The Culture of Objects——Reflection on Former Chinese Anthropologists' Collecting from the Field
- 人文学院－已发表论文 
随着近年来博物馆人类学的兴起,有关博物馆的研究被放置在一个更加宽广的视野,研究者不只限于关注博物馆内的物件,对于博物馆所涉及的采集活动即物从田野到博物馆的流动过程也赋予了更多的认识。本文以近期厦大人类博物馆收藏的一批珍贵文献图片资料为基础,结合相关著述,分析著名学家林惠祥先生的早期民族学采集活动,尤其是其1929、1935年两次台湾原住民村社之行,试图通过这一中国较早的人类博物馆的标本采集活动,来分析人类学在中国的发展与博物馆之间的密切关系,同时也对早期民族学采集活动中涉及的物与他者文化、田野采集志等议题进行反思。For museums,the types and amount of collections have a very significant meaning. For a long time,most of the research on museum collections concentrated on the objects themselves. The research rarely concerned the relationship between act of collecting and collector. Following the rise of museum anthropology in recent years,research on museums has been put into a broader perspective.Now,the concern of the researchers is not limited to the objects in the museum,but extends to the act of collecting in relationship to museums,that is,looking at the process in which objects flow from the field to the museum.As we all know,collecting is indispensable work for most museums. It is through the activities of the museum "collectors " that an important bridge between the object and the museum has been built. Hence,a practical research on the behavior of "collecting"can not only make the static"thing"lively,but can also enable people to think more about the cultural meaning of the flow of things. When Susan M. Pearce reviewed the process regarding the understanding of Western people to the idea of "collecting",she mentioned that the research on collecting within the context of modern knowledge involved three aspects: Collecting as practice,collecting as poetics,and collecting as politics. Pearce's research reminds us to pay attention to the complex relationship between specimens,the act of collecting and collectors.Taking a group of valuable Taiwanese aboriginal specimens found in the Anthropology Museum of Xiamen University,and combining them with re-lated documents, this article analyzes the early ethnological collecting activity of Lin Hunxiang( 1901-1958),especially his two trips to aboriginal villages in Taiwan in 1929 and 1935. It does so in order to investigate the close relationship between the development of Anthropology in China with relationship to museums. It will also reflect on the relationship between objects and other cultures,as well as the ethnology of collecting involved in early ethnological collecting.The two times Lin Hunxiang' collected in Taiwan had a vital impact on the history of Anthropology in China. Beginning in 1895,Taiwan was gradually colonized by the Japanese. It was difficult for Chinese scholars to go to Taiwan to conduct academic research,and even more difficult is to do fieldwork in aboriginal villages. Therefore,Lin Hunxiang's activities are of landmark significance.It is the first time after anthropology was introduced into China that Chinese anthropologists went to Taiwan's aboriginal villages to do fieldwork,and collect artifacts. Hence,he was regarded as the person who opened research in Taiwan to scholars from the mainland.Like collecting,displaying the objects is another core work of museums. As we know,for both the collectors and museums,how to display the objects is closely related to the collectors' academic concepts,as well as the function and position of the museum. As the researchers point out,the process of classifying specimens and displaying the "recontextualized"objects by collectors and museum factually gives these objects new value and signifi-cance. Hence,we might learn from the way the first generation of Chinese anthropologist displayed objects,and the traditional change of this discipline.In the "preface"of taiwan fanzu zhi yuanshi wenhua( Primitive Culture of the Fan Ethnic Group in Taiwan),Lin Hunxiang stressed that because the aboriginal people of Taiwan rarely had contact with outside cultures,they were "good representatives of an uncivilized ethnic group",and that they kept "their primitive nature". Obviously,he set up a cultural contrast between "aboriginal " ethnic groups and "civilized"ethnic groups,and believed that by observing the culture of the "uncivilized groups",one can explore "the primitiveness in human cultural history'. Hence,during the process of collecting,the focus was on "primitive culture ",and collectors took the objects of the aboriginal people as physical evidence of cultural evolution.This concept is obviously influenced by evolutionism. However,we find that Lin did not agree with the idea of the similarity of culture proposed in the theory of evolution. Instead,he said that we should do detailed fieldwork concerning the history and culture of "Fan ethnic group". His collecting practices and display principles were in keeping with the concept of saving or rescuing ethnic groups,which,to a certain degree,was influenced by the historical school of American Cultural Anthropology. This was closely related with the anthropological training he got in the University of the Philippines.Essentially,field sampling is a process of collecting culture. It is through the activity of collecting in the field that a "thing"changed its original nature in the "flow process"— changing from a daily artifact of indigenous people into a "specimen"collected by the museum,where it is used to show the culture of "otherness". This kind of "cultural collecting",reminds us that we need to pay attention to revealing the complicated meaning be-hind the "collecting ethnology"of early anthropologists.At present,research of museums has entered an interdisciplinary era. People's understanding of objects is no longer content with the static aspect of the object. When people stand quietly in front of the window of an exhibition case,what they hope to know is more about the social and cultural processes behind the object. The case of Lin Hunxiang's early collecting in the field reveals a complicated relationship between the specimens,the act of collecting and collectors,and also stimulates us to think again about the relationship between people and objects in the early museums. Perhaps in this context,we can really take the museum as an ethnological field.