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Ethnoastronomy: The People and the Stars

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This presentation discusses ethnoastronomy--its differences and similarities across cultures around the world.

Published in: Science

Ethnoastronomy: The People and the Stars

  1. 1. ETHNOASTRONOMY The People and the Stars
  2. 2. What is ETHNOASTRONOMY? Ethnoastronomy is the branch of astronomy that involves learning about the astronomical system of non-Western people (Farrer, 1993). It is concerned on knowing how different ethnic groups on Earth see the heavens and how they use it for their contemporary daily lives.
  3. 3. PART 1: NATIVE AMERICANS •Navajo •Inuit •Lakota
  4. 4. NAVAJO INDIANS The Navajo (Navajo: Diné or Naabeehó) are a Native American people of the Southwestern United States. They are the second largest federally recognized tribe in the US.
  5. 5. DILYEHE The Planters The Planters determine when it is the proper time to plant crops. Once it is seen early in the morning, planting must stop or the crops will not be ripe by harvest.
  6. 6. GAH HAAT’E’II The Rabbit Tracks This constellation, which is part of the tail of Scorpius, is used by Navajo hunters to determine when the traditional hunting season would begin.
  7. 7. INUIT Inuit are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Greenland, Canada, and Alaska.
  8. 8. AAGJUNK The Sunbeam The Aagjunk is used by the Inuit for time keeping. On the day of the winter solstice, the Sun lies directly below Aagjunk. Even though one can’t see the Sun as it lies close to the horizon, the false twilight that it produces is centered on the star.
  9. 9. LAKOTA INDIANS The Lakȟóta people, also known as Teton, Thítȟuŋwaŋ ("prairie dwellers"), and Teton Sioux ("snake, or enemy") are an indigenous people of the Great Plains of North America.
  10. 10. CANSHASHA IPUSYE The Dried Willow The Dried Willow constellation is watched from the Winter Camps to signify the arrival of the Vernal equinox.
  11. 11. WINCINCHALA SAKOWIN The Seven Little Girls The Wincinchala Sakowin is watched from the Harney Peak to warn the people on the incoming thunderstorm season (“welcoming of the thunder”).
  12. 12. TAYAMNI The Buffalo The Tayamni is watched from a central cairn during the “life welcoming at peace” ceremony every spring.
  13. 13. MATO TIPILA The Bear’s Lodge The Bear’s Lodge is watched from the Devil’s Tower during the Summer solstice, right before the “Sun Dance” tribal ceremony.
  14. 14. The Lakota “tying” of the constellations Harney Peak Central Cairn Devil’s Tower Winter Camps
  15. 15. PART 2: WESTERN AFRICA •Hausa
  16. 16. HAUSA PEOPLE The Hausa are one of the largest ethnic groups in Africa. The Hausa are a diverse but culturally homogeneous people based primarily in the Sahelian and Sudanian Daura area of northern Nigeria and southeastern Niger, with significant numbers also living in parts of Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Chad, Togo, Ghana, Sudan, and Gabon.
  17. 17. KAZA MAIYAYA The Hen with Chickens The Kaza Maiyaya is the constellation that appears during the onset of the rainy season.
  18. 18. Eagle Star The Morning Star of Harvest The appearance of Altair at dawn signifies the start of the harvest season.
  19. 19. PART 3: EAST ASIA •China
  20. 20. THE CHINESE CONSTELLATIONS Traditional Chinese astronomy has a system of dividing the celestial sphere into asterisms or constellations, known as "officials“. The Chinese asterisms are generally smaller than the constellations of Hellenistic tradition. The Song dynasty (13th-century) Suzhou planisphere shows a total of 283 patterns, comprising a total of 1,565 individual stars.
  21. 21. In China, where the Emperor was seen as the Son of Heaven with a mandate from the power of heaven to rule, the stars were closely tied to the events within the dynasties. Most constellations were related to the objects on earth which was seen as a reflection of that in the heavens. Detail was important for advising the Emperor and predicting events. Thus, astrology led to meticulous astronomy.
  22. 22. Along the northern sky, the star patterns were grouped into three enclosures. 1.Left Wall of the Supreme Palace 2.Right Wall of the Supreme Palace 3.Left Wall of the Heavenly Market 4.Right Wall of the Heavenly Market
  23. 23. Along the ecliptic, the twenty-eight mansions are divided into four symbols. 1.Azure Dragon of the East 2.Vermilion Bird of the South 3.White Tiger of the West 4.Black Tortoise of the North *similar with Japanese and Korean constellations
  24. 24. One of the most important fruits of ancient Chinese astronomy, the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar which arranges the year, month and day number upon the astronomical date. It is used for traditional activities in China and overseas Chinese communities.
  25. 25. PART 4: SOUTHEAST ASIA • Sunda • Filipinos
  26. 26. SUNDANESE PEOPLE The Sundanese are an ethnic group native to the western part of the Indonesian island of Java. They number approximately 40 million, and are the second most populous of all the nation's ethnicities.
  27. 27. BENTANG WULUKU The Pitchfork The rising of the Orion’s Belt (Bentang Wuluku) at dawn during mid-May signals the start of the dry season.
  28. 28. BENTANG KERTI The Garden Together with the Orion’s Belt, the rising of the Pleiades (Bentang Kerti) at dawn during mid-May signals the start of the dry season.
  29. 29. BENTANG LANGLANGAYAN The Kite Also called as Bentang Saung Genjot (The Leaning Hut), it is used by fishermen to know the Southern direction. Its appearance in the East during sunrise is the sign of the beginning of the dry season for farmers.
  30. 30. FILIPINO PEOPLE The Filipinos are a Southeast Asian ethnic group who are identified and native to the Philippines.
  31. 31. BALATIK The Trap
  32. 32. MAPULONG The Group of Stars
  33. 33. CAMALYNG The Hut
  34. 34. TIMBANGAN The Scales
  35. 35. PART 5: AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINALS • Arrernte • Boorong • Pitjantjatjara • Warlpiri • Yolngu
  36. 36. NEILLOAN The Mallee Fowl The first appearance of the Neilloan in the night sky signifies the beginning of the egg-laying season of the Mallee fowls. (Boorong)
  37. 37. DJUIT The Red-rumped Parrot The first appearance of the Djuit in the night sky signified the arrival of the Macassan fishermen from Indonesia.
  38. 38. LAMANKURRK The Girls The first appearance of the Djuit in the dawn sky signifies the beginning of winter.
  39. 39. EMU The Emu Whenever the Emu appears to “stand” on Autumn nights, it signifies the beginning of the egg-laying season of the emu birds.
  40. 40. PART 6: OCEANIAN NAVIGATORS • Maori • Polynesians
  41. 41. MAORI PEOPLE The Maori are the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand. The Māori originated with settlers from eastern Polynesia, who arrived in New Zealand in several waves of canoe voyages at some time between 1250 and 1300 CE.
  42. 42. MATARIKI The Eyes of God The first appearance of Matariki together with Puanga (Rigel) in the dawn sky signifies the birth of a new year.
  43. 43. REHUA The Heavenly Guardian Known fully as ko Rehua whakaruhi tangata (Rehua gives energy to men), Rehua heralds the start of spring whenever it rises just before dawn.
  44. 44. MAORI STAR COMPASS
  45. 45. POLYNESIANS The Polynesian people consists of various ethnic groups that speak Polynesian languages, a branch of the Oceanic languages, and inhabit Polynesia. The native Polynesian people of New Zealand and Hawaii are minorities in their homelands.
  46. 46. KAHEI-HEI O NA KEIKI The Cat’s Cradle The Kahei-hei o na keiki is used as a navigation guide during the winter months.
  47. 47. HANAIAKAMALAMA The Cross of the Barren Lands The Hanaiakamalama is used as a pointer for both the north (Hokupa’a, Polaris) and south directions.
  48. 48. POLYNESIAN STAR COMPASS END.
  49. 49. 1. DID YOU NOTICE ANY SIMILARITIES BETWEEN ANY OF THE DISCUSSED ETHNIC STAR LORES/ASTRONOMY? WHAT DO YOU THINK MADE THEM VERY IDENTICAL? 2. HOW DOES A SPECIFIC CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT AFFECT THE DEVELOPMENT OF ASTRONOMY/ASTROLOGY OF ANY ETHNIC GROUPS? 3. BETWEEN THE ONES DISCUSSED, WHICH ETHNIC ASTRONOMY DO YOU FIND MOST INTERESTING? QUESTIONS:

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