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Tattoos

(383 words)

Author(s): Bräunlein, Peter J.
[German Version] The word tattoo derives from the Tahitian word tatau, “open a wound.” Pricking or cutting instruments and dyes are used to make permanent decorations, symbols, and images on the skin. Tattooing is found throughout the world; its origin, like that of body painting, is prehistoric. Depending on their cultural setting, tattoos range from a few dots or circles on the back of the hand, the forehead, or the chin (Middle ¶ Eastern nomads, Inuit) to whole-body tattoos (Japan, Polynesia). Tattooing is a ritual performed by specialists, not uncommonly taking several y…

Folklore

(3,078 words)

Author(s): Bräunlein, Peter J. | Hirschfelder, Gunther | Grethlein, Christian
[German Version] I. The Term and the Academic Discipline – II. Religious Studies – III. Social Science – IV. Practical Theology I. The Term and the Academic Discipline Folklore is concerned with material and linguistic traditions (e.g. dwellings, costumes, dialects, fairy tales), the spiritual and religious life of the “common people” (Customs, Piety), as well as with historical and contemporary phenomena of everyday culture. Unlike ethnology, folklore is regionally limited to Europe. During the formative stage, folklo…

Weapons

(906 words)

Author(s): Bräunlein, Peter J. | Reuter, Hans-Richard
[German Version] I. Religion and Mythology The evolution of language and the intelligent use of tools and weapons ran parallel courses. Technologically, weapons for hunting and weapons of war were initially identical. Weapons as funerary goods go back to the Upper Paleolithic (Burial: I; Dead, Cult of the: I). The deadly power of weapons explains their unique place in the history of religion. Specially designed knives are used in sacrificial rituals (Human sacrifice, Sacrifice, Ritual killing); their crafting and use is reserved to religious s…