International Encyclopaedia
of the Histories of Anthropology

A missionary for the Norwegian Missionary Society, Lars Larsen Vig (1845-1913) spent 24 years in Madagascar with his wife from 1874. He was assigned to the Betsileo region, conquered by the Merina kingdom and then subjected to French colonization. He was a witness to the religious practices of the Malagasy people, whose language he spoke. Convinced of the importance of understanding them better in order to improve evangelization, he began conducting in-depth interviews and object collections in the 1880s with the help of the schoolteachers he trained and, above all, a Malagasy pastor who had been a diviner. His work, produced outside the local circle of ethnographic missionaries, was published and translated after years of delay.

Keywords: Ethnography | Christian missions | Missionary | Translation | 19th century | 20th century | Madagascar | Religious practices and ideas

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