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"Every shaman, be he great or small, plays a very important role in the lives of the savages. They are often consulted like oracles and their instructions are followed to the letter. There are two kinds; some reveal hidden things, help to find the perpetrators of a theft or a death brought about by “curses”, others cure sickness. They are people that must be handled with care. It is possible to become a sorcerer either by succession, by receiving superhuman powers from a comrade who has proved himself, or by the direct initiation of a spirit. Vocations are manifested, among predestined subjects, by stomach pain or indisposition suffered following the swallowing of certain dishes, such as mouse, lizard or toad, dishes which in no way incommode the common mortal. One or two serendipitous cures, some skilful juggling between periods of epileptic fits, and the shaman enjoys an immense reputation."

(Cupet, 1891)

Sacrifice to the Spirits, after the drawing by Captain de Malglaive in Le Tour du Monde, Paris, 1893 (© ANOM All rights reserved)