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Taming the Wind of DesirePsychology, Medicine, and Aesthetics in Malay Shamanistic Performance$
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Carol Laderman

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780520069169

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520069169.001.0001

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Islamic Humoralism on the Malay Peninsula

Islamic Humoralism on the Malay Peninsula

(p.15) 2 Islamic Humoralism on the Malay Peninsula
Taming the Wind of Desire

Carol Laderman

University of California Press

This chapter relates the Malay humoral system—the cornerstone of both medical and cosmological theory—to medieval Islamic humoralism and to the beliefs of aborigines who live in the Malayan rain forest. By the fourteenth century, when Greek–Arabic medical theories reached Malaya along with Islam, its inhabitants had had more than a thousand years of exposure to similar traditional Hindu Ayurvedic theories, tempered by contact with Chinese medicine. Over the following centuries, Islamic humoral theory has been shaped by and integrated into Malay thought. Elaborated humoral ideas of contemporary Malays extend from such mundane matters as food and illness to the workings of the universe and the nature of its inhabitants, both seen and unseen.

Keywords:   Malay humoral system, Islamic humoral theory, aborigines, beliefs, Hindu Ayurvedic theories, Chinese medicine

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