Volltext: Anthropos, 29.1934

The Frog in Indian Mythology and Imaginative World. 
The Frog in Indian Mythology and Imaginative 
By Henry Wassén, Gothenburg. 
In a previous work (“Anthropos”, XXIX [1934], pp. 319—370) I have 
treated the appearance of the frog-motive among the South-American Indians 
mainly from the point of view of its significance in ornamental art. In this I have 
stressed the surprisingly intensive treatment of this animal motive in earthen 
ware, &c., within certain territories in South America, such as Colombia and 
the Santarem, and Diaguita-Calchaqui territories. The present treatise should 
be considered as a continuation of this study although I have not in this 
case as severely confined myself to South America but have also, whenever it 
seemed possible, treated statements from the Indians in Central- and North 
If we examine the roll of the frog in Indian tales and myths, in certain 
customs and habits, or the Indian imaginative world as a whole we find 
that the material may be divided into definite groups according to the part 
which the frog plays in the respective cases. Thus the frog is associated with 
rain- and fertility concepts; it appears in Indian firemyths, and in their 
astral mythology; it plays a roll in Indian magic, &c. It is therefore natural 
to collect the varying motives in groups, wherebye, however, a certain diffi 
culty may arise in deciding to which group a certain tale or motive had 
better be assigned, since several features characteristic for the frog-portrayal 
may be combined in the same tradition. The material here treated may, 
however, conveniently be divided into the following seven groups, of which 
the first through the “material” character to a certain degree stands apart 
as compared with the others: 
1. Positive and negative statements about the frogs as a source of food. 
2. Use of the poisonous exudate of the frog, and the conception of the animal as 
venomous, for instance in magic. 
3. Conceptions based on the frog’s croaking. 
4. The frog in rain- and fertility concepts. 
5. The frog-motive in Indian astral mythology. 
6. The frog in Indian firemyths. 
7. The frog as a totem animal. 
In conclusion I have attempted to point out that association between the 
appearance of this motive in art and in mythology which it seems possible 
to me to prove. 
Anthropos XXIX. 1934. I


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