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Infrastructure and the Gods

The sensitivity regarding all kinds of disturbances of the peace is not just limited to the mountain gods, but also concerns all of the tsen* deities in the cliffs or the lu* in the waters.



If one considers that, even after the plowing of the fields the earth deities have to be ritually appeased, it is easy to comprehend that development projects require a sensitive way of proceeding when, through road or dam construction, the environment is massively affected.

After such extreme disturbances, such as the kind caused by development projects, the mood of the nature dieties are differently assessed by the inhabitants of the affected villages. Some believe that the gods could be appeased through simple ceremonies. Others, however, trace all kinds of strokes of fate such as illnesses and crop failures back to the wrath of the disturbed deities. So, in the worst case, the thus developed divergent views may lead up to a split in the village communities.

If the harmony between god and man breaks down, so also does the harmony between people.

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Mural on cloth; 19th century; 245 x 121 centimeters; on loan from the Völkerkundemuseum der Universität Zürich (detail)
If man disturbs a place of residence of the lu* or pollutes them, grave damages will befall the person responsible or the whole community. As granters of fertility, the lu* may send drought or illness.