animals, master of the

Supernatural figure regarded as the protector of game animals in the traditions of hunting peoples.

In some traditions he is the ruler of the forest and guardian of all species; in others, he is the guardian of a single species
usually a large and valuable animal
and may have both human and animal characteristics. He requires that hunters treat slain animals with respect; if they fail to do so, he may withhold game until he is placated through a ceremony or by a shaman.

* * *

      supernatural figure regarded as the protector of game in the traditions of foraging (hunting) peoples. The name was devised by Western scholars who have studied such hunting and gathering societies. In some traditions, the master of the animals is believed to be the ruler of the forest and guardian of all animals; in others, he is the ruler of only one species, usually a large animal of economic or social importance to the tribe. Thus, among Eurasian peoples the animal most frequently is the bear; among the reindeer cultures of the tundra, the reindeer; among the northern coastal peoples of Eurasia and America, the whale, the seal, or the walrus; among the North American Indians, the bear, the beaver, or the caribou; and among Mesoamerican and South American Indians, the wild pig, jaguar, deer, or tapir. In some traditions he is pictured in human form, at times having animal attributes or riding an animal; in other traditions he is a giant animal or can assume animal form at will.

      A complex system of customs governs the relationship between the master of the animals, the game animal, and the hunter. The master controls the game animals or their spirits (in many myths, by penning them). He releases a certain number to humans as food. Only the allotted number may be killed, and the slain animals must be treated with respect. The master of the animals, if properly invoked, will also guide the hunter to the kill. The souls of the animals, when slain, return to the master's pens and give him a report of their treatment. If this system is violated, the master will avenge an animal improperly slain, usually by withholding game. A ceremony then must be held to remove the offense or a shaman (a religious personage with healing and psychic transformation powers) sent to placate the master.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Master of the Garden — The Master of the Garden is a character in the Science Fiction manga Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, created by Hayao Miyazaki. He is mysterious, ambiguous and rather scary. It is not clear at first whether he is good or evil, kind and… …   Wikipedia

  • Playing Cards, Master of the — ▪ German artist flourished c. 1430–50       anonymous German artist who is one of the most important of the early engravers in the Rhineland. He is known for a set of playing cards (60 remain) that are distinguished for the manner in which the… …   Universalium

  • master — masterless, adj. /mas teuhr, mah steuhr/, n. 1. a person with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of something: a master of six languages; to be master of one s fate. 2. an owner of a slave, animal, etc. 3. an employer of workers or… …   Universalium

  • Animals in the Bible — • The sacred books were composed by and for a people almost exclusively given to husbandry and pastoral life, hence in constant communication with nature Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Animals in the Bible     Anima …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • The Secret World of Santa Claus — is a children s animated television show that originates from France. It is syndicated to several countries worldwide, including Teletoon in Canada, and is generally seen every December during the holiday season. On December 25, 2007, Christmas… …   Wikipedia

  • The Book of Sorrows — is the sequel novel to Walter Wangerin, Jr. s The Book of the Dun Cow. Published by Zondervan in 1985, it was received quite well by such known publications as the Washington post, who called it, A beautifully written fantasy anchored starkly in… …   Wikipedia

  • The Two Brothers — is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, tale number 60. It is Aarne Thompson type 567A, the magic bird heart, and type 303, the blood brothers.ynopsisA rich goldsmith and a poor broommaker were brothers. The broommaker had two… …   Wikipedia

  • The Corean Chronicles — is a fantasy series of books by the author L. E. Modesitt, Jr.. As of 2011, it consists of: Legacies (2002) Darknesses (2003) Scepters (2004) Alector s Choice (2005) Cadmian s Choice (2006) Soarer s Choice (2006) The Lord Protector s Daughter… …   Wikipedia

  • The Dark Crystal — Theatrical release poster by Richard Amsel Directed by Jim Henson Frank Oz …   Wikipedia

  • The Gateless Gate — (無門關, Mandarin. Wúménguān, Japanese. 無門関, Mumonkan) is a collection of 48 Chan (Zen) koans compiled in the early 13th century by the Chinese Zen master Wumen Hui k ai (無門慧開)(1183–1260) (Japanese: Mumon Ekai). Wumen s preface indicates that the… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.