oa The Tuma Underworld of Love
Erotic and other narrative songs of the Trobriand Islanders and their spirits of the dead
The Trobriand Islanders' eschatological belief system explains what happens when someone dies. Bronislaw Malinowski described essentials of this eschatology in his articles "Baloma: the Spirits of the Dead in the Trobriand Islands" and "Myth in Primitive Psychology". There he also presented the Trobrianders' belief that a "baloma" can be reborn; he claimed that Trobrianders are unaware of the father's role as genitor. This volume presents a critical review of Malinowski's ethnography of Trobriand eschatology – finally settling the "virgin birth" controversy. It also documents the ritualized and highly poetic "wosi milamala" – the harvest festival songs. They are sung in an archaic variety of Kilivila called "biga baloma" – the baloma language. Malinowski briefly refers to these songs but does not mention that they codify many aspects of Trobriand eschatology. The songs are still sung at specific occasions; however, they are now moribund. With these songs Trobriand eschatology will vanish.