Archive for September, 2012

Hani People – Yunan

Posted in WORLD'S HISTORY with tags on September 29, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1280

HANI PEOPLE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hani people (HaniHaqniqChinese: 哈尼族; pinyinHānízúVietnameseNgười Hà Nhì) are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 nationalities officially recognized by the People’s Republic of China. They also form one of the 54 officially recognized ethnic groups of Vietnam. There are 12,500 Hanis living in the Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces of Vietnam.
Hani
An ethnic Hani girl with a typical Hani headgear for children. Near Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, China.
An ethnic Hani girl with a typical Hani headgear for children. Near YuanyangYunnan Province, China.
Total population
1.5 million (est.)
Regions with significant populations
ChinaYunnan,Vietnam 17,535 (1999), LaosBurma
Languages
Hani
Religion
AnimismBuddhismChristianity.
Related ethnic groups
YiLahu

Distribution

Over ninety percent of the Hani live in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan, scattered across the Ailao Mountains between the Mekong River and the Red River (Yuanjiang).

Hani autonomous subdivisions of China are as follows.

Origins

File:Ethnic Yi China Costume.jpg

Typical daily attire of ethnic Hani (哈尼) in China. Near Yuanyang, Yunnan Province, China (note the incorrect file name identifies such as Yi).

The origins of the Hani are not precisely known, though their ancestors, the ancient Qiang tribe, are believed to have migrated southward from the QinghaiTibetan plateau prior to the third century AD.

The Hani oral traditions state that they are descended from the Yi people, and that they split off as a separate tribe fifty generations ago. One of their oral traditions is the recital of the names of Hani ancestors from the first Hani family down to oneself.

File:Hani ladies in Laomeng village Yunnan China.jpg

Hani minority ladies at Laomeng Market, near Yuanyang, Yunnan province, China

Religion

The Hani are polytheists and they profess a special adoration toward the spirits of their ancestors. They are used to practicing rituals to venerate to the different gods and thus to obtain their protection.

The religious hierarchy of the Hani is divided into three main personages: the zuima that directs the main celebrations; the beima, responsible for practicing the exorcisms and the magical rituals; the nima that takes charge of carrying out predictions and to administer the medicinal herbs. This last charge can be performed indistinctly by men and women. Some Hani also profess Theravada Buddhism.

Culture

 

Hani’s house in Vietnam

The dwellings of the Hani are usually two or three stories high, built with bamboo, mud, stone and wood.

The traditional clothing of the Hani is used made out of dark blue fabric. The men dress in short jackets and in long wide pants. They also wear turbans which are white or black. The women dress depending on which clan they belong to. There is no gender difference in the clothing of children under the age of seven.

They play a wind instrument called the ebi (俄比).

Part of thousand years old culture are terraced fields.

Language

The Hani language spoken by many of the Hani is of the Yi branch of the Tibeto-Burman language family. Oral tradition tells of an ancient written script, tradition says it was lost on the migration from Sichuan. They now use a romanization of the Luchun dialect as a written script.

File:Yuanyang sunset rice terraced mountain.jpg
Sunset over the rice terraced mountains of the Hani people in Yuanyang County, Yunnan, China, in wintertime, when the paddies are left filled with water until planting in Spring.

Hónghé Hani and Yi Autonomous Prefecture (simplified Chinese: 红河哈尼族彝族自治州; traditional Chinese: 紅河哈尼族彝族自治州; pinyinHónghé Hānízú Yízú Zìzhìzhōu) is an autonomous prefecture of Yunnan Province, China. Its name is derived from theHonghe river (Red river) and the two major ethnic minority groups who live there: the Yi and the Hani. Honghe has an area of 32,929 km². The capital of the prefecture is Mengzi.

In 2008, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage of the People’s Republic of China nominated the Honghe Hani Terraced Fields of Yuanyang County for World Heritage Site status.

Subdivisions

The prefecture is subdivided into 13 county-level divisions: 2 county-level cities, 8 counties, and 3 autonomous counties:

Map
Honghe mcp.png
# Name Hanzi Hanyu Pinyin Population
(2003 est.)
Area (km²) Density
(/km²)
1 Mengzi City 蒙自市 Méngzì Shì 320,000 2,228 144
2 Gejiu City 个旧市 Gèjiù Shì 390,000 1,597 244
3 Kaiyuan City 开远市 Kāiyuǎn Shì 260,000 2,009 129
4 Lüchun County 绿春县 Lǜchūn Xiàn 210,000 3,167 66
5 Jianshui County 建水县 Jiànshuǐ Xiàn 500,000 3,940 127
6 Shiping County 石屏县 Shípíng Xiàn 290,000 3,090 94
7 Mile County 弥勒县 Mílè Xiàn 490,000 4,004 122
8 Luxi County 泸西县 Lúxī Xiàn 370,000 1,674 221
9 Yuanyang County 元阳县 Yuányáng Xiàn 370,000 2,292 161
10 Honghe County 红河县 Hónghé Xiàn 270,000 2,034 133
11 Jinping Miao, Yao and Dai Autonomous County 金平苗族瑶族傣族自治县 Jīnpíng Miáozú Yáozú Dǎizú ìzhìxiàn 320,000 3,677 87
12 Hekou Yao Autonomous County 河口瑶族自治县 Hékǒu Yáozú Zìzhìxiàn 80,000 1,313 61
13 Pingbian Miao Autonomous County 屏边苗族自治县 Píngbiān Miáozú Zìzhìxiàn 150,000 1,905 79

Demography

According to the 2000 census, Honghe has 4,130,463 inhabitants (population density: 125.44 inhabitants per km²).

Ethnic groups in Honghe, 2000 census

Nationality Population Percentage
Han 1,830,245 44.31%
Yi 973,732 23.57%
Hani 685,727 16.6%
Miao 274,147 6.64%
Zhuang 99,132 2.4%
Dai 98,164 2.38%
Yao 76,947 1.86%
Hui 68,033 1.65%
Lahu 9,900 0.24%
Bai 4,161 0.1%
Buyei 3,736 0.09%
Mongols 1,214 0.03%
Tu 835 0.02%
ethnic background not given 828 0.02%
Others 3,662 0.09%

File:Jianshui-shi-chao-yang-lou.jpg

Chao Yang Lou (or Old City Gate) in Jianshui, Yunnan.

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China. Photo #1 by Jialiang Gao

http://www.lovethesepics.com/2011/02/17-tremendous-terraced-rice-fields/

Jingkou Village of Hani People

Jingkou Village of Hani People http://www.chinavillagetour.com/photo-v31-jingkou-village-of-hani-people

Jingkou Village of Hani People

Jingkou Village of Hani People http://www.chinavillagetour.com/photo-v31-jingkou-village-of-hani-people

Jingkou Village of Hani People

Jingkou Village of Hani People http://www.chinavillagetour.com/photo-v31-jingkou-village-of-hani-people

Jingkou Village of Hani People

Jingkou Village of Hani People http://www.chinavillagetour.com/photo-v31-jingkou-village-of-hani-people

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17 Tremendous Terraced Rice Fields

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags on September 29, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1279

17 Tremendous Terraced Rice Fields

http://www.lovethesepics.com/2011/02/17-tremendous-terraced-rice-fields/

Like rice? Rice is a staple in many countries. Terraced paddy fields are very common in rice farming where the land is hilly or mountainous.
Terraced rice fields helps to decrease erosion and work well for rice crops which need to be grown in a flooded area. Terraced paddy fields are built into steep hillsides by intense physical labor, sometimes by using a water buffalo to help in the wetlands. While terraced rice fields are a common sight in third-world countries, it is an uncommon sight for many of us. We loved these pics – 17 Tremendous Terraced Rice Fields.

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China. Photo #1 by Jialiang Gao

Banaue Philippines Terraced Rice Fields

Banaue, Philippines – Terraced Rice Fields. Photo #2 by Jeff Werner

Yuanyang sunset rice terraced mountain

Yuanyang sunset rice terraced mountain. Photo #3 by Takeaway

Banaue rice terraces Photo #4 by Jon Díez Supat

Fields of Gold – Boracay Island & Rice Terraces in Philippines. Photo #5 by momo

Reflections of the clouds at sunset over the rice terraced mountains of the Hani people in Yuanyang County, Yunnan, China, in wintertime, when the paddies are left filled with water until planting in Spring. Photo #6 by Takeaway

Bay-yo Rice Terraces, Bontoc, Mt. Province. Photo #7 by Shubert Ciencia

Terrace fields amidst Himalayan ranges, near Rishikesh. Photo #8 by Ekabhishek

Mountain of Rice - rice terraces

Mountain of Rice – Philippines. Photographers noted, “These rice terraces that follow the contours of the mountain had been here for roughly 2,000 years. Dubbed as the eight wonder of the world, these rice terraces are carved out of rocky mountainsides in most of the Cordillera Provinces — following sacred traditions and skill passed on to generations. On the average, these rice terraces are 1,500 meters above sea level.” Photo #9 by Storm Crypt

Hamanoura (Saga) rice terraces in Japan. Photo #10 by kanegen

Terraced Fields in Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo #11 by Christophe Meneboeuf

Evening sun in terraced paddy fields

Evening sun in terraced paddy fields. Photo #12 by takuma kimura

Rice terraces in early morning mist, Guangxi Province, China

Rice terraces in early morning mist, Guangxi Province, China. Photo #13 by miquitos

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China

Terrace rice fields in Yunnan Province, China – shot 2. Photo #14 by JialiangGao

Banaue rice terrace - Philippines

Banaue rice terrace – Philippines. Photo #15 by Agricmarketing

Rice Terraces in Longsheng near Guilin China

Rice Terraces in Longsheng near Guilin China. The photographer noted, “The rice terraces have been in use for hundreds of years by the Yao ethnic people of this region.” Photo #16 by Jack French

Rice terraces While trekking around the Annapurnas

Rice terraces While trekking around the Annapurnas. Photo #17 by Eric Montfort

Nazi-Acquired Buddha Statue Came From Space

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags , , on September 27, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1278

Nazi-Acquired Buddha Statue Came From Space

By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer | LiveScience.com – 7 hrs ago

A Buddha statue dating back to the 8th to 10th centuries is carved from a rare iron meteorite.

It sounds like a mash-up of Indiana Jones’ plots, but German researchers say a heavy Buddha statue brought to Europe by the Nazis was carved from a meteorite that likely fell 10,000 years ago along the Siberia-Mongolia border.

This space Buddha, also known as “iron man” to the researchers, is of unknown age, though the best estimates date the statue to sometime between the eighth and 10th centuries. The carving depicts a man, probably a Buddhist god, perched with his legs tucked in, holding something in his left hand. On his chest is a Buddhist swastika, a symbol of luck that was later co-opted by theNazi party of Germany.

“One can speculate whether the swastika symbol on the statue was a potential motivation to displace the ‘iron man’ meteorite artifact toGermany,” the researchers wrote online Sept. 14 in the journal Meteoritics & Planetary Science.

Iron man adventure

The iron man first came to Germany after a 1938-1939 Tibet expedition by zoologist and ethnology Ernst Schäfer, who was sent to the region by the Nazi party to find the roots of Aryan origin. The statue then passed into the hands of a private owner.

Stuttgart University researcher Elmar Bucher and his colleagues first analyzed the statue in 2007, when the owner allowed them to take five miniscule samples of it. In 2009, the team had the opportunity to take larger samples from the inside of the statue, which is less prone to contamination by weathering or human handling than the outside where the initial samples were taken.

They found that the statue is carved from a rare class of space rocks known as ataxite meteorites. These mostly iron meteorites have a high level of nickel. The largest-ever known meteorite, the Hoba meteorite of Namibia, is an ataxite meteorite that may weigh more than 60 tons.

It came from outer space

A chemical analysis of the iron man samples revealed they are a close match for a famous scattering of space rocks from the Siberia and Mongolian border. The Chinga meteorite field holds at least 250meteorite fragments, most relatively small, though two topping 22 pounds (10 kg) have been found there. Scientists estimate the Chinga meteorite fell 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. The field’s first discovery was recorded in 1913, but the statue’s existence suggests people were mining the field for artistic materials long before that, Buchner said.

The identity of the carved man is unclear, but the researchers suspect he may be the Buddhist godVaisravana, also known as Jambhala. Vaisravana is the god of wealth or war, and he is often portrayed holding a lemon (a symbol of wealth) or moneybag in his hand. The iron man holds an unidentified object in his hand. The statue is about 9.5 inches (24 cm) tall and weighs about 23 pounds (10.6 kg).

Many cultures used meteorite iron to make daggers and even jewelry, Buchner and his colleagues wrote, and meteorite worship is common among many ancient cultures. But the Buddha carving is unique.

“The Iron Man statue is the only known illustration of a human figure to be carved into a meteorite, which means we have nothing to compare it to when assessing value,” Buchner said in a statement. “Its origins alone may value it at $20,000; however, if our estimation of its age is correct and it is nearly a thousand years old it could be invaluable.”

Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites

Posted in THE UNIVERSE & SPACE SCIENCE with tags , , on September 27, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

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Fallen Stars: A Gallery of Famous Meteorites

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Stones from the Sky
Stones from the Sky
Credit: S. Molau and P. Jenniskens, NASA Ames Research Center
Earth gets alien visitors all the time, in the form of space debris that makes it through our atmosphere. The terms can be confusing, so here’s a glossery: Meteoroids are defined by the International Astronomical Union as “a solid object moving in interplanetary space, of a size considerably smaller than an asteroid and considerably larger than an atom.” When a meteoroid enters a planet’s atmosphere, its bright path across the sky is called a meteor. When a meteor makes it through the atmosphere without burning up entirely, the remnants found on earth are called meteorites.Above, a meteor outburst during the Perseid meteor showers of 1995. Friction in the atmosphere turns rocks into fireballs. 

Allende Meteorite
Allende Meteorite
Credit: H. Raab, Wikimedia Commons
This 3-inch (8 centimeter)-wide meteorite fragment is part of the Allende meteorite, the most-studied meteorite ever. This car-sized chunk of rock flamed through Earth’s atmosphere in February, 1969. It broke into thousands of smaller pieces, found strewn over the desert in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua.The Allende meteorite is a carbonaceous chondrite, a rare type of meteorite that makes up only about 4 percent of known meteorites. The Allende meteorite contains components that are more than 4.5 billion years old, making the rock a snapshot of the conditions present in the earliest days of the solar system. 

Car Crash
Car Crash
Credit: Pierre Thomas, LST, ENS Lyon
Not every meteorite falls in a near-empty desert. The Peekskill meteorite crashed into this unlucky car in New York in 1992. The meteorite itself was unremarkable, but more than a dozen people caught its entry into the atmosphere on video, providing scientists with a plethora of data on the meteorite’s behavior before it hit the ground.The car has found fame, too. It’s now owned by R.A. Langheinrich Meteorites, and has been put on display around the world. 

Moon Meteorite
Moon Meteorite
Credit: NASA Johnson Space Center
Until the 1980s, scientists believed that all meteorites came from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This white-speckled rock changed all that. Researchers found it in Antarctica in 1981 and noticed its similarity to the moon rocks that Apollo astronauts brought back to Earth. Sure enough, tests showed that this rock came from the moon. In the next 15 years, 11 other moon rocks would be found on Earth.
Willamette Wonder
Willamette Wonder
Credit: Dante Alighieri, Wikimedia Commons
The Willamette meteorite is the largest ever found in North America. A settler named Ellis Hughes found the meteorite in Oregon in 1902 and moved the 15.5-ton iron rock to his own property. It wasn’t the meteorite’s first terrestrial journey: Because no impact crater was found at the meteor’s original resting site, researchers suspect it landed elsewhere and was transported to Oregon via glacial action during the Ice Age. The meteorite is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Buried Iron
Buried Iron
Credit: Public domain
The Hoba meteorite in Namibia is the largest-known single meteorite piece on Earth. A farmer discovered the gigantic iron mass while plowing his field in the early 1900s. It was soon excavated and estimated to weigh about 66 tons. Because of its huge mass, the meteorite has never been moved.
Tagish Lake
Tagish Lake
Credit: Michael Holly, Creative Services, University of Alberta.
In January 2000, a meteoroid exploded over Tagish Lake in southwestern Canada, scattering the frozen lake with at least 22 pounds (10 kg) of meteorites. A June 2011 study published in the journal Science found significant geological variation among fragments, with some containing amino acids and other biochemical building blocks of life.
Life in a Meteorite?
Life in a Meteorite?
Credit: Hoover/Journal of Cosmology
The Orgueil meteorite fell in France in 1864 and caused a firestorm in scientific circles in 2011. NASA scientist Richard Hoover claimed in March 2011 in the Journal of Cosmology that filaments in the meteorite, seen under a scanning electron microscope, could be evidence of extraterrestrial bacteria.Other scientists, however, called foul, pointing out that the structures could becreated by non-organic processes. 

Old Rock, New Mineral
Old Rock, New Mineral
Credit: Chi Ma.
Occasionally, meteorites bring something new to Earth. This 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite landed in northwest Africa. Inside, scientists discovered a mineral called krotite, which had never been found in nature before. Krotite forms at high temperatures and low pressure, and was likely one of the first minerals in the newly emerging solar system.
Martian Meteorite
Martian Meteorite
Credit: NASA/Johnson Space Center’s Meteorite Processing Laboratory
Another controversial chunk of rock, this meteorite from Mars was found in 1984 in the Allan Hills ice field in Antarctica and dubbed ALH84001. In 1996, researchers announced in the journal Science that structures in the meteorite might be fossilized microbial life, setting off the kind of media storm that you’d expect from a story about potential life on Mars. But most scientists remain skeptical that the Allan Hills specimen is evidence of life, and studies since 1996 have been unable to conclusively prove that the original claims are true.
Otherworldly Meteorite
Otherworldly Meteorite
Credit: NASA
Earth isn’t the only planet with alien rocks. NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity found this iron meteorite on the Red Planet, the first meteorite ever found on another world.The basketball-sized rock, dubbed “heat shield rock” because it sits near the debris of Opportunity’s heat shield, is mostly nickel and iron.

Viral photo helps 19-year-old arthritic dog recover

Posted in News with tags , on September 27, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1276

Viral photo helps 19-year-old arthritic dog recover

By  | The Sideshow – 7 hrs ago

John Unger with Schoep in Lake Superior (Hannah Stonehouse Hudson/StonehousePhoto.com/Facebook)

photograph of a man wading in Lake Superior with his 19-year-old arthritic dog captured the hearts of millions when it was posted online last month–an outpouring that inspired the dog’s owner to launch a foundation to help low-income families care for their aging canines.

John Unger says Schoep’s Legacy Foundation has raised more than $25,000 since Unger and his dog, Schoep, were photographed by a friend, who posted the image to Facebook.

Before the photo was taken, Unger and his veterinarian had been considering putting Schoep down.

“Without treatment, John and I were talking about euthanasia at the end of July,” Erik Haukass, the vet, told the Daily Mail. But through the unsolicited donations from people who saw the photo, Unger was able to treat Schoep and extend his life.

“Schoep is doing incredible right now,” Unger said. ‘The therapies that the people have donated–it’s like turning back the clock a year and a half.”

The foundation was created, Haukass added, when the pair “realized we had received more money than we would reasonably spend on Schoep’s care.”

“It could help another 30 or 40 Schoeps,” Haukass said.

The “Official Fan Page of Schoep and John” has more than 20,000 “likes,” and Hudson has beenselling prints of the photo to benefit the cause.

“This 19-year-old [Schoep is] being cradled in his father’s arms last night in Lake Superior,” Hannah Stonehouse Hudson, the photographer, wrote in the Facebook post that sparked the outpouring. “Schoep falls asleep every night when he is carried into the lake. The buoyancy of the water soothes his arthritic bones. Lake Superior is very warm right now, so the temperature of the water is perfect. I was so happy I got to capture this moment for John. By the way, John rescued Schoep as an 8-month-old puppy, and he’s been by his side through many adventures.”

Hudson, a professional photographer, told the Pioneer Press that business is booming since the photo of Unger and Schoep was published–so much so that she recently hired her first employee plus an intern.

“I would say a 30 percent increase in shoots,” Hudson said. “Who knew a favor to a friend would turn into this? It’s completely surreal.”

Because of the public’s generosity, Schoep has been getting expensive joint laser treatments to reduce pain and swelling related to arthritis.

“He’s walking so much faster,” the 49-year-old Unger said. “It’s unbelievable.”

Arctic Sea Ice Hits a Record Minimum (Infographic)

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags , , , on September 27, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 1275

Arctic Sea Ice Hits a Record Minimum (Infographic)

by Karl Tate, LiveScience
Date: 24 September 2012 Time: 11:04 AM ET
A new NASA image based on satellite data shows that the extent of Arctic sea ice in September 2012 has hit a new record minimum, compared with the average minimum extent for the past 30 years.

A new NASA image based on satellite data shows that the extent of Arctic sea ice, as of September 2012, has hit a new record minimum, compared with the average minimum extent for the past 30 years.

The new minimum, set on Sept. 16, is almost 300,000 square miles (777,000 square kilometers) less than the previous record minimum set in September 2007 (1.61 million square miles or 4.17 million square kilometers).

By comparison, the state of Texas measures around 268,600 square miles (696,000 square km).

The minimum coverage of Arctic sea ice has been decreasing over the past 30 years as ocean and air temperatures have increased. The 2012 minimum is about half the size of the average extent of ice coverage from the period of 1979 to 2000.

‘Cult Fiction’ Traced to Ancient Egypt Priest

Posted in SCIENCE, GEOLOGY,HEALTH, INVIRONMENT, TECHNOLOGY,ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY, with tags , on September 27, 2012 by 2eyeswatching

Post 12274

‘Cult Fiction’ Traced to Ancient Egypt Priest

Owen Jarus, LiveScience Contributor
Date: 24 September 2012 Time: 08:30 AM ET
This papyrus, now in two fragments, dates back around 1,900 years and was written in a form of ancient Egyptian known as Demotic. It records a fictional story that includes ritual sex.
CREDIT: Image copyright Istituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli” – Firenze

A recently deciphered Egyptian papyrus from around 1,900 years ago tells a fictional story that includes drinking, singing, feasting and ritual sex, all in the name of the goddess Mut.

Researchers believe that a priest wrote the blush-worthy tale, as a way to discuss controversial ritual sex acts with other priests.

“Our text may represent a new and hitherto unrecognized Egyptian literary genre: ‘cult’ fiction, the purpose of which was to allow controversial or contentious matters pertaining to the divine cult to be scrutinized in this way,” wrote professors Richard Jasnow and Mark Smith, who published their translation and analysis of the papyrus in the most recent edition of the journal Enchoria.

Jasnow, from Johns Hopkins University, and Smith, from Oxford, write that evidence of ritual sex is  rare in ancient Egypt and the act probably would have been controversial. “There is surprisingly little unequivocal Egyptian evidence for the performance of the sex act as such in ritual contexts,” Jasnow and Smith wrote.

They added that the Egyptians were known to discuss other controversial matters using fictional stories.

Writing about sex

Containing writing in a form of ancient Egyptian known as Demotic, the papyrus is likely to have originated in the Fayum village of Tebtunis at a time when the Romans controlled Egypt. It is currently in Florence, Italy, in the Istituto Papirologico “G. Vitelli.”

The drinking, feasting, singing and ritual sex mentioned in the Egyptian papyrus, were carried out in the name of the goddess Mut, shown here on a temple that dates back more than 3,200 years. According to legend she served as the “eye of Re” and left Egypt, traveling south, before returning to great rejoicing.
CREDIT: BasPhoto,Shutterstock 

The newly deciphered tale refers several times to having sex. At one point a speaker implores a person to “drink truly. Eat truly. Sing” and to “don clothing, anoint (yourself), adorn the eyes, and enjoy sexual bliss.” The speaker adds that Mut will not let you “be distant from drunkenness on any day. She will not allow you to be lacking in any (manner).”

The speaker defends his views by saying, “As for those who have called me evil, Mut will ‘call’ them evil.”

Researchers know the story is fictional because it employs an Egyptian noun used only in fiction to mark separate sections of a story.

The full story

Reconstructing the overall plot narrative of the papyrus is tricky. The text is fragmentary, and researchers cannot be certain how the full story unfolded.

“Conceivably, we have here the remains of an account of how an adherent of the goddess Mut persuaded another individual to devote himself to her worship or join in her rites,” the researchers write.

This “cult fiction” interpretation of the papyrus is backed up by the Greek writer Herodotus, who lived more than 2,400 years ago. He wrote that “it was the Egyptians who first made it a matter of religious observance not to have intercourse with women in temples, nor enter a temple after such intercourse without washing.” (That translation is from “Herodotus Volume 1,” Harvard University Press, 1990.)

For some ancient Egyptians, the idea of mixing sex and religion may have been extreme, a problem priests discussed by way of a fictional story.

Smith declined an interview request, telling LiveScience that everything the researchers wanted to say is in the journal article. He did add that new fragments of the papyrus recently were discovered, and they may allow for more of the story to be deciphered.