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몽골의 야스(뼈)와 초스(피) : Mongolian Bone(yas) and Blood(tsus)

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서울대학교 비교문화연구소
비교문화연구, Vol.7 No.1, pp. 65-92
몽골에서 가장 보편적인 친척의 상징은 뼈, 피 그리고 살이다(Nyambuu 1991: 46). 몽골인들은 아버지의 정액이 아이의 뼈를 만드는 반면에 어머니의 자궁은 아이에게 살과 피를 공급한다고 말한다(Vreeland 1954: 56). 일부 몽골의 지식인들이 주장하는 바와 같이 이론적으로 몽골에서 뼈(yas) 의 은유는 부계(父系) 친척을 나타내기 위하여 사용되는 반면에 피(tsus)와 살(mah)은 모계(母系) 친척을 표시하기 위하여 사용된다. 그러나 오늘날 실질적으로 피는 양쪽(양방계 bilateral) 친척을 표시하기 위하여 사용된다. 이러한 친척의 은유를 표시하는데 몽골인들 사이에는 서로 다른 의견이 있어왔다.

오늘날 몽골의 지식인들 사이에는 다음과 같은 추측이 강하게 제기되고 있다. 예를 들어서 몽골이 사회주의화되기 이전에는 몽골사회에 단지 두 개의 상징만이 사용되었고, 뼈는 부계친척을, 피는 모계친척을 각각 나타내었다는 것이다. 오늘날 많이 사용되고 있는 피의 상징은 사회주의 기간 동안에 러시아에서 지배적이던 피의 은유에 영향을 받았다고 주장을 할 수 있다. 이러한 주장을 뒷받침하는 것은 러시아의 영향을 받지 않은 내몽골의 오르도스(Ordos) (Krader 1963: 55)와 호르친(Khorchin) 몽골인들 사이에서는 친척의 상징으로 단지 뼈(yas)와 살(mah)만이 사용되고 있다는 사실이다. 필자의 한 자료제공자는 몽골어의 뼈(피)는 러시아어의 krovyan roi(문자그대로 피의 구성요소")의 몽골식 번역이라고 말하기도 하였다.

In this paper, I looked into the three main kinship metaphors or symbols (bone, blood and flesh) which were used historically and are now in the process of being transformed. In theory, as argued by some Mongolian intellectuals, the metaphor of bone (yas) is usually employed to refer patrilineal kinship, while blood (tsus) or flesh (mah) is used to indicate matrilineal kinship. In practice today, however, blood is used to signify both sides (bilateral kinship). There has been an evolution in the use of these metaphors.

There is some speculation among Mongolian intellectuals that in the presocialist era only two metaphors (bone and flesh) were used to indicate patrilineal and matrilineal kinship respectively. Hence it is arguable that during the socialist era, the increased usage of the blood metaphor was influenced by the metaphor of blood that was dominant in Russian kinship.

In support of this argument is the fact that among the Ordos and Khorchin Mongols in Inner Mongolia, neither of whom was influenced by the Russians, bone (yas) and flesh (mah) are the only symbols of kinship. The way in which the metaphor of bone is used indicates that patrilateral kinship is significant long after the father's death. The patrilineal linkage usually remains viable for nine generations after the father passes away. Mongolian people often compare patrilineal linkage to the human skeleton, with each joint (uye) of bone symbolizing each patrilineal generation. If one takes, for example, the linkages of the bones in the skeleton from the head through the shoulders, down to the fingertips, one can see that these linkages have a limit; there are no more after the last joint of the fingertips. Usually this series of bones is seen as nine linkages (representing the nine joints from the head to the fingertips). These nine linkages correspond to nine generations. After these nine, patrilateral kinship is seen to have weakened.

In the past, Mongolians used to say that after nine generations the "bone" is breakable and thus kin connections become distant(yas hagalahui, tőről sunjirsan). 'Bone' was also visualized in a specific way as sections or joints joining together. Unlike 'bone', there is no general visualization of the way blood functions as a metaphor. However, "blood" has become a more dominant symbol of kinship than bone, probably because it provides a more inclusive image of kinship and relatedness than either bone or flesh. Mongolians today employ the metaphor of "blood" both to discuss whether a couple is marriageable, on the smaller scale, as well as to describe the broad concept of relatedness on a large scale. People often use 'blood' as a way of specifying their "racial" identity. Blood is also used in domestic contexts, such as when referring to incestuous marriage (i.e., when the blood is said to be "too dose" to permit marriage). When it is used in this way it is an exclusive factor-shared blood indicates that marriage is prohibited. But when it is used to refer to a shared ethnicity in the sense of having

'Mongolian blood' it is an inclusive factor. It seems contradictory but actually reflects two important aspects of blood as a metaphor for kinship.

Mongolians today believe they are culturally related and symbolically connected by 'blood'. People who were formerly too close to marry each other in the past are now far enough apart to marry today. The metaphor of bone shows the boundary of exogamy, while the metaphor of blood promotes an awareness of endogamy in the context of the nation and ethnic group.

Kinship metaphors delineate a matrix of relationships that maps out the way the world is seen. This matrix pervades the universe of Mongolian society and provides the psychological underpinnings for relationships in it. It situates the individual within this web, and concretises the individual's relationships with the other members. The psychological security it provides replaces and vastly outdoes whatever security the socialist society was able to provide.
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