Wednesday, June 16, 2010

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"Every house has an altar in its main hall (or at least in its main room when it cannot rise to the luxury of a hall); in it are set both the images of the gods that the household chooses toworship and its ancestor tablets (or substitutes). . . .

"An individual tablet is usually 'dotted': it has a red dot (ink or blood) imposed on it to establish a hun (soul) of the dead person in it, or at least to provide the hun with a place to settle. That ritual act sets up one instrument and distinguishes it from all others that may come to be made for the same person. As far as domestic worship is conceredn, the 'dotted' talbet should act as the focus wehn all those who are the descendants of the person for whom it stands wish to serve it jointly. In theory, a stock of tablets passes down the generations by primogeniture, and it is in connection with his right-duty to maintain the stock that the oldest son may claim and get an extra share of property when a patrimony is divided up among the brothers. . . .

"On any domestic altar there may be two kinds of tablet: individual and collective, the latter designating 'all the ancestors'."

Freedman 1970, 165, 167, 173

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