Burnakov V.A., Tsydenova D.T.

Aba tös the bear fetish in traditional beliefs and ritual practices of the Khakass (end of XIX mid XX century)

The article deals with studying the phenomenon of bear fetish called Aba tös by the Khakass people. The cult of tös is a phenomenon that has arisen and existed in a traditional environment, where the shape of the relationship between visible (rational) and invisible (irrational) peace is characterized by the absence of hard insurmountable borders. Moreover, the religious-mythological consciousness of the people has an idea (as a common thread) of direct intersection of these worlds and their constant interaction with each other. Periodic violation of these relations, as believers considered, may turn into an imbalance of nature and human life. For the latter, this is turning into a variety of disasters and misfortunes. The ritual practice of the traditional society, in this case, was focused on the restoration of the balance and as a consequence, on the resolution of conflicts arising between the worlds as well as on the protection of vital interests of the people. A huge role in this process was assigned to ministers of religion, including the shamans, as well as directly — tös'es.

There was analyzed the myth-ritual complex associated with the cult of tös’es, based on a broad range of sources, including some archive materials brought for the first time into scientific circulation and museum collections. According Khakass belief, the image of the bear was surrounded by an aura of sanctity and therefore enjoyed special respect. In the traditional consciousness the bear was regarded as a formidable ruler of taiga area and all its inhabitants. At the same time, the believers might deemits image asaguardian spirit. This fact contri-buted to its general symbolization and fetishization. In the cult practice of Khakases, the bear, honored as a deity, has several symbolic images. Sacred features of Aba tös' were extensive. The people believed in its apotropaic, healing and protective powers, regarded it as a totem and ancestral spirit. There was created a special ritual for Aba tös' consisted of periodic sacrifices with prayers and other ceremonies. Herewith, the ritual ceremony was strictly regulated and included some special requirements for participants, certain sequence of actions and the special food composition.

Key words: Khakass, traditional world, ritual, sacrifice, the cult of the bear, the symbol, fetish, Aba tös.


Soldatenkova D.V.

Semantics of an ornament of an embroidery of the North Russian headdress from funds of the State museum reserve «Tsaritsyno»

The article introduces an item from funds of the State museum «Tsaritsyno» — a female headdress kokoshnik with the rare ornamental composition embroidered with silver threads. The details of the kokoshnik are attributed by analogy with the published earlier similar part of a headdress from Novgorod, dated with a turn of XIX century. General description of a form, decor of the item and embroidery technique are presented. The embroidered composition represents in general a vertical model of the Universe. Russian version of this image includes the central axis consists of three main motives — the blossoming world tree, of the solar goddess Makosha with the lowered hands and ancient Russian solar motive of two-headed eagle. The top world on a headdress occupies a half of the image which is filled with solar heavenly motives (located heraldic). The motive of an elk-horse is especially interesting and archaic among them. It is suggested that the headdress belonged to the young woman till the birth of her first child, perhaps, was also used in course of wedding because all images are connected to ideas of fertility, abundance, good wishes.

Key words: vertical model of the Universe, symbol, sign, motive of an embroidery, embroidery technique, embroidery style, world tree, elk-horse, birds of a peahen, two-headed eagle, bird of sirens.


Adaev V.N.

The Nenets navigation techniques: using the help of reindeer and dogs

This paper is a continuation of the planned study of the spatial orientation of the Nenets, initiated by emp-loyees of the Institute for the Development of the North Russian SB RAS (Tyumen) in 2014. Aspects of using animals for orientation and navigation have been undeservedly neglected by ethnographers, and this applies not only to the ethnography of the Nenets, but of northern peoples in general. The system approach used in this study involves consideration of the object of the research (system of orientation) in a broader context: in addition to the skills and techniques of reconnaissance, there has also been analyzed, inseparable from them, travel ’survival techniques’ — experience of settlement in difficult conditions, proven algorithm of actions which eventually allows a person to be on the right side of a problem. The objectives of the article are: 1) to prove that turning to the help of animals is indeed one of the most important components of the spatial orientation system of the Nenets; 2) to present the particular facts that the methods and techniques of the use of this aid is not so obvious and simple as it initially may seem. The materials presented in the paper show the widespread use of domestic animals for orientation and navigation by the Nenets. In case of need to find the way, they skillfully use the immediate assistance of animals as well as their deep knowledge of the biology of reindeer and dogs, that allows them to draw important conclusions about the location of various objects in an area. Herewith the Nenets not only carefully observe the behaviour of their animals, but also use special techniques, activating useful behaviour of reindeer and dogs for finding the way. Among the specific features of the Tundra Nenets (in comparison with the Forest Nenets) we can mention: a) more frequent resort to the abilities of reindeer than of dogs in the orientation; b) the practical difficulties with simultaneous use of both animals during a trip. In summary, it can be argued that the scope of traditional knowledge and traditions certainly deserves special attention in advanced studies of other ethnic groups, especially those who are hunter-gatherers and pastoralists.

Key words: wayfinding, Nenets, reindeer husbandry, dog breeding, Sibirian ethnography.


Agapov M.G.

The avatars of Yermak: monuments and historical memory

In the Hindu mythology an avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to Earth, or a descent of the Supreme
Being. There is the human and divine natures of avatar as they coexist within one person. Talking in a metaphorical we can say that every monument to historical figure is another reflection of his or her avatar. The object of our study is Yermak memorials regarded as the representations and mainstreaming
historical memory about the meaning of «Conqueror of Sibiria». Usually life period of the memorial is limited to a time period of the existence of a political regime which established it. in the case of Yermak we have phenomenon «monumental reincarnation» of the historical figure. Yermak Memorials were established and re-established in the Russian Empire, in the USSR and in the post-soviet Russia. Thereby if the case of Yermak is not unique, it is an atypical one at least. Incarnation of Yermak was formed in multiple steps. Initially Yermak too seemed to Russian authorities as some kind of highway robbery. In the second half of XIX century Yermak turned national hero of the Russian Empire. The first Yermak Memorial was raised in Tobolsk in 1839, it perpetuated only the name of the cossack leader who started the Russian conquest of Siberia. The first body incarnation of Yermak related to 1896. He was represented by a high-artrelief picture among «military men and heroes» on the Millennium of Russia in the Novgorod. The first Yermak Memorial with his full length sculpture was erected in Novocherkassk in 1904. At a later time Yermak was represented in the form of the warrior hero of Russian folk epics, the frontier man and the chthonic creature. As a legendary hero Yermak was in demand for the construction of a diversity of local communities. At the present day the promotion of the historical memory about Yermak serves the interests of a wide range of social groups and constitute them to a certain extant. The supporters and the opponents of Yermak, historians, tourism officials, bureaucracy, sculptors and architects are combined in heterogeneous associations arising in connection regarding Yermak.

Key words: Yermak Memorials, historical memory, group-making, regionalization.