Matusovskiy A. Matsés Mythology: A Comparative Ethnographic Analysis

A. Matusovskiy
Russian State University for the Humanities
Moscow, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0003-0903-316X


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ABSTRACT. Comparative ethnographic analysis of the mythology of the Matsés (or Mayoruna), a Pano-speaking group settled in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon, opens up opportunities for understanding interethnic contacts in the upper reaches of the Javari (Yaquirana) River area. Materials on the mythology of the Matsés allow us to trace some aspects of their ethnic history, including their use of various elements of everyday and spiritual culture. A significant similarity of plots is found in the mythologies of the Matsés and their Pano-speaking neighbors Marúbo and Matis; some common motifs can be also traced in the folklore of the Matsés and Kashinawa. The Matsés are experienced hunters who travel a lot, at length, and with pleasure in the forest. In their folklore, stories about forest spirits, usually associated with certain species of animals, occupy an important place. In hunting stories and tales of forest spirits, echoes of various mythological plots are found. One gets an impression that today the mythology of the Matsés is gradually transforming into folklore stories that take on various forms. In a historical retrospective, the Matsés can describe the past until about the middle of the nineteenth century. We can classify only a few examples of the oral narratives of the Matsés as myths. Probably, the reason for this is not so much the influence of Christian missionaries, as the Matsés culture’s tendency to include foreign cultural elements in their society.


 KEYWORDS: mythology, comparative mythology, Matsés (Mayoruna) mythology, Matsés (Mayoruna), Peruvian Amazon, Brazilian Amazon


DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-4(14)-75-93
УДК 7.046.1(=87)



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