostly uninhabited; even the hardiest of the "dwellers in the black tents" cannot live at altitudes of 16,000 feet and more. Eastward from this highest table-land-now in wide, sloping plains, now in abrupt, broken country, mountainous and rough-the land falls away to the steppe country where the various Shim-drok and Wa-nak tribes of nomads are found. Only a part of the nomad range is in the ideal steppe country; following the drainage of the many rivers, the steppe breaks up into mountainous country, with more or less rounded contours covered over with varieties of steppe grasses. Along the courses of these rivers, as they cut further into the Plateau, the country finally changes; the valleys become deep sided-canyons with steep, partly-wooded walls. At about the level of the first forests, from elevations of 11,000 feet and under, agriculture takes the place of cattle and sheep-raising, and one moves from the region of the nomads into the country of the sedentary faming tribes of this part of Tibet.
There are many variations of and exceptions to, the typical conditions as here described. Particularly in the Bo-ra and Am-chok region, the villages of the faming peoples are found in country which, although it is low enough for faming, is more like the true steppe than like the valley bottoms of the Tibetan farms. In spite of all the exceptions that can be mentioned, "steppe" and "valley" describe two peoples and two conditions of life. The Tibetan term for nomad's drok-pa (drok-open country, steppe, free from forest and not precipitous; pa- a particle signifying relationship or participation). The term for a sedentary individual is rong-pa (rong- valley, and, by later usage, cultivated valley). Other names, chief of which are the terms "People of the black tents" and "people of the earthen houses," are also used to designate those who are nomadic or sedentary, pastoral or agricultural.
The drainage slope of the country on the whole is toward the east, and as we go toward the Chinese frontier typical nomad country gradually gives way to more level land, suitable for farming. Along the border, with the exception of one or two isolated bits of table-land and high mountainous country, there are found only sedentary tribes of Tibetans.
The special nomadic culture of the various Wa-nak and Shim-drok tribes occupies a belt of country extending north and south which coincides with the best portion of the typical and near-typical steppe country. All these tribes are very much alike in culture despite the fact that in the north there is a considerable admixture of Mongol influence-some of the tribes are called Mongol, and one or two of them speak Mongolian. Various travelers have called them all by one name- Drowka- assuming it to be a tribal name, whereas it really designates a manner of life. To the west of these various tribes, who number about thirty all told, in the higher and more inaccessible or inhospitable country, are to be found the eighteen tribes of the Goloks- "round-heads"- who differ to a very considerable extent in physical characteristics, cultural traits, and linguistic usage. They are easily distinguished from the Shim-drok tribes by certain linguistic habits which would seem to indicate that they have migrated recently from central Tibet, and by certain physical differences which may be due to difference of stock or may be the result of greater privation and the effects of attitude.
We are defining as typical nomad culture that which characterizes the tribes of the Shim-drok who are least exposed to influences from the sedentary districts. In the matter of ideals, language usage, and habits of dress there is a set of patterns definitely ascribed to the nomads by the Tibetans- both nomad and sedentary- and by the Moslem and Chinese traders who have come in contact with both peoples. (Golok culture is much like typical nomad culture but shows great enough variation so that it would probably warrant separate mention if it were included in this part of the paper. My acquaintance with the Goloks, however, has not been of sufficient range or duration to furnish material for a comparison with the other type of Tibetan culture.)
The sedentary communities that we are taking as representative of the farming peoples of northeastern Tibet are similar to, but not identical with, the farming communities of the Choni district which are changing under the impact of Chinese culture, reinforced by population pressure. The farming communities farther from the border are somewhat removed from Chinese influence and offer a better basis for comparing the strictly Tibetan culture of the sedentary people with the strictly Tibetan culture of the nomads. Indeed, some of those communities comprise the sedentary half of tribes which have both nomadic and sedentary, sections, and thus they constitute an ideal basis of comparison. Certain basic traits link the people of the Labrang, Hehtse, Amchek, Samtsa, Shes-tsang, and Te-bu districts; all are known as rong-pa and live in valley levels below the grazing country of the mountains and the true steppe.
Fundamentally the steppe people and the valley people differ only in location. In race, religion, and language they are the same or so nearly similar that the absolute sense of the word requires but little qualification. Both sedentary peoples and nomads present the same physical characteristics. In the recorded craniological measurements of Tibetans there have been found two types, variously designated as type A and type B or as "warrior type" and "priestly type," but I have found no mention of any distinction on the basis of nomadic and sedentary. (Rockhill does, however, claim for the "Drug-pa" tribe the purest strain of Tibetan racial characteristics, but he is evidently speaking about nomads, using the Tibetan word "nomad" as a tribal designation.) Much as the nomads hate being classed with the sedentary peoples in any way, the Tibetans regard themselves as one People- the Bod- which includes both groups. Different conditions of life and diet have resulted in some variations in physique and a predisposition or resistance to certain diseases.
In religion the two peoples are also similar; to much the same degree both are fervently devoted to the same branch and kind of Buddhism. There are some slight variations: the sedentary people appear to be more completely under the domination of the lamaseries and are more meticulous in the observance and performance of all the religious duties incident to Lamaism. Also among them there is a much greater amount of animism- the still active residue of the ancient Bon religion of Tibet- than among the nomads. In Reb-kong and Te-kok, the most typical sedentary districts of Amdo, are found the headquarters of two branches of the "sorcerer sect," and the People of the valleys, the rong-wa, are the most devout of all the Tibetans. An agricultural routine and subsistence economy, with the ritual demands of plowing, seeding, and harvest, together with the recurrent threat of hail or drought, have stimulated a greater interest in the purely magical aspects of religion. From the persistence of the older forms of religion (there are many survivals not only of Bon religious activity but of the older, unreformed Red sect of lamaism, as distinguished from the reformed or Yellow sect founded by Tsong-ka-ba in the twelfth century) it might be possible to infer that agricultural routine tended to foster religious conservatism.
It cannot be said, however, that agricultural routine has fostered linguistic conservatism. The nomadic and sedentary Tibetans can always understand each other, but there are marked dialectic differences in the language spoken among the drok-pa and that spoken among the rong-pa- so marked that both the Tibetans themselves and the Moslems and Chinese who are in contact with them distinguish two dialects for most of northeastern Tibet- drok-skad, or the language of the drok-pa; and rong-skad, or the language of the rong-pa. If the Tibetan system of spelling and the evidences of Tibetan phonology are to be trusted, the greater departure and change has been in the rong-skad, the drok-skad, or speech of the nomads, adhering more closely to the sound values current in Tibetan when it was reduced to writing in the seventh century. The brother of the Panchen Lama who until his death last year(1937) was the highest in the lamaist system when he was on the Chinese-Tibetan border about to return to central Tibet, made this same statement in so many words: "The drok-skad of Amdo sounds much like bod-skad sounded when it was first written. Our dialect of central Tibet has changed very much."
When the Tibetan and Indian scholars of the seventh century took over many of the grammatical constructions of Sanskrit and adapted an alphabet from that language, the language of Tibet must have presented many consonantal prefixes, together with superscribed or subjoined consonants. This resulted in some of the fearsome transcription of initial sounds in Tibetan dictionaries, such as brgy, bsky, mgr, tg, gch, gs, lng, sbr, and any number of other such difficult mouthfuls. According to Dr. Laufer's researches in "Tibetan Phonology of the Ninth Century," many of these consonantal combinations had gone out of usage in the Lhasa dialect as spoken in the ninth century. From the descriptions of language usage by Sir Charles Bell, the Reverend Graham, and Chandra Das, it would seem that at the present time the prefixed consonants are not indicated in any way in the spoken language of central Tibet, and many if not most of the final consonants have either been dropped entirely, modified to an unarticulated stop, or permitted to modify the quality of the vowel preceding. Along with these changes there has appeared a greater nicety in the matter of tones, it having become necessary to use tones to distinguish words of the same sound that were once distinguished by the endings or the consonantal prefixes. With the loss of consonantal combinations and endings and a gain in the attention paid to somewhat arbitrary tones there has come about, or perhaps it would be better to say there has been retained, a careful distinction between the five vowels of the language. All this is exactly what I observed in the small amount of the Lhasa dialect that I have heard.
One or two of the variations of the nomadic dialect that I have heard have preserved most of the value of the prefixed and super-added consonants. The pronunciation of such combinations as brgy is a remarkable performance. But the mean of nomad usage has been content to indicate the presence of these prefixed and super-added consonants by half-pronounced consonants, or by variations of breathing, etc., preceding the main initial consonant. Most, if not all, of the final consonants are pronounced at least partially, but the use of tones is very unobtrusive and the three vowels i, u, and a have all become centralized until there is very little difference. Whether that is true of early Tibetan we have no way of knowing; but if the drok-skad usage has preserved more of the consonant values as they were first written, it is reasonable to suppose that the same holds good for vowel values.
We give here a comparative chart of the drok-skad and rong-skad pronunciation of the cardinals up to ten against the Tibetan spelling transcribed according to standard usage as found in the dictionaries. For further comparison it would be well to have the Lhasa pronunciation, but my recollection of what I have heard of that dialect is not sufficient to attempt a transcription, and I have not been able to find a close phonetic transcription of the Lhasa dialect. From what Sir Charles Bell says about Tibetan pronunciation in general and from some of the arbitrary renderings in his English-Tibetan dictionary, it would seem that the rong-skad more nearly approaches the Lhasa form than does the drok-skad.
In giving drok-skad usage I have tried to give what would be a rather widely accepted mean rather than any extreme (one or two tribes that I know pronounce practically every part of the consonant combinations). The above is only a sample, but in the ten words which through their position in the language form such a good index there are fortunately illustrated a number of the more important consonantal and vowel differences in the two dialects.
By the three criteria of race, religion, and language, these two Tibetan groups exhibit real differences but of so inconsiderable magnitude that we are not warranted in using them as our basis for differentiating between the cultures of the two groups. For, after all, these dissimilarities reflect the action, and in themselves are part of the result, of differentiation- they do not constitute that differentiation. Nor can differences of social or political organization be adduced as reasons or calling the cultures different. The family occupies much the position in the social structure of both the drok-pa and the rong-pa. Among both, the village (and we use the term in its broader sense, as defining a unit of organization) is the essential unit of organization. Among the farmers the people live in a group of houses in the midst of their fields; the real village, however, is not the aggregate of the dwellings but the conscious organization of the people into a closely integrated unit. Among the nomads the ring of tents, shifted from campsite to campsite as pasturage needs require, is still the "village" and the most cohesive and powerful unit in the Tibetan political and social structure. The Tibetan word for village, de-wa, is sometimes used for encampment (there is, however, a special word for encampment, ru-sker- tent circle), and in asking a nomad what his home community is, one always refers to his de-wa. As there are linguistic links connecting the words for village and for encampment, so there are similar links connecting the various terms for tent and house. The common word for house is khang-ba, but khyim is used for the important living-room of the house. The words for tent are wa, ru, and nak-thsang (nest or den), and the tents of the Goloks are called nak (black) thsang (nest). The word for household in use among both the nomads and the sedentary peoples is khyim (house) and thsang (tent); thus, khyim-thsang.
The village organization is generally an informal one. Among the farmers there is a tendency to have a properly chosen head-man; but among the nomads, although there is usually one person in the encampment who is known as the head-man by right of his influence, it is seldom that he has been chosen formally. The real power and final court of appeal is found in the group of substantial middle-aged and elderly men known as the elders (rang-po), and their word is final in village affairs. Villages- whether villages in the restricted sense, like those of the sedentary districts, or in the larger sense which includes the encampments of the nomads are associated in groups that have common territorial interests.
Frequently the faming villages that are so organized have claims to one valley from its source to where it joins a larger one, or they may occupy a segment of some larger valley. Encampments so organized maintain not only rights of residence in certain sites but also all grazing-privileges in their territory or range. In a number of instances a group of villages and a group of encampments form the two halves of a single tribe, and in at least one instance the territories of the two halves are not contiguous but are separated by a strip of territory belonging to another tribe.
The tribes vary in organization and the form of control. Some of the tribes- notably some of the smaller ones- have no chief; all matters of policy are decided by a council of elders somewhat analogous to the encampment council. The members of this tribal council have no special title but are also known simply as the rgan-po (the aged ones). Nor is participation determined by any formal election; by common consent the leading mean men of each encampment attend.
Still others of the tribes have chiefs whose offices are hereditary. The power of the chief varies greatly, depending on the tradition of the tribe, the ability of his predecessors, and on his own gifts and resources. In some tribes the position of chief is little more than an empty title, the real power of control and administration being entirely in the hands of the rgan-po. At the other extreme are tribes in which the chief is all powerful because he is the able scion of able forebears; the rgan-po is here nothing more than an advisory group, whose function is to nod assent to the orations of the chief. Yet even such autocratic control is sharply limited, not by any competing body of power, but by the individualism and hatred of arbitrary restraint which are very strong In the Tibetans.
There are also tribes who have no chiefs but are ruled by the lamaseries to which they belong. In such a case the lamasery functions toward the group in two ways. It has a general religious influence and taps the people for contributions and fees, in return for which it undertakes to neutralize the evil effects of all the malignant influences in the region, to maintain itself an a gathering-point offering constant religious opportunity to the religious-minded, and to celebrate for the benefit of all the inhabitants so linked to it the many religious festivals designated in the religious calendar. In this general way the lamasery is related to all. Secondly, the lamasery, through its leaders acts as ruler for certain tribes. Lamasery rule tends to be autocratic, and, in general, the role played by the rgan-po in determining policy is a smaller one when a lamasery is the ruler than when a chief is the head of the tribe. Some of the lamaseries, in addition to exercising control over the population which has gathered immediately around the lamasery, have been able to extend their power in varying degrees over entire groups of tribes, ultimately either superseding the chief s or reducing them to a very subordinate position. There are many tribes and chiefs, however, who have most successfully resisted such ecclesiastical domination.
There are two tribes which, to my knowledge, are different from most of the tribes of northeastern Tibet in structure and organization. In the case of other tribes encampments are the only units within the tribes, but in these two tribes there is an intermediate organization called the thsu-ba. In one of these tribes the encampments are organized in twelve divisions- the thsu-ba- according to the valleys in which their winter campsites are located. These twelve divisions have recognized leaders or head-men whose offices are hereditary and who exercise considerable power; but all are under the one chief who is concurrently the head of his own thsu-ba and the unquestioned chief of the entire tribe. Incidentally, he is one of the most powerful and autocratic chiefs in the nomad country. From all indication these thsu-ba were once tribes but were reduced to a subordinate position: they are no longer called rgyud- tribes- but are merely parts of a tribe. Such a tribe would seem to illustrate one of the stages in the formation of a state. The other has fewer thsu-ba; they are more independent of the chief and so more resemble a confederacy than the beginnings of a state. Among the tribes of this part of Amdo are also found confederations or associations of tribes, which are banded together for the carrying out of certain aims and objectives. Such leagues are more permanent than mere temporary alliances of tribes to carryout particular military operations against a common enemy.
Lastly there are three chiefs in northeastern Tibet whose power and control have been so extended through the absorption of lesser tribes and the attracting of refugee groups by exercising patronage and diplomacy combined with military prowess, that they are no longer called ngo-ba- chief (literally the head one)- but are called by the Tibetans rgyal-po, or king; in their dealings with the Chinese, they have been grudgingly called by them wang -king.
In no instance do the Tibetans pay any sort of regular taxes. If war is determined, levies on the economic resources are voted or decided upon by the rgan-po and the ngo-ba. If peace is made, all share in bearing the expenses of conference and treaty-making. The chief or leader derives no direct material benefit from his position except as position and influence give him unusual opportunity to amass wealth. There is no such thing as a standing army nor are there any paid public officials. Even the individuals required to handle affairs for the chief or ruler act as his personal retainers, and he may either pay them, or what is more likely, place in their way opportunities to profit in trade or war. On the other hand, fines imposed as penalties are generally regarded as belonging to the chief; it is he who has been wronged, not any abstract rules that have been broken. A crime is determined byte position of the one against whom it is committed. Robbery of a stranger is laudable; robbery of another Tibetan is serious only if he is powerful and has great prestige; robbery of a chief may be a life-and-death matter; and robbery of some great living Buddha would mean almost certain death. All matter of punishment is further complicated by the difficulty of inflicting it; for the right of refuge is inviolate, and simply by fleeing to another tribe a criminal can gain safety.
These facts as to Tibetan social and political life apply equally to nomadic and sedentary peoples. There is nothing in political life, as there is nothing in the essential aspects of race, religion, or language, to differentiate between the two groups or divisions; yet the drok-pa and the rong-pa are sharply set apart in what, for want of a term more closely definitive, may well be called two cultures. Fundamentally, then, the two are distinguished by location, the nomads occupying the grazing country and the sedentary Tibetans living in the farming valleys. Their cultures are different because the subsistence economy of the one group is entirely different from that of the other. That difference finds expression not only in such matters as dwellings, occupational technique, and routine, but in different standards of behavior, avoidances, taboos, and general outlook on life, as well.
A typical village of the rong-pa- "the people of the earthen houses''- may number anywhere from a dozen to seventy or eighty families, and is located in the midst of the arable land belonging to the members of the village. Grazing-land and forest belong to the village commune, but the fields are owned privately by the families, as are the houses and house sites. All members of the village may graze their cattle and sheep without restriction in the communal meadows and may gather firewood without stint from the community forests, although the taking of lumber for building purposes or sale is subject to restriction by the village as a whole. Such restriction is well illustrated by the regulation in one of the Jangtsa villages whereby any member of the village may cut and haul as much large timber as he pleases but may not cut any saplings for grain-rack poles until he has explained the reasonableness of his needs to the village elders and secured their permission.
The houses are built close together and have two stories, the second story consisting of one or two small rooms opening onto the flat roof of the larger first story. These rooms are called the summer rooms and during the winter are left unoccupied. The roofs are flat and adjoin, making, when the village site is level, one large communal parade ground. Even when the village is built on sloping ground, it is possible to go all over the village without ever getting off the roofs by using the notched log ladders which connect the different levels. The ground-plan of the house consists of open stabling and woodsheds in front through which one passes into a long entrance with stables or cattle pens on either side, at the end of this one comes into the khyim (home), a large room with the fireplace in the middle, lighted from a skylight which also serves as a chimney.
The grain racks, upon which the grain is laid to ripen after it has been harvested, are set close to the house, usually immediately in front of or behind it; the front wall or edge of the roof is piled with a huge stack of firewood. The odds and ends of firewood from the pile are used, and sometimes under considerable pressure the owner will use or sell some from the pile itself, but the real significance of the wood is as a symbol of prestige. The base of the pile is composed of half-sections of large logs cut in five-foot lengths and rotted out of shape, while the top of the pile shows the newly cut logs recently placed there. During each slack season in the agricultural routine, the owner of the horse works his hardest to make a substantial addition to the pile. In some instances there is not only a great rampart of stacked cordwood around the front of the house but also a large stack piled high in the nearest field of the family; it will never be used but stands merely as a symbol of the importance of the family in the community.
The agricultural technique and routine of life, of which the "earthen houses' in a sense are the symbol as well as an integral part-as the "black tents" are a symbol of the nomad manner of life-involves a large amount of avoidable drudgery. Although they are acquainted with the wheel, the Tibetan farmers steadfastly refuse to use it, and all the farming operations are accomplished by using the backs of either the womenfolk or the cattle. By the New Year the women are already engaged in stacking the piles of manure and stable cleanings, which in the process of decay generate considerable heat so that even in the cold weather the change that takes place is partly a burning and partly a rotting. Because the Tibetans have more livestock than the Chinese farmers and do not use stable cleanings for firing kangs, the accumulation of manure is considerable and makes it unnecessary for the Tibetans, who have no systematic sanitary arrangements, to utilize human excrement for fertilizer. As soon as the New Year's festivities are over the manure is carried, either on cattle or on the backs of the women, to the fields and spread. Then at the right time in the spring, after religious ceremonies have been performed to insure the success of the operations, the plowing is done by the men of the village. Each plows his own fields, but all work at the same time on particular days, and both the men and the women (who lead the cattle in the plowing) dress in their very best clothing, creating a festive atmosphere. The sowing is done in much the same way, and after the fields are sown the entire system of community fences is repaired and warders are appointed to protect the crops.
From this time until after the harvest the farming country is practically closed to caravans of any size, especially caravans of oxen. Even small parties of horsemen may be held up and required to pay lo-krims (year-in the sense of yield or harvest-law or fine), and if the party has pack animals of any kind they must be led, not driven along the paths; meanwhile the maximum amount of payment is collected, to the accompaniment of much wrangling and verbal abuse. Thus one aspect of the year's routine acts to close the farming areas to any considerable amount of travel and trade. The wardens or guardians of the crops also keep close watch to prevent any of the pigs or goats of the village from getting through the system of fences. These watchers carry swords and spears and any pigs or goats that do get through are killed if they can be cornered.
The harvesting is done, after the proper observance of religious services, in the same way as the plowing and seeding. Throughout the time the crops are growing, hail is warded away and droughts are broken by the chanting of appropriate passages from the sacred writings and by the carrying of all the two hundred and twenty-eight volumes of the Buddhist scriptures around the fields by the members of the village. The harvesting must be finished within the time it takes those with the smallest fields to finish cutting the grain with small hand sickles. Thus the wealthy must hire help from other villages, even though the members of the family could harvest without outside help if they could take their time. There is a practical reason behind this as well as tradition: once the communal fences have been broken down there is no more communal protection for the grain and all must be reaped together in order that none may be stolen either by fellow villagers or by prowlers from other villages. Once the grain has been cut and stacked on the racks to dry, the district is open to travel, and lo-krims or fines are no longer collected.
The work of threshing and preparing the grain is also accomplished in a few days. The threshing is done with flails; the threshers work early and late, for the grain must be roasted and ground before the winter's cold has frozen the mill-race of the village mill. Cultivating and weeding are done as in Chinese territory, by a painstaking hand process; but, unlike the Chinese custom, the women bear the entire burden of this work.
If the family does not have enough fields to supply grain for the whole year, as soon as their grain is harvested, threshed, and milled, the home is closed and the members of the family start off in a group on a begging expedition throughout the district and even to other tribes. They return home only when the stock of grain begged, added to that grown, will see them through the rest of the year.
In addition to feed-grain-barley, peas, and a little wheat-the Tibetans also raise some grains from which vegetable oils are extracted and large crops of turnips, which when dried are used for fodder and for fattening the pigs that will be killed as part of the winter's meat.
With this short description of the routine of the farming economy of the rong-pa, we may next consider how the activities of this basic subsistence economy fit into the Tibetan ideas concerning the basic needs of existence. Those needs are summarized as clothes, food, dwelling. The farming activities of the rong-pa contribute only indirectly to supplying the need for clothing. No flax or other vegetable fibre is raised, and although some cloth is used for clothing it is purchased cotton goods for the most part, with some homemade woolen goods. Sheepskins and goatskins are chiefly used and these are obtained from the nomads, as is the wool used to make the woolen cloth. Thus fanning supplies the wealth with which clothing can be bought, but clothing does not come directly from the agricultural activity.
Farming provides grain and pork, but for dairy products and other meats the agriculturalists again have to depend on the nomads' produce, exchanging their surplus grain for sheep, beeves, butter, and cheese. The dwellings of the rong-pa are not the result of any part of the faming cycle but are entirely a matter of extraneous effort in which lumbering operations, carpenter work, and the pounding of the earth into adobe walls &I 1 have a part. The nomad routine and pastoral economy, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive and more closely integrated subsistence economy, requiring less extraneous activity to meet the needs of life.
There is a greater degree of security and comfort in the sedentary mode of existence than in the nomad way of life. Security in the village depends not on any disinclination on the part of the rong-pa to-get into feuds and trouble but on the fact that the village is less vulnerable to attack than the encampment. Danger may lurk in the lanes and roads close to the villages, but is seldom that any direct attack is made on even the smallest villages. once he is within his house the valley dweller not only has shelter from rain and cold but can rest secure.
Since it is the subsistence economy which sets apart the two ways of life, the routine and technique of the nomads must also receive attention. The typical encampment varies in size to the same degree that the village varies. The smallest encampment I was ever in comprised only five tents, while the largest numbered eighty. As the Tibetan name indicates, the encampment- ru-sker, "tent circle"- is always in the form of a rough circle. This rule does not apply to the winter quarters of such tribes as have wattle-and-fence huts, sod houses, or huts with sod walls and tent roofs, which take the place of the tents in the winter time. In such a case the arrangement is much like that of a village, but when tents are used, the form of the encampment is a circle, within which the cattle, horses, and sheep are herded at night.
As the earthen houses are the symbol of one way of life, so, too, is the black tent an analogous symbol of another way of life. Indeed the forms of tent life express more directly the social units than do the forms of house life. A man who has two wives (though we might point out that both polygyny and polyandry are rather infrequent) in the faming country keeps them both in the same house, but among the nomads the material stake-the cattle, sheep, and horses--is divided into two parts, and the two wives, in separate tents, manage the herds and flocks as two distinct units. The man is equally the owner of the wealth of both tents, as he is the husband of the two wives, but neither wife has any interest in, or claim upon, the wealth of the other tent.
The tent of the truly Tibetan nomadic tribes of northeastern Tibet, as distinguished from the conical felt yurt of the Mongol tribes and the teepee-shaped cattle-camp tents of some of the sedentary peoples, is low, rectangular, and made of black yak-hair cloth. There is a slight degree of pitch to the roof, and the walls hang free from the edge of the roof like curtains. By an ingenious system of outside tent poles which are higher than the tent over which the guy ropes are stretched, the tent is more or less suspended by the edges of the roof and the corners and has only two sets of poles in the very center, on each side of the smoke vent-about two feet wide-which runs from front to back. The average tent makes one heavy yak load and the poles another, but if the tent is wet from rain it will be made into two loads. A nomad tent in good condition is no cheap, make-shift shelter but represents in value quite as much as the average house of the sedentary peoples. Year by year it is renewed; two strips of tent-cloth- the cloth is about a foot wide- are sewn into the tent on either side of the smoke vent (the smoke partially waterproofs the new addition), and the ropes are rearranged to move the roof out to the sides. Thus, the edge that drags on the ground is always old and frayed, while the central part of the roof is new.
The routine of tent life is quite different from that of the farm, but both are alike in that the winter is a time of somewhat greater leisure, especially for the nomads. There is little milking to be done and less churning, fuel is abundant and has only to be picked up from the cattle pens, and as the tribe stays in the winter encampment the labor of moving camp does not break into the leisure of the winter season. Nor does early spring bring much change, although lambing-time means some extra care of the sheep and the choosing and preparing of the year's yield of lambskins.
The move to the first of the summer's campsites is made sometime about the middle or latter part of Nay. There is no particular reason to move any earlier; the first grass appears in the latter part of April, but a little grazing at that time will have no effect on the richness of the pasturage around the winter campsite in the fall, and the new grass is as plentiful in the winter pastures as anywhere else. Also the heavy snows of the latter part of April and early May are particularly to be dreaded. May is the crucial time for the nomad, and, except for the incidence of rinderpest or hoof-and-mouth disease, a heavy fall of snow at that time is the greatest danger, for it may mean the death of half the sheep and many of the cattle.
As has been intimated, during the winter some of the tribes live in rather well made huts, made either of fencing plastered over with cow dung or of sod. Still others have sod walls over which tents are stretched for roofs. These winter structures are permanent, although those tribes which are farthest from timbered country find it necessary to dismantle the roofs of the sod huts and bury all the timbers to keep them from being stolen after the tribe has moved away from the winter campsite. Movement to pasture is necessary for the Tibetans because the cattle cannot be grazed on a range but must be collected in the encampment every night, and can therefore graze only within the radius of a daily trip to pasture and back. When the grass has been eaten off- and in the beginning of the summer it takes only about ten days- the tribe must move on. Thus the tribe moves anywhere from six to nine times before the last move back to the winter quarters, sometime in the latter part of November. In the latter part of September some of the members of the tribe make a trip back to the winter encampment and cut hay from certain selected hayfields for use throughout the winter. It is interesting to note that although the range and grazing-lands belong to the tribe, and within the tribe the rights belong to the encampment, the right to cut hay in certain hayfields belongs to individual tents.
With the return to the winter encampment and the release from the strain of being on guard-for the winter encampment gives the greatest security of any campsite- part of the men of the community go on the annual expeditions to the sedentary districts or to the Chinese border to trade for the year's supply of grain. When that has been done the nomads have time not only to visit the lamaseries for trade and religious purposes but also for raiding their enemies and robbing travelers; the winter season is therefore somewhat dangerous until early in the spring when the horses of the nomads are no longer insufficiently good condition to permit hard riding.
A comparison of the nomadic routine with the agricultural routine shows that the pastoral subsistence economy of the nomads has a definite advantage over the agricultural economy of the sedentary Tibetans. One of the direct products of the pastoral economy provides the nomad with the basic materials- sheepskins and hides- for his clothing and boots. The pastoral products furnish him with all the butter and proteins of his diet, and the surplus of the yield from the flocks and herds in cattle, butter, wool, and hides is traded for what grain he needs. Trade must enter in, also, in supplying the farmer with the meat portion of his diet. And here we note that both sedentary and nomadic Tibetans live on the same kind of food in different proportions. In each case parched barley flour, meat, butter, and cheese form the staples, but the proportions are different; the diet of the nomad has a higher protein content than that of the farmer.
The long silky hair pulled from the yak in the late spring, spun by hand, and woven in the same primitive way supplies the nomad with the roof over his head. Thus the herds supply practically all his life-needs. Even in the matter of fuel cow chips and dried sheep manure are all that are used. The nomad has to engage in little else than the basic livestock subsistence economy, whereas the farmer must exploit the forests and rely on trade to house and clothe himself.
The nomad has less in the way of comfort and security than the farmer. The weather of the Tibetan plateau has driven travelers to the at most in descriptive vilification, and the black tents are by no means minor storm proof. The nomads must sleep on the damp ground, live in a tent that is often filled with flying spray and even swirling snow, and move in all kinds of weather. When he is on the move or in the summer encampments, he is much more vulnerable to attack than the farmer in his protected, fortress like, village home.
Such are the basic facts for a comparison of the lives of the two peoples, and yet with this account we have hardly touched the real differences- those of outlook, of ideals and practises in trade, war, and social relationships. That these differences must have some relation to the difference of environment is fairly obvious, but just what that relationship is, is difficult to determine.
We may start with the bald statement that the nomad is definitely superior, not solely by his own account but by that also of all who have any dealings with the two cultural groups. The Moslem and Chinese traders so evaluate them; the nomads naively classify themselves as superior and the farmers agree, for the sedentary communities of northeastern Tibet are oddly apologetic of their lot and status. The farmers, in fact, have a definite inferiority complex; they will say, "Oh, we are only farmers, not nomads." The farmer labors under a definite sense of disability in spite of his more secure existence and the greater degree of Comfort in his more sheltered life; though debarred from it, he agrees that life in the saddle and in a tent would be ideal. Certain facts stand out to buttress this evaluation. Given a higher rule by public opinion, the nomad lives up to it by greater liberality in his social relationships, by greater sportsmanship in the carrying on of feuds and raids, and by being, in general, more trustworthy.
When guests and travelers stay with the sedentary people the treatment accorded them is niggardly compared to the way the nomads treat their guests. The farmers will kill women, children, and even the animals of the enemy in the course of an inter-village or inter-tribal war, but the nomads disdain to injure women or children. The lot of captives is much easier among the nomads than among the sedentary people. Stong-the life money that is paid in atonement to the family of a man who has been killed-is very much greater among the tent-dwellers than among the farmers. Every tribe has its own custom, but "life money" rates are uniformly higher among the nomadic tribes and a comparison of the two extremes- the smallest life-money I know of is about $35 and the greatest is about $800- indicates that among the nomads a man is worth many times what he is among the sedentary people. The life-money rates given are those for a man of ordinary standing, a chief or any of his relatives has a much greater price.
Finally, if assigning a higher position to women is any criterion, the nomads are notably above the farming Tibetans. In both instances the women are amazingly industrious, but among the nomads the women have much more to say about the management of affairs and have a definite claim to a share of the family wealth. This may be because in making butter and cheese and in milking the cattle and sheep (all such work is definitely women's work) the women have such an important place in the nomad economy; they are so indispensable in the management of the capital wealth of the tent that they have gained greater power and voice in affairs. The women of the farming communities have a similarly important role in the agricultural routine, but they do not have similar status.
One aspect of the difference between the rong-pa and the drok-pa is the prevalence among the latter of a greater number of prejudices and avoidances in the matter of eating. None of these avoidances has a universal religious basis, though all are variations or distortions of the fundamental Buddhist prohibition against eating meat. None of the Tibetans of northeastern Tibet will eat fish, although fish are eaten without prejudice in Lhasa, and few will eat eggs. The sedentary peoples will eat hares, marmots, and game birds of the pheasant family, as well as pork, but some of the nomadic tribes farthest removed from contact with the sedentary communities will not eat even pork, nor will they eat green vegetables or mushrooms. Thus step by step, from the sedentary peoples on up to the nomads, what is decent and cleanly as food becomes subject to closer discrimination. The nomads take pride in their taboos as showing what especially fine people they are and make frequent reference to the disgusting eating habits of the rong-pa, who, though he dearly loves the taste of a fat marmot, confesses it shamefacedly, for in his heart of hearts he thinks that the drok-pa is right.
The superiority of the nomad in physique and health is also marked. Such was the opinion of Dr. Rees, who traveled with us for about three months, visiting both nomadic and sedentary communities. We examined over three thousand men and women and had ample opportunity to form an opinion. in spite of the greater exposure and hardship incident to nomadic life, the nomads were far healthier than the sedentary people. There was a much higher incidence of syphilis among the sedentary peoples than among the nomads, although there seemed to be more gonorrhea among the latter. There is no leprosy to be found among the nomads although there is a very high incidence of that disease among the farming peoples.
The Tibetans explanation of this shows something of the disability under which the farmer pursues his farming activity. The Tibetans as a whole are morbidly afraid of arousing the wrath of the sa-ndre (earth spirits) which can very easily be done by any activity involving digging. The nomads who live in tents all the year around escape the necessity of offending the earth spirits. Those who dig sod for their winter huts admit that they have trespassed but consider the trespass a minor one. The poor farmers must go on year after year antagonizing the earth spirits, and each year new cases of leprosy appear among the dwellers of the earthen houses.
On first sight, the farmers with their well built homes and carefully kept, personally owned, fields would seem to have a much larger economic capital than the nomads, but the fact is that the Tibetan plutocrats of the land are to be found among the nomads. A careful comparison of the value of a good nomad tent with that of a good house reveals that in spite of appearances the tent is quite as valuable as the house; and when the value of the herds and flocks is added the capital of the nomad tent is somewhat larger, on a similar scale of wealth, than the capital of the farmer. Proof is to be found in the tendency of wealthy farmers to branch out toward a nomad way of life by setting up cattle camps in the higher, uncultivated ranges of the farming regions. Such a cattle camp is often a transition into nomadism, and wealthy farmers often retire to a nomad existence.
The preference for the nomad way of life is clearly illustrated by the position and habits of the Samtsa chief. The Samtsa tribe is one of those tribes which has two halves-a nomadic and a sedentary one. The chief is known as the Muk-ring chief, and his family probably originated in the village of that name down in the valley. The family homestead is located there, and the priest-uncle lives in the big house. The chief visits the village occasionally, but he lives in the nomadic encampment, which is called ngo-sker, and would be insulted if anyone called him a rong-pa.
All these differences cut squarely across the social structure of Tibetan life. There are tribes of which one half is nomadic and one half sedentary, there are thsu-ba (clans), and even families, that are divided in the same way. The Tibetan family is a small unit and cannot very well be actually divided, but there are cases in which the father and one of the sons have joined the nomads, leaving the farm and the life of the farmer to other sons. During the old man's lifetime both the tent and the farm are his, and during the winter he may actually visit and live in the village home; with the growing-up of the second generation, however, the family becomes two separate units, one nomadic, the other sedentary. The differences between the drok-pa and the rong-pa are expressed in every aspect of living. There is a drok-pa way to make boots and a rong-pa way, a drok-pa way to wear one's clothes and a rong-pa way, a drok-pa outlook and a rong-pa outlook; and the difference expressed by such catchwords as steppe and valley, farmer and shepherd, dweller of the black tents and dweller of the earthen houses, divides the two people culturally even though there is no other ground on which they are appreciably different.
The matter of priority is a question that arises in every aspect of our comparison of the two peoples, but there seems to be no certain answer. The linguistic conservatism of the nomads might indicate the greater antiquity of their mode of life. But their unquestioned superiority and their higher standards might indicate that as their mode of life is higher and better so it is a later development, away from the sedentary way of life. History, such as there is, gives no clue. At the present time certain population trends that we shall explain seem to indicate a movement from the sedentary manner of life to the nomadic manner of life. It may be that there has been here, as Owen Lattimore suggests in the case of the Mongols, a succession of changes presenting at this time the anomaly of two cultures one sedentary and one nomadic- existing side by side with unmistakable signs of a drift from the sedentary to the nomadic and with the latter by most criteria definitely superior.
It remains to describe the nature and degree of contact between drok-pa and rong-pa and to report the interactive effect of such contact. Foremost in creating the urge to meet and the occasion of contact is trade. That trade seems one-sided, for it would conceivably be possible for the farming communities to be self-contained, whereas the nomads must trade somewhere for grain. Yet it is not so one-sided as would first appear. There are Ngo-lok tribes which manage for prolonged periods on what their herds and flock supply them- plus the bulbs of edible potentella and some edible seeds- and get grain only at irregular intervals. So, if necessary, the drog-pa could be self-sufficient for a considerable period of time; although it is not certain whether their numbers would remain the same because a diet of milk products and meat is considerably more expensive than a mixed diet. The exchange of foodstuffs between the nomads and the sedentary peonies brings about the fact that both the nomadic and the sedentary Tibetans eat the same- chiefly tsam-ba (parched barley flour), butter, cheese and meat. The proportions, however, are different; the nomads eat more proteins and the sedentary folk eat more starches, as we have pointed out earlier.
It is the nomads who take sheep, cattle, butter, and cheese to the lowlands and brings back grain, for only the nomads possess enough cattle to carry the grain; in other kinds of trade the sedentary people often take the initiative and carry their wares to the nomad communities. In either case, the standing and security of the visitor is based on the functioning of the same quest-host relationship which enables the Moslem traders to travel in Tibetan country. 'n-e Tibetan may have certain advantages in dealing with a fellow-Tibetan, but, on the other hand, he may also have a tribal or clan feud to consider; so he must make arrangements to establish himself in relation to the community he visits in the same way a Chinese trader or an American missionary would.
The sedentary Tibetans go to the nomads to sell the special wares that are created in wooded country. The farmers exploit the forests to add to the yield of their farms; in this way chums. buckets, rakes, tent-poles, fence-palings, wooden bowls, saddles, and lance-shafts are taken into the nomad country. This inventory suggests the fact that there is more craftsmanship among the farming people. About the only distinctive article the nomads create is the black tent-cloth woven out of the yak hair, and this is so highly valued it can hardly be bought; hence the only trade in manufactured articles comes from the sedentary regions.
In addition to the occasions for contact created by trade, there is a one-sided movement of seasonal labor from the farming country to the grazing country. This is most pronounced at the time of the fall haying; long before the farming people have finished their harvesting, the poorer farmers go up to nomad areas to work in the hay fields. For a few days their services command fancy prices, and they get a chance to do what every Tibetan longs to do- eat meat and butter. Besides this strictly seasonal movement, there is constant slow movement of unattached men and women to nomad regions, where they try to attach themselves to some nomad family. By helping first with rush jobs, such as the shearing of the sheep in the summer and the de-hairing of the yak in the spring, some manage to get a permanent place and eventually become true nomads.
This brings us to the next, and probably most important, means of contact between these two cultural groups; this is the population shift from the sedentary to the nomadic groups. In spite of the better physiques and the better food of the nomads, their birth rate is extremely low- perhaps because of certain physiological factors affecting both men and women and their sexual relations as well, perhaps because of some other reason. From historical suggestions as to sexual impotency among the ancient Scythians and other horseback peoples to more immediate considerations of the possibility that a life in the saddle such as the Tibetans live creates temperatures and conditions unfavorable for the proper development of sperm, there is a wide range for hypothesis and investigation; but the fact remains that the nomads have fewer children than the sedentary families. The sedentary communities under consideration, as has been mentioned, are similar to, but not identical with, those communities that appear to be dying out before the advance of the Chinese; and these sedentary people have a fairly good birth rate, although it is not so high as that of the Chinese. The movement of population among the Tibetans of northeastern Tibet is plainly from the sedentary communities to the nomadic communities. I have personally known scores of nomads who were first or second generation arrivals from the farming country, but I have never known a nomad to adapt himself to the conditions of life among the farmers.
The population shift is on two levels-the highest and the lowest. How wealthy farmers retire and become nomads has already been described; also how the poorest members of the sedentary community can and do find their way into the nomad manner of living. Every rong-pa I ever talked with seemed to think that the arduous but far more exciting and adventurous life of the nomad was an alluring existence.
These contacts of varying kind and degree bring about certain modifications in the distinguishing features of each culture. The nomad's high and lofty contempt for the farmer is kept in check by the fact that at least once a year he will have to be beholden to the farmer for protection, and patronage while he does his annual marketing for foodstuffs. Also he makes many friends and learns many things from them. Thus it happens that the nomadic tribes which are nearest the sedentary tribes acquire more sedentary traits than do the more distant nomads; a corresponding statement can be made with reference to the farming tribes and clans. Thus whatever differentiation has taken place is subject to a secondary modification through the maintenance of a fairly continuous cycle of intermittent contact.
The most obvious result is a more balanced diet for each of the two groups. Another result is to be seen in the life of the sedentary People. As a link between the true nomadic existence and the sedentary existence, the cattle camps of the farmers have a function over and above their immediate one. They follow nomadic patterns and are based on the demonstrated profit of pastoral enterprise. They give the farmers a taste of nomad life and serve to introduce many an aspirant to life in the tent and saddle.
In summarizing the cultural situation among the sedentary and nomadic peoples of northeastern Tibet, we find an ethnic group that is homogenous in race, language, and religion, but which is divided into two distinct cultural groups. This distinction is manifested in material culture, customs, ideals, and general outlook, and is recognized by both groups in terms of higher and lower, better and poorer, more desirable and less desirable. it can be ascribed to a dissimilarity in subsistence economy, which, in turn, derives from a difference in locale. In each case, the particular subsistence economy has fostered the distinctive cultural traits of the group.
The nature and results of the culture contacts in each instance have been summarized, and we can now correlate, or compare, the different varieties of culture contact illustrated by the four instances cited. We began with four cultural groups: Chinese, Moslems, sedentary Tibetans, and nomadic Tibetans. Placing them at the comers of a quadrilateral, we, undertook to describe the four aspects of culture contact represented by the sides of that quadrilateral. The salient features of these four instances of contact may now be summarized in descriptive phrases, with which we will label the sides of the original diagram.
Andersson, Johann Gunnar. Children of the Yellow Earth. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1934.
This book gives the prehistoric background of the Chinese people as revealed in grave and kitchen site findings in the loess. It also incidentally gives brief descriptions of present day conditions and manner of life in China.
Andersson, Johann Gunnar. "Preliminary Report on Archaeological Research in Kansu," Peking Ministry of Agriculture and Commerce, The Geological Survey of China, 1925.
This Pamphlet gives a detailed account of findings in the Titao area where most of the excavations were made together with a tentative reconstruction of life in this area over four thousand years ago.
Andrew, G. Finlay. The Crescent in North West China. London, Philadelphia: The China Inland Mission, 1921.
This is a fairly comprehensive account of the various Moslem peoples found in China'-, Northwest with special reference to racial peculiarities, religious organization, stirrings of Pan Islam, and the general problem of their adjustment within the body politic of the Chinese.
Bell, Sir Charles Alfred - The Religion of Tibet. The Clarendon Press, 1931.
This book tells much of the general religious beliefs and more especially of the religious organization of the Tibetans discussed from the Lhasa view point and thus more specifically informative about southern Tibet.
Bell, Sir Charles Alfred. Tibet, Past and Present. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1924.
Deals mostly with the present political organization of Tibet with reference to treaties and contact with the powers. Has one or two chapters giving a general view of Tibetan history as drawn from Tibetan records.
Hedin, Sven Anders. Through Asia. London: Methuen and Co., 1898.
Volume two tells something of travel in Tibet together with an account of some of the people of the Tsaidam. It also deals briefly with incidents connected with the next but last rebellion of the Moslem in the nineties of the last century.
Huc, Evariste R. and Gabet, Joseph. Travels in Tartary, Thibet and China. New York and London: Harper and Bros., 1928.
A record of the travels of Catholic missionaries in l835 through a part of Tibet. The observations about Chinese, Moslems, and Tibetans furnishes a very interesting basis of comparison wit present day conditions. See in particular the description of the Kolos (Goloks).
Futterer, Karl. Geographische skizze Nordost-Ttbet. Gotha: J. Perthes, 1903.
The account of the Futterer-Holder expedition forty years ago. The expedition traveled through the area of the Kansu-Tibetan Border and were robbed by some of the very tribes we have traveled among. Contains much data of truly scientific interest.
Grenard, Fernand. Tibet: The Country and its Inhabitants. London: Hutchinson and Co., 1904.
An account of the travels of Henry Dutreil de Rhins and party in Tibet. Gives an incidental but very accurate description of the surly sedentary Tibetans- their villages and their character.
Laufer, Berthold. Bird Divinations Among the Tibetans... with a study of Tibetan Phonology of the Ninth Century. T'oung Lao, Vol. 15, 1914, pp. 1-110.
This monograph discusses probable phonetics of Tibetan in the ninth century showing changes that had already taken place in pronunciation in the two centuries since it had been reduced to writing in the seventh.
Laufer, Berthold. "Origin of Tibetan Writing," American Oriental Society Journal, Vol. 38, 1918. p. 34-46.
This is a defense of the theory of the derivation from the Sanskrit of the Tibetan system of writing as against the theory of a Central Asian origin from Ouigour or Turki sources.
Laufer, Berthold. Loan Words In Tibetan. Leide: E. J. Brill, 1918.
Principally demonstrates the preponderance of Chinese loan words in the total number of loan words found in Tibetan. Rather incomplete in instances quoted.
Laufer, Berthold. The Si-Hia Language. Leide: Libraire ci-devant, E. J. Brill, 1916.
A description of a now dead language once spoken by peoples somewhere in the Kansa-Tibetan area. It may be that some of the aboriginal languages as yet unrecorded may prove to be the lineal descendents of the Si-Hia language.
Przhevalskii, N. M. Mongolia, The Tangut Country and Solitudes of Northern Tibet. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1876.
Although much of his research and observations was concerned with geographic and biologic matters this account of the travels of the great Russian explorer has much in it about the life and manners of the Tanguts (Tibetans).
Rijnhart, Mrs. Susis (Carson). With the Tibetans in Tent and Temple. New York, Chicago: P. H. Revell Co., (1911, 1901).
The account of a trip toward Lhasa through north east Tibet giving much information about the Tibetans and also interesting items about the next but last Moslem rebellion, a part of which the writer was an eyewitness.
Rockhill, William Woodville. Notes on the Ethnology of Tibet. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1895. (2) p. 665-747. Smithsonian Institute.
A very considerable though by no means exhaustive compilation of information about Tibetan ethnology. Mentions superiority of nomads and suggests reasons why northeast Tibet may be cited as the center from which Tibetan people and culture spread. Contains much detailed information about Tibetan technicology.
Rockhill, William Woodville. "Explorations in Mongolia and Tibet," (In Smithsonian Institution Annual Report, 1892) Washington 1893, p. 659-679.
Along with much incidental information about the Tibetans this report gives considerable space to a discussion of the Salar Moslems.
Rockhill, William Woodville. Diary of a Journey Through Mongolia and Tibet in 1891 and 1892. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1894.
Considerable anthropological matter found in the detailed descriptions of Salar Moslems, Dru-pa (Drok-pa) Tibetans, and the aborigines. Mentions comparative purity of the Dra-pa type of Tibetans as well as dialect. Some discussion of skin coloring and anthropological types.
Rockhill, William Woodville. Land of the Lamas. Kew York: The Century Co., 1891.
This book is rather a popularized presentation of the material found in other works. There are some interesting descriptions of the Goloks and other Tibetans and reference is made to the early Chinese classification of peoples as agricultural and nomadic.
Stevenson, Paul Houston. The Chinese-Tibetan Borderland and its People. Peking: The Peking Society of Natural History, 1927.
Describes with a distinctly anthropological flavor the border peoples on a section of the border to the south of the Kansu-Tibetan border. There are many striking similarities between conditions in both places. Contains some detailed anthropologic description of some of the aborigines.
Tafel, Albert. Meine Tibetreies. Stuttgart: Union Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft, 1914.
A good account of travel among the nomadic Tibetan with realistic data on topography, travel techniques, and Tibetan life, all given from very much the outsider's viewpoint.
Teichman, Eric. Travels of a Consular Officer in Eastern Tibet. Cambridge: The University Press, 1922.
A matter of fact record of travel stages, places, and people. Some incidental ethnological data.
Younghusband, Sir Francis Edward. Peking to Lhasa. London: Constable and Co., Ldt., 1925.
The diary of Brigadier-General George Pereira's trip. Only as in a few pages he gives some details about travel through the Chone district does it have any direct bearing on the material presented in the monograph.