§ Широкогоровы §
toggle menu

103. Costume (Description)

Under this heading I shall give the description of various forms of costumes which may consist either of one or of several pieces which by themselves form a complex. Among the Tungus groups we meet with the following terms: samas'ik-shamashik (Bir Kum. Khin. Nerc. Barg. Mank), hamayik (Lam), by the side of idaga (Ur. Castr.). evidently a Buriat term; also naim'i (Turn. I have some doubt as to this record — it is only the skin of a female reindeer). In Manchu it is saman'i etku, i.e. «shaman's dress». In Goldi it is simply «dress, cloth» — tetu, [cf. tet'i (Tun.), — «the dress»; cf. let the stem of «to dress», in a great number of Tungus dialects]. Most Tungus groups have a special term derived from saman, with the exception of the Manchus and groups influenced by them, also of groups like Ur. (Castr.) and Turn., where it has been replaced by other terms or perhaps even not been recorded.

Among the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia — the Barguzin and Nerchinsk groups — one can distinguish two types recognised by the Tungus themselves. These are the costume-duck, and the costume-deer (Cervus Elaphus) which will be described separately, and which are used in different forms of shamanistic performance.

THE COSTUME-DUCK consists of a coat, an apron, trousers, knee-protectors, and shoes (moccasins). The material used for the coat may be chamois, made either of deer (Cervus Elaphus) skin or of elk (Alces Alces) skin. The cut does differ from that of an ordinary coat, i.e. a coat resembling the modern European morning coat. The difference is that the back part is much longer and ends in a tail symbolizing the duck's tail [555]. The sleeves are supplied with a fringed strip of chamois symbolizing the wings. The borders are also trimmed with a chamois fringe and hanging strips of chamois, all of them symbolizing feathers. The coat is usually ornamented with white reindeer hair from the neck, widely used by the Tungus as a material for ornamentation. Ornamental motives are various combinations of lines, strips and circles, much like those observed in the bone-carvings of the Chukchis, Eskimos, Samoyeds and other inhabitants of North Siberia and America. However, I have seen also a coat which was ornamented along the borders with applied coloured crosses of about 5 or 6 centimetres. According to the Tungus, the «cross» greatly helps in shamanizing — it may «have power» [556]. The ornamented parts may also be coloured with the usual colours — black, red, brown, yellow, and blue. The coat may also have applied ornamentation symbolizing the bones of a duck. Instead of an ornamental symbolization of the skeleton, corresponding symbols of all bones made of iron may be used. Their number may be confined to only two bones of the wings, or all bones of the skeleton may be reproduced — it depends on the material facilities for procuring iron, which is not common among the Tungus. Usually the iron parts are not made by the Tungus, but are received in exchange from the Buriats and Yakuts.

In addition to the ornamentation of borders with the common «geometric» figures there exist ornaments made of white hair -stylized images of domesticated reindeer, Cervus Elaphus, Alces Alces, bear, wild boar, musk-deer, roe-deer, heath-cock, also ducks, and anthropomorphic images. However, these images are not an indispensable element of the «duck-costume».

Besides these, so to say permanent, elements there is a variable number of pendants made of iron and brass which, however, are not typical of the duck-costume.

The coat is usually supplied with two series of eight bells of two forms: conical and spherical. The bells are real series for they form two definite musical accords in the frontal and back parts of the coat needed for the shamanistic performance and used by the shamans quite intentionally. The complex of bells and trinkets is called arkalan (cf. infra).

THE COSTUME-REINDEER consists of the same elements, and is made of the same material. The cut of the coat does not differ from that of an ordinary coat. The ornaments may be lacking, but the coat must have a set of iron bones symbolizing a complete skeleton of Cervus Elaphus. As compared with the «bones» of the duck-costume those of the reindeer-costume can easily be distinguished, e.g. in representing sternum, ribs, and limbs. Animals and bells are attached to the coat as it is with the duck-costume, but they are in a greater number and there are special conical trinkets attached to other parts of the costume. In addition to the zoomorphic and anthropomorphic figures several other symbols are attached: e.g. a boat, a raft, a bow and an arrow, a semicircle («moon»), a circle («sun»), a ring («rain-bow»), a square hole («heaven», the hole being the entrance into the upper world used by the shaman); there may also be found: «stars», «thunder», «harpoons», as well as placings bada. These are symbols of phenomena with which the shaman has to deal during his performance, when travelling into the lower and upper worlds, the animals are manifestations of spirits which can be assumed by the shaman during the performance.

«SNAKE»: Both the duck and reindeer costumes have a certain number, not less than one, of chamois strips, about ten centimetres wide and over a metre long. These represent kulin — the «snake», but they are supplied with two heads, a tail, split into several parts, and four fringes symbolizing the legs; the eyes are made of small glass beads. If there are several «snakes», the largest «snake» is attached to the back, while two small «snakes» are attached to the two sides. The big «snake» was styled by the shamans as «the most important spirit who gives advice to the shaman».

MOKIL: On the back there are also attached images, known as mokil, made of chamois dyed black. There may be only two pairs, but there may also be four, as well as nine or even 9×4, 9×8, 18×4 and so forth. These combination of two and nine are frequently met with in shamanistic paraphernalia and performances. Many series of nine are met with chiefly in the duck-costume, while that of two is found in the reindeer costume.

* * *

The two types here distinguished are not always strictly followed. I have seen some costumes in which the elements of duck and reindeer were mixed up. The number of pendants and ornaments also greatly varies, depending on whether the shaman can afford to have two special costumes and how much they can be ornamented. Lege artis, the duck-costume, is supposed to be good for shamanizing in connection with operations with the spirits of the upper world, while the reindeer-costume is supposed to be good for dealing with those of the lower world. I was even told that the reindeer-costume is «too heavy for going to the upper world». In fact, a good costume with all pendants, bells, etc. may weigh about forty kilograms, while an ordinary duck-costume will not be much heavier than a usual Tungus garment. It should be noted that the duck-costume lege artis possesses mokil in many series of nine, and has no symbols for boat, raft, etc. needed for travelling across the water for reaching the lower world. It must also be remembered that the travelling in the lower world, as will be described later, is much more difficult than the travelling in the upper world, so that the shaman-beginners usually have only the duck-costume. When they begin to go to the lower world, they attach more and more iron pieces so that by increasing the number a new, second costume, the reindeer-costume may be «constructed». When this is done all of the metallic pieces are taken off the duck-costume and transferred on the reindeer-costume. From that moment the shaman would alternatively use his two costumes for special forms of shamanizing.

From the above description of the two types of costumes it is evident that they are connected with two forms of shamanizing, which with the ethnical parallels will be discussed later on.

THE APRON (uruptun) (Bar. Nerc.) is the most important part of the costume, or the shaman can perform, at least some acts, with the apron alone, but not the great shamanizing to the upper and lower worlds. In shape, the apron does not differ from the ordinary Tungus one, which is a piece of chamois with thongs for tying it around the neck and other for attaching it around the waist, about seventy or eighty centimetres long and from twenty-five to forty centimetres wide, just enough for covering the chest and the abdomen [557], used by all Tungus as a supplement necessary to their open morning-coat-like dress in the Siberian and Manchurian climatic conditions. The apron is ornamented with strip of coloured chamois, or it is painted with the usual colours and ornamented with white reindeer hair. The whole apron is covered with a design symbolizing the world-universe — turn. In the middle there is a line, from which, at the height of two thirds, two other lines go up at a certain angle. This is the larch tree irakta — above which the upper world — ugidunda — is situated. Two anthropomorphic symbols, representing «two great shamans who died long ago» and to whom the acting shaman must pray for helping him to shamanize, are found in the upper part. There may be more than two symbols four or eight. «If these shamans should fall down to the earth, the whole universe would collapse.» The middle part of the design represents the Earth — jorko — (the middle world without the ocean). The lower part represents the lower world. The apron may be trimmed with a fringe and eight iron birds — deyil -, apparently «ducks».

A brass-mirror told, {vide supra) is attached to the apron. This is the most important element of the apron and of the whole costume. According to the shamans, such a mirror cannot be bought, but it must be found in the earth — it is sent by the burkan [558]. On the unpolished side the shamans distinguish in the centre a snake — kulin — which is naturally a dragon, and animals: a wolf, a cow, a roe-deer, a cow's head, a cock, a sheep, a horse, etc. which actually represent twelve cyclic animals. When the shaman looks at the polished side «he can see everything» i.e. it helps the shaman to hypnotize himself.

These Tungus find it often very difficult to get a mirror like this, but among the Tungus of other regions they can be easily found and their number is sometimes very great, e.g. over twenty. The size of the mirrors is subject to variation, e.g. I observed mirrors of from about twelve centimetres up to thirty centimetres in diameter.

THE HEAD-DRESS (oroptun) (Barg. Nerc.) (cf. oro — «the top of the head») presents many varieties. However, there can be distinguished at least two forms, namely, a form without iron reindeer antlers used for the duck-costume, and another form with iron antlers for the reindeer-costume. The shape of the head-dress is variable. I have observed, for instance, one made of five strips four chamois strips paraphernalia.

symbolizing «snakes», with glass beads for the eyes, joined together on the top, and a fifth strip making a band around the head, so that four sections were open leaving the head uncovered. The old type of the Tungus head-dress was like this. Now this kind of head-dress, with a visor attached to the band, so that eyes are protected, is used for the summer hunting. The shaman's head-dress of this type had three ermine skins attached and also three polecat skins which «will defend the shaman with their teeth, like dogs». The four «snakes» of which the head-dress is made, look behind the shaman to warn him of any danger from the rear. However, ordinary Mongol (Buriat) hats and also skull caps, as other forms which perhaps are not typical, are frequently met with.

The reindeer-costume's head-dress is an iron band supplied with four strips of iron and surmounted with iron antlers (Cervus Elaphus) with five or six branches. The iron has an underlying skull cap made of chamois. Strips of chamois representing «snakes» hang from the tips of the antlers and a fringe falls from the frontal part covering the shaman's fact. The strips and fringe may be made of silk or other available material.

The head-dress occupies the second place in importance for the performance. Very often a shaman may have only his apron and head-dress. In certain cases, during the performance, the head-dress is taken off.

THE MOCCASINS are of the usual form, light, with a long upper part, ornamented with material (torgomo) and usually called jus'ik. If the costume represents the reindeer, the moccasins are supplied with iron parts symbolizing bones of reindeer, and have trinkets of a conical form.

THE TROUSERS and KNEE-PROTECTORS are found in a very complete costumes but are not indispensable components of the costume. They are made of chamois in the usual form but several pendants and symbols are added, such as «bones», either of iron, or as a design of coloured chamois, white reindeer hair, etc.

THE STAFFS made in pairs, called «horses» and «reindeer», used for dealing with the upper world, may be considered as a part,of the costume. Wooden staffs representing «horses» have hook-handles symbolizing the head of the horse. Iron rings and conical trinkets, as well as various addition, such as «snakes», kerchieves and fringe, may be attached. The «horses» are used by the shaman during his travelling. Such articles are sometimes altogether lacking in the shamanistic paraphernalia used among the Reindeer Tungus, but special staffs representing the «reindeer» (domesticated), called own (oror plural — the reindeer), and made new for every performance, together with other temporary paraphernalia, are used.

VARIA. Besides the above described elements of the costume there are other permanent parts which are either put on by the shaman during the performance or kept near him. Several «snakes» made of chamois, sometimes twisted, also made of other various material, are attached to the sides of the costume. There are placings for spirits which help the shaman. There is also a long lasso made of twisted chamois, supplied, like a snake, with two eyes (beads). With this lasso — ushito (Barg.) — the shamans capture any soul of the people, should it leave the body. The lasso used for going to the lower world, (buni ushito), is very thick and long, and is attached to the costume. A ring-like piece made of leather or chamois, richly ornamented with beads, hangs at the shaman's breast; another piece of rectangular form, called olon, is attached at the shaman's side. I could not find out the significance of these two things.

* * *


I have not observed very many costumes among the Nomad Tungus, but all or them were «reindeer-costumes». The difference between the costumes observed among the Reindeer Tungus and those of the Nomad Tungus was as follows: (1) a great number of «snakes» made of cloth and strips also twisted pieces of cloth, sometimes very like the «snakes» of the Buriat costume, and (2) a great display of «horses», used for almost all occasions, including visits of the shamans to the lower world. These Tungus say that their costume does not differ very much from that used by the Buriats and well known from several descriptions.

As it can be seen from the above description, the reindeer-costume, in many of its characters, is met with among the Tungus, Buriats, Yakuts and Turk-speaking groups of South Siberia and Mongolia. The Tungus costume is particularly near to that of the Buriats and Yakuts. A borrowing of elements is evident. I may point out an abundance of iron parts which are not usually made by the Tungus, but are received from their neighbours: the moon, sun, rain-bow, stars, etc. as well as the boats, rafts, bows, and arrows are especially conspicuous with the Yakuts; a great number of snakes which acquire a special importance among the groups speaking Buriat and Turk; «horses» which are evidently a Buriat element. Among the Tungus these elements are naturally adapted to their conditions of life, so that some elements will be better represented than the others and some of them are substituted by Tungus elements. As a whole the Tungus connect their costume with that of their neighbours and do not pretend to be inventors. Moreover, the reindeer-costume is sometimes connected by them with the «black faith» of the Buriat and Yakut complex, which has very little to do with the Tungus complex and in their own language sounds almost like a meaningless translation. In the Russian translation ch'ornaja v'era the Tungus associate it with Russian chort — the devil. In fact, in the Tungus complex, as has been shown, there is no notion of special «evil» spirits, as opposed to «good» ones, and the term — «black» — itself is quite a foreign conception. In the Tungus complex it is correlated with the «lower world».

It should be pointed out that the reindeer-costumes are much rarer among the Reindeer Tungus than among the Nomad Tungus who live side by side with the Buriats, while the duck-costume has not been observed by me among the Nomad Tungus. Contrarily to the reindeer-costume of the «black faith», the duck-costume is sometimes connected with the «white faith». The latter is supposed to be connected with the upper world. However, we have seen that, even in the costume, elements of «black faith» and «white faith» may be mixed up, which points to the fact that for the Tungus this distinction is an alien element. As has been shown, the shamans-beginners cannot deal with the lower world, but when they become experienced they can deal with both, and in the same costume, which may represent a mixture of two complexes.

All of the indicated facts point to a foreign origin, probably chiefly Buriat of the reindeer-costume while the question as to the origin of duck-costume I leave open, for the time-being for further discussion.


I have seen no costumes used among them, for during my visit to this group in the Bystraja River region there was only one shaman who lived near the Amur River. Another shaman, the senior «brother» (aki) of my informer (a man nearly sixty years old) died in 1912 and his «harness» — the costume — was put on a platform near the grave in the valley of one of the upper tributaries of the Kumara River. According to my informer it might also have been hung up on a tree. In so far as I could find out there were two kinds of shamans: those going to the lower world («earthly») and those going to the upper world. The first ones were very rare. However the costume was the same. It was «like the Yakut shaman's costume» supplied with a great number of iron trinkets and pendants. The head-dress was supplied with iron antlers of Cervus Elaphus with a different number of branches: from three to six — the «stronger» the shaman the more branches.


Among the Khingan group the shaman costume is comparatively much poorer than that of the Tungus of Transbaikalia. There is not the least doubt that it is a different complex. All the costumes (I have seen four or five of them) are of the same type but they show some individual variations.

The costume consists of a coat, made of common Mongol cloth and rarely of some skins (chamois), usually of single thickness. The front fastening is by means of an indefinite number of thongs which are tied. There is no collar and no clash is made on the sides, which is usual in the Tungus coats. The borders may be ornamented with fancy Dahur silk cloth. At the front there are two strips of different cloths (or chamois) bearing small ball-bells. Above the row of bells, several tola (brass-mirrors), the number of which varies are attached. In one case I observed twelve mirrors. The lower board may also be supplied with iron trinkets of a indefinite form. Once I observed a piece of an iron ring-armour. On the back there happen to be, but not always, several strips of cloth ornamented according to the Dahur style, - i.e. the mixed aino-mongol-manchu ornamental complex, and silk ribbons. There is a rather important component of the costume, namely, a kind of short stole made of cloth with little ornamentation and some (I have observed eight) univalve shells commonly used by the Tungus and undoubtedly received through the intermediary of some merchants (Chinese and Dahurs). The function of this component is not known to me, but in a more developed form it is known among the Birarchen.

The head-dress consists of a calotte made of many material ornamented and supplied with small iron antlers of Cervus Elaphus. In one case I observed only one half of the antlers. There may be some ribbons and chamois strips attached to the top of the calotte and hanging at the back.

The same type of costume is observed in its well developed form among the Birarchen and Kumarchen. Among these groups I have seen many costumes, some of which were most elaborated [559]. I shall now give a summary description of one of them observed among the Birarchen.

The costume consists of three components: the coat, the «stole», which may be also simply called «collar», and the headdress. The material used among the Birarchen is chamois made of the skins of Cervus Elaphus and Alces Alces. Skins of other animals cannot be used. The preferred material is Alces Alces skin; but if it is made of Cervus Elaphus, a part of it, namely the upper back must be made of Alces Alces [560]. The long coat is cut in the same manner as with the Khingan Tungus, i.e. without the usual slits on the sides and without a collar [561]. Under the sleeves two apertures, about ten centimetres long, are made, called oon'i, through which the spirits enter the shaman. Near to them rings with ribbons may be attached on which bunches of kerchieves (vide infra) are fastened. These rings with ribbons are called «wings». In the front there are three angaptun (Bir.) — wide strips with ball-bells, altogether 9×3 bells on each side. On the right side, in the upper part, there is the asaran, a big bell with silk and other kinds of kerchieves collected after successful shamanizing and attached to the coat. The sleeves, have two ornamented bands — ichaptun — at the height of the elbow (icha) and uksaptun on the cuff (uksa, — «the sleeve»). The lower border may be supplied with a tringe made or chamois, dyed black. On the back there are four brass mirrors, the upper ones being slightly smaller (vide the figure below). Below the waist there is the irg'ivlan (irg'i, — «the tail»), — large piece of chamois, with chamois applications, but without ornaments, attached to three ball-bells and supplied with nine hanging ribbons.

The frontal part may be supplied with brass-mirrors — twelve mirrors on each hem. The mirrors I observed were not real mirrors, but especially made disks with an ear. Additional mirrors also may be attached to the frontal part and along the lower border.

Three pieces are added to the costume, when the latter is put on for shamanizing. The principal is arkaptun, which is a large brass mirror, about twenty-five centimetres in diameter, with kerchieves attached to it. On the arkaptun the symbol of a special shamanistic bird — solbar deyi — the so called «Chinese phoenix», may be found. The arkaptun is attached to the back, above the four smaller mirrors; it is usually kept separate and can even be left in the house where a shamanizing had taken place, for the spirits of the shaman may remain in it for a long time (especially for children). If the principal spirit of the shaman is the Jerga seven, nine brass rings will be attached to the arkaptun. Another piece is called ukoptun. It consists of three strings of glass beads, at the ends of which small brass mirrors are attached. During the performance ukoptun is put on the costume. There may be two ukoptun, namely, one with mixed coloured beads for the night road spirit jerga seven dolbor; and another one, with light blue beads, for the day road spirit jerga seven inengi. The shaman may have some other ukoptan for clients, but they would be slightly different. The third important piece is two bunches of kerchieves received by the shaman for his shamanizing. In each of the two bunches, there is an ermine skin. The bunches of kerchieves are hung up at the sides of the coat.

The collar jakaptun is a very elaborate piece, as shown in the figure below.

It consists of a piece of chamois with two pieces attached to its ends, so that, when the collar is put on, these two pieces form a square piece, like that of the dress of Catholic priests. Each of them has a pair of small brass-mirrors and five strings with glass beads and a ball-bell, beads and a ball-bell, at their ends, i.e. altogether ten bells, which are not shown in the figure above. Two wooden «cuckoos» kukku, each supplied with a tail, symbolism by three ribbons, the middle one of which has a small bell, are attached to the collar [562]. When the collar is put on, the cuckoo are on the shoulders. Two more bird-like pieces made of cloth and ornamented — jajangku — are attached to the collar. They are supplied with three or five ribbons symbolizing «roots» — kalbagkan'i, tika-nin [563]. Moreover, twelve ball-bells are attached to the collar.

The third component of the costume is the head dress, g'eva (Bir.). It consists of a strip of chamois about nine centimetres wide supplied with small hooks and eyes for keeping it around the head. In the middle of it there is a brass mirror (sometimes an iron or brass piece of an oblong form).

On the upper part seven ornamented pieces are attached and each of them is supplied with a bell and five ribbons (kolboijku). They are maintained in an erect position by a wire framework. The ornament is a mixture of Chinese, Manchu and Tungus elements. Under the brass mirror, i.e. in the part corresponding to the face of the shaman, there is the churakta a piece which, because of its function, may be called a mask; it consists of black lace with seven strings of beads (ch'ikta), When the head-dress is put on, the mask covers the shaman's face, but the shaman can see through it. It corresponds to similar fringes used for the same purpose in other types of he head-dress. It should be noted that this form is an imitation of the head-dress used by the Mongol and Tibetan lamas, and met with on the heads of some Buddhistic deities [564]. In fact, when the Tungus can find them ready-made, with Buddha images, they use them and particularly appreciate them as a very powerful shaman's garment.

It should also be noted that this form of head-dress is not the only form met with among the Birarchen and Kumarchen — the calotte with antlers, as described among the Khingan Tungus, and of more elaborate forms, such as those observed among the Reindeer Tungus of Transbaikalia, are also met with.

Formerly among the Birarchen a staff was used, called tijavun, but it is no more used nowadays. Tijavun is a term for the staffs used by the Tungus for mounting reindeer (SONT) (Nerc. Barg. RTM; all reindeer breeders), also when using ski (Nerc. Bir.), and by old men in general [cf. tejfun (Manchu Writ) — a staff, cane for old men]. The staffs are still used by the Goldi shamans. But their form corresponds to that of the sticks used for driving the dog-sledge [565].

The total weight of the above described costume, which belonged to a young female shaman, exceeded thirty kilograms. It was so heavy that old shamans could not put it on and stand, when there was no spirit in them. However, the weight of the costume usually does not decrease with the shaman's age, — new brass-mirrors being always added. I shall revert once more to this question.

These Tungus groups are not the original inventors of this form of costume. In fact, the complex is lacking an essential part of the common Tungus dress, namely, an apron. The Tungus ornaments are superseded by the alien ornaments, recently introduced among these groups. The form of the coat is not Tungus, the collar is not a Tungus element, as well as the head-dress. The brass mirrors are imported, as well as the laces, ribbons, and beads. The shaman's costume of the Reindeer Tungus is different, as well as that observed among the Manchus, Goldi and other groups (vide infra). I could not myself see the Dahur costume, but I was told by the Tungus, and the Dahurs did support their statement, that the Dahur costume is like the above described costume of the Birarchen. This statement should be kept in mind, and since the Dahurs are the source of a great number of cultural elements among these Tungus, it may be supposed that the Dahurs supplied the Tungus not only with the spirits, but also with the costume.

In the territory occupied by the Tungus a further complication of the same costume is met with, namely, over the coat there is a skirt used by the Manchu shamans, and over this skirt there is another one consisting of long ribbons. Indeed, this is a mere addition borrowed from the Manchu shamans. Such a form is met with among the Tungus of the Jalu River — the jalchen (cf. SONT), who are under both Dahur and Manchu influence. The well as the jalchen, and the Khingan Tungus, like to use shells for the ornamentation of the costume, so that the borders, hems, collar and head-dress may be richly covered with shells. The Buddhistic origin of «eyes» and swastika is evident. I have also been told, but never saw it myself, that some shamans have a certain number of iron pendants similar to those observed in the costume of the Reindeer Tungus.

MANCHUS: The Manchu shaman's costume is entirely different. In Manchu it is called saman'i etku — «the shaman's clothes» or fun etku, but together with the other paraphernalia it can be called ayura (agura, Manchus Writ) — «the implements and utensils in general». It consists of the following parts: coat, skirt, special belt and head-dress.

As a whole it is known as vochko ietku, i.e. the spirit's dress, not that of the shaman. The coat is cut of red Chinese cloth as a common short coat — kurume — the upper part of which is ornamented with an application of four black designs covering the chest, the back and the two shoulders. This is an ornament which is commonly met with in the Manchu complex, and which is called «hook ornament» (cf. supra). There is no doubt that it is an ornament formerly widely used in China and Mongolia, and it cannot be considered as a very old Manchu ornament. On the back there is a square piece of scarlet cloth, about twenty centimetres wide. This is partly covered by a large brass mirror, as in the Birarchen costume. The frontal part may be covered with a great number of small brass mirrors but there must be at least two large mirrors and two smaller ones in the places corresponding to the breast. The coat was formerly covered with a great number of bones, carved and ornamented. According to some Manchus, there were also symbolized «wings», made of iron and brass. However, at present they can no more be seen, even though I have looked over several costumes. Besides, they are not found on the pictures of spirits (former shamans), a great number of which I could see on the n'urgan, i.e. «the spirits' pictures». Perhaps the «wings» were not wings at all.

The skirt descends a little below the knees; it consists of a piece of blue Chinese cloth plaited at the belt. It is called xoshkan (Man. Sp.) [cf. xusixan (Man. Writ.)]. It is sometimes cut into two halves for making the movements easier. Such skirts are used also by the p'ojun saman, and it was used by the shamans of the Imperial family [566]. The question as to the «origin» of the shaman skirt is interesting; so I shall now give some details. It is not a specific shaman's garment. Such skirts were formerly and are still used by some professionals in China, e.g. in Kiangsu and other provinces. It is also a common winter dress of the Gilaks and of shamans [567]. The skirt is also used by the shamans among the Goldi who ornament it with various designs [568], among the Orochi, and Udehe [569], not to speak of the Goldi groups, such as the Olca and others. It would be erroneous to consider it, as L. von Schrenk did, as an old primitive Gilak garment, for it is met with among the Manchus and Chinese. The Japanese woman's skirt, that of the Malays and even that of the Polynesians and ancient Egyptians are also the same garment. In this part of Asia it is found chiefly along the coast and on the islands, and for this reason I have connected it with the early palaeasiatics in general. L. von Schrenck gives the Gilaks' term for skirt kos'ka, which is certainly the above mentioned Manchu xusixan applied to the shaman's skirt and to that used by women [570]. However, it should be noted that the skirt in the Chinese complex, as well as in the Gilak complex, is not at all a woman's garment, so that in shamanism it cannot be connected with the sexual complex. Thus we see that such a form of garment is very common, but the Gilaks received it perhaps from the Manchus, and the shaman's skirt is quite a recent phenomenon pointing to its coming from the Manchus, for the Northern Tungus, as the Orochi, Udehe, and Goldi do not know this garment beyond its special use for shamanism.

Some Manchu shamans, especially powerful ones, use another xoshcan put over the first one. The second one is a belt with very long fringes, usually fixed on strips of cloth [571].

The belt with trinkets, — s'isha-s'izha (Manchu Sp.) and even shizha, which are common but very curious variations of Manchu dialects [572], is a large, usually leather strip to which conical iron trinkets about fifteen and more centimetres long are attached. The belt is attached in front, so that the trinkets are on the back. The number or conical trinkets is variable. Altogether it makes a rather great weight, I suppose over ten kilograms. The function of the trinkets is purely musical. They are usually tuned in a definite manner. The shaman rhythmically moves his or her back and the trinkets produce a characteristic sound. Such belts are used by the p'oyun saman, and by the saman of the Imperial family [573]. It is known among the Goldi groups, the Orochi, Udehe, also the Gilaks. Among these groups this belt may have some other trinkets added, as, for instance, among the Goldi, brass mirrors, ball-bell etc., but it may also be very much simplified, as among the Orochi. Among the Gilaks it is in some respects simplified, for the trinkets are attached to a string, but the trinkets are more varied [574]. The geographical (ethnical) distribution of the trinket-belt coincides with that of the shaman's skirt. It seems to belong to the Manchu complex.

The head-dress, — iksch, — among the Manchus is of the greatest importance and there are different forms. The head-dress with birds is made of a calotte with a brass framework, as in the Northern Tungus groups, on the top of which brass birds are fixed; there may be one, three or more birds. The birds suggest the peacock, have small heads, heavy bodies, small wings and very long rich tails. The head-dress is decorated with a hook ornament. In the front of the head-dress there is a brass mirror and a fringe hanging down to cover the face of the shaman. However, the birds may also be different. I have seen a big bird a symbolized falcon — and two smaller birds symbolizing pigeons. The birds, when fixed to the top, may also revolve. During the performance this is used by the p'oyun saman of the clan nara [575]. The birds are dismounted or the head-dress is taken off if the shaman introduces into himself some spirits, such as buku, magi, all animal manifestations and others. There is a special head-dress when the shaman is going to the lower world and introduces into himself the naijulan saman vochko. These are called nax ikse (i.e. «of earth head-dress»). This head-dress is made of iron and is supplied with iron antlers of Cervus Elaphus, similar to those of the Northern Tungus and called in Manchu s'uk 'a nal ikse. I also been told that there is a different kind of head-dress guran'i ikse, i.e. roe-deer head-dress, which is put on when the shaman introduces into himself the roe-deer spirit during the autumnal sacrifice. I do not know the details of this head-dress, except that natural antlers of a roe-deer are fixed to it [576].

555. However, the «tail» may even lack, as I have observed in some costumes.

556. I am not sure as to the origin of this cross-ornament, which might be a simple imitation of the Orthodox priests' chasuble. It is not in contradiction with the Tungus idea: since priests use this «ornament», it may be useful for the shamans, too.

557. Cf. SONT p. 142. It is used throughout China, especially by children, also among the Miaotse (cf. W. Koppers Miaotse etc.). 558. This is only a theory, for when the Tungus want one, they can have it from old costumes of deceased shamans. They get them from the Buriats as well. The Buriats can tell the Tungus that the mirror was found in the earth, although actually it came from China or Tibet with other Buddhistic

559. Unfortunately a good specimen which I bought and included in my collection is now in the Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography of the Russian Academy or Sciences and thus, for the time being, is not accessible to me. The same refers to the photos.

560. It should be noted that the material used among other groups is different. However, in the Birarchen territory it is not easy to get skins of Alces Alces.

561. According to my informers, shamanizing in a dress with a collar would be impossible.

562. The cuckoos may sometimes be in symbolized nests (ujin). Usually they are simply attached to the collar.

563. I could not find out the meaning of jajangku. The nearest meaning of it may be jaja, — «the placing for ancestors' spirits». But I am not certain. The «roots» are not clear, too. Cf. kalbu (Neg. Sch.) (also T. Sch.) — «the belt». Indeed, a transfer of the belt to the neck and shoulders us «collar» is a quite possible occurrence. Tikan is «root». Indeed, the whole collar may represent a tree with birds on it. The explanation of the collar as a tree, is confirmed by the Tungus who say that mar/i (spirit, vide supra) keeps in «a half-arm» a tree on which a cuckoo is sitting. From the head of mangi, who has nine heads, something is coming out which is considered by the Tungus as a simple ornament (ilga); but this is not so. On the other hand, when the collar is on, the «bird-like» pieces are exactly on the scapulae, which in Manchu are called xalba. whence Bir. kalbangku for the pieces (ngku is a suffix, cf. jajangku.). It is very likely that we have here some foreign (Manchu) terms which now are not used in these languages. There is no doubt that the whole collar is not of a Tungus origin.

564. Cf. e.g. A. Grunwedel, op. cit., Figs. 90, 100, 107.

565. Cf. I. A. Lopatin, op. cit. p. 282.

566. Cf. L. Langles, op. cit. pl. VII, No. 39; Ch. de Harlez, op. cit. pi. VIII. No. 8.

567. Cf. L. von Schrenck, pi. XVIII and LXII indicating a common dress; plate LXI representing an acting shaman. Among the Gilaks they are made of seal skins; cf. description, p. 82 Vol. II.

568. Cf. I. A. Lopatin, op. cit., pp. 259-260.

569. Cf. P. Margaritov, Plate VI Fig. 79 among the Orochi. Cf. S, Brailovskii, op. cit., p. 185 among the Udehe.

570. The term xusixan in Manchu is connected with a series of words of the stem xusi— to wrap, to cover; cf. also the Gold xoz'a — the shaman's skirt.

571. In Chinese SP. both of them are called chunza.

572. I have an interesting Manchu transcription in these forms in a text. So the Manchus would say that there are shizha and s'isha, two different things; but they cannot explain the difference.

573. Cf. L. Langles, op. cit., Plate VI, fig 29; Ch. de Harlez, op. cit.. Plate VIII, fig. 5.

574. Cf. L. von Schrenck, op. cit.; Plate LXI gives a specimen. The increase of the belt with various trinkets may be due to the «poverty factor».

575. The head-dress with birds is also known among the Dahurs, who have only one bird which revolves on the head-dress.

576. In this connection I must point out that the natural antlers were sometimes used by the people living on the banks of the Amur River. In 1916 I saw an iron framework with natural antlers of Cervus Elaphus

excavated on the banks of the Amur River (middle course) and preserved in the city museum of Blagoveschensk. It was impossible to identify to which ethnical group it might belong — the Manchus, Dahurs, or some of the Northern Tungus groups. Indeed, the antlers are known in the Buddhistic performances of mask dances called Tsam. Antlers are used for the mask shaba (Tib.), buga (Mong.), i.g. «Cervus Elaphus», which is also known in the Buriat shamanism. When I asked the Tungus and Manchus why they do not use natural antlers, the reply was the same, namely, they are too heavy for the head and clumsy, especially during the performances, while iron antlers are as effective as natural ones. It should be noted that the roe-deer antlers are very small and light.

Электропочта shirokogorov@gmail.com
© 2009 - 2024