The Way of the Shaman Drum

The spiritual aspects of Shamanism are inured in mystery and some believe Shaman doctors and healers can tell the future and ward off demon spirits during special dance ceremonies. Nonetheless in the film, The Way of the Shaman Drum, the director João Meirinhos, provides viewers with a earthlier and pragmatic account of those involved in Shaman Culture as Manchu-ethnic minorities living in northeastern China’s Changbai Mountain, Jilin Province. 70-year-old Guan Yunde, a promoter of Manchu’s Shamanism culture, works alongside a business partner and has designed and built Shaman drums. He has unearthed Shamanism’s mysteries. Shamans hold animals dear to their hearts and sustain a polytheistic faith, meaning that all living beings, including animals, have a spirit and are god-like. Hence, in northeast China alone, they worship the god of tiger, god of wolf and so on. Shamanism is more about loving nature and ancient Manchu culture than with participating in so-called demon spirit dances. Guan lived in a home with many generations of Manchu ancestors, while his father was recognized as a tribal leader. They used kiwi wood to make Shaman drums, since it displays few defects when carving. For some people, Shamanism is perceived as evil, but for the Manchu-ethnics, such as Guan Yunde, it’s simply a proud part of the Manchu culture that deserves to get passed down to future generations.