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Shamanism in Siberia, by M.A. Czaplicka, [1914], at



IN everyday life the shaman is not distinguishable from other people except by an occasionally haughty manner, but when he is engaged in communicating with spirits he has to make use of a special dress and special instruments. Of these the most important and the one in most general use is the shaman's drum. It may be said that all over Siberia, where there is a shaman there is also a drum. The drum has the power of transporting the shaman to the superworld and of evoking spirits by its sounds.

Authors of the eighteenth century, like Pallas and Krasheninnikoff, pay great attention to the shaman's accessories. Though they have probably only been attracted by their picturesque side, yet their descriptions are very valuable in view of the modern attempt to reach the primitive mind through its symbolical forms of expression.

Shashkoff [1] enumerates the following items as indispensable to the shaman's dress all over Siberia-the coat, the mask, the cap, and the copper or iron plate on the breast. The Samoyed tadibey substitute for the mask a handkerchief tied over the eyes, so that they can penetrate into the spirit-world by their inner sight. This use of a handkerchief is also mentioned by Wierbicki, who says that the shamans of northern Altai wear one round the forehead to keep the hair out of the eyes.

These four accessories-the coat, the mask, the cap, and the iron plate-are used by the Neo-Siberians only, since among Palaeo-Siberians the dress is much less complicated.

Each tribe has, moreover, some particular object which plays the chief part in the shamanistic ceremony.

Gmelin,[2] describing the Tungus shaman's costume, says that over the usual shamanistic garment an apron, adorned with iron, is also worn; his stockings, likewise remarkable, are made of skin

[1. Shamanism in Siberia, p. 86.

2. Reise durch Sibirien, ii, 193.]

ornamented with iron. Among the Gilyak and the Olchi it is the shaman's girdle which is of the greatest significance;[1] among the Buryat,[2] the horse-staves, &c. Iron and copper objects seem also to be especially associated with the Neo-Siberians.

The whole costume with its appurtenances used during shamanistic performances throughout Siberia has, according to Mikhailowski,[3] a threefold significance:

1. The shaman wishes to make a profound impression on the eyes of the people by the eccentricity of his costume.

2. The ringing of the bells and the noise of the drum impress their sense of hearing.

3. Finally, a symbolic meaning is attached to these accessories and adornments, a meaning known only to believers, especially to the shamans, and closely connected with the religious conceptions of shamanism.

Thus Mikhailowski. But this interpretation does not bring out the whole importance of the relation of these objects to the spiritual world. They are of great importance, for the spirits will not bear the voice of the shaman unless the right dress and implements are used, and the drum beaten; they are sacred because of their contact with a supernatural and often dangerous power.

Being sacred, these accessories must not be used by any one but a shaman, otherwise they are impotent to produce any result. It is only a good shaman, a real one, who can possess the full shaman's dress.

Among the Palaeo-Siberians it is usually the shaman himself who makes all accessories, and that only when the spirits give their permission. Among the natives of Altai it is not all shamans who have the right to wear manyak (the coat) and the owl-skin cap.[4]

Among the Yakut even the blacksmith who undertakes the ornamentation of the costume, must have inherited the right, 'If the blacksmith who makes a shamanistic ornament has not a sufficient number of ancestors, if he is not surrounded on all sides by the noise of hammering and the glow of fire, then birds with crooked claws and beaks will tear his heart in pieces.'[5] For this

[1. Schrenck. The Natives of the Amur Country, iii, 124-6.

2. Agapitoff and Khangaloff, Materials for the Study of Shamanism in Siberia, p. 43.

3. Shamanism, p. 72.

4. Potanin, Sketches of North-Western Mongolia, iv, 53.

5. Sieroszewski, The Yakut, p. 632.]

reason the blacksmith's vocation comes next in importance to the shaman's. In modern times it is practically impossible among the Yakut for the shaman's coat to be made, since there is now no class of hereditary blacksmiths. In his description of the Tungus shaman's garment, Gmelin relates how the shaman whom he saw bad no cap because the old one was burnt and the spirits would not grant him a new one.[1] Of the Buryat shamans he observes that many of them do not possess drums, since the spirits with. bold permission to make them, and two long sticks which are struck crosswise against each other are therefore substituted at the performance.[2] Mikhailowski quotes the above statement in explanation of the fact that Khangaloff had seen only one drum among the Buryat shamans.

'With the degeneration of shamanism', says Mikhailowski, 'the number of people who know bow to prepare the sacred instrument with due regard to magical custom is decreasing.' [3] This, however, is not the true explanation of the disappearance of the drum among the Buryat, for the importance of the other chief Buryat accessory, the horse-staves, which demand equal care in the making, must also be taken into account. Without them the shaman cannot perform any of the principal rites. They are usually made of birch-wood, no one but a shaman who has passed his fifth consecration being allowed to use iron horse-staves.[4] The Lapps take great care of their drum and keep it covered up with furs. No woman may touch it.

A. Palaeo-Siberians.

The Chukchee. Among Palaeo-Siberians there are no strict regulations as to the shape and quality of the shaman's dress. Originality of costume is what is most sought after, and Bogoras tells us that the Chukchee shamans sometimes adopt some old coat brought froin the American shore. 'The Chukchee have nothing similar to the well-known type of coat covered with fringes and images, which is in general use among the Yakut and Tungus, and which probably was borrowed from the latter by the Yukaghir and perhaps also by the Kamchadal.'[5]

The absence of a peculiar shaman's dress among the Chukchee

[1. Op. cit., P. 193.

2. These are Probably what are called by later writers 'horse-staves'.

3 Op. cit., p. 68.

4. Klenientz, E. R. E., p. 16.

5. The Chukchee, pp. 457-8.]

may be accounted for by the fact that the shamans perform their ceremonies in the darkness of the inner room of the house, in an atmosphere so hot and stifling that they are obliged to take off their coats and to shamanize with the upper part of the body quite naked.

The only shamanistic garments that Bogoras speaks of are a coat and a cap. 'As far as I know,' he says, 'among the other neighbouring tribes also female shamans have no outward distinguishing mark, nor do they use the special shamanistic garb which is assigned only to the male shamans.'[1]

After this statement the custom among certain tribes of the adoption by the male shaman of the clothes and manner of a woman appears still more strange. The shamanistic coat is characterized by a fringe round the sleeves a little above the opening, or round the neck a little below the collar. This coat may be adopted by the shaman or by the patient. Besides the fringe there are slits ornamented with cured leather. 'These slits and fringes are usually said to represent the curves and zigzags of the Milky Way.' [2]

But if we remember the many other ways in which the Chukchee shaman imitates the Tungus shaman, we may conclude that both slits and fringes in the shamanistic coat are but another instance of the same imitation. The garment represented in Bogoras's book has in front of it an image of tetkeyun, that is, 'vital force', which resides in the heart and assumes its form. It is made like a leather ball and filled with reindeer-hair. The other figure, likewise of leather, represents a rekken, or 'assisting' spirit of the shaman.[3]

The shamanistic cap is also supplied with fringes, with a tassel on the top and a long double tassel on the left side. The tassels are of the type adopted for magic purposes, that is, they are formed of alternating pieces of white and black fur. 'Another cap with the opening on top, and likewise fringed and tasselled, was used by the shaman as a remedy against headache.' [4]

In addition to these garments, the Chukchee shaman uses in his performances many small instruments, such as the knife, the handle, of which is embellished with magical objects, and a small flat piece of ivory, which is said to be usually employed when cutting open a body. The ivory of the shaman, 'Scratching-Woman', had three

[1. Op. cit., p. 458.

2 Op. cit., p. 459.

3. Ibid.

4. Op. cit., p. 460.]

leather images fastened to it. 'One was said to represent a kele from the "direction" of the darkness, with the arms longer than the legs. The middle image with only one arm and one leg, and with the two eyes one above the other, represented the kele lumetun. The third image represented a crawling "spell" sent by an enemy of the shaman, who interecpted it on the way and thoroughly subdued it so that it began to do his bidding.'[1] These different amulets, the form of pendants and tassels, are made of skin and beads by the shaman himself, and are fastened to various parts of the body or dress. Such are also the 'round patches of skin, often with a tassel in the centre',[2] which are considered highly effective amulets among the Chukchee, the Koryak, and the Asiatic Eskimo. They are sewn to the coat, on the breast or on the shoulders, or against the affected part of the body. An image of the 'guardian' is placed in the middle, and is often replaced by an ornamental figure of a woman, of a dancing man, or of a warrior. These objects, as well as those already mentioned, serve both a magical and an ornamental purpose.

The most important object in shamanistic performances all over Siberia is the drum. Thus the Chukchee use the drum which is common to both Asiatic and American Eskimo.

The drum used by the Reindeer and Maritime Chukchee is different from that adopted in north-western Asia by the Yakut, Tungus, Koryak, Kamchadal, and Yukaghir, which is rather of a southern type.

The southern drum is large and somewhat oval in shape, and is held by four loose bands, which are fastened to the hoop of the drum on the inner side. The other ends of these bands meet in the middle, where they are tied to a small wheel or a cross, which is without any other support. When these are grasped by the hand the drum hangs loosely, and may be shaken and its position changed at will. The drum-stick is made of wood and covered with skin or with cured leather.

The Chukchee drum has a wooden handle[3] which is lashed with sinews to the wooden hoop. The diameter of the hoop, which is nearly circular in shape, is from 40 to 50 centimetres. The head is made of very thin skin, usually the dried skin of a walrus's stomach. In order to stretch the skin it is moistened with water or wine, and the edge is then tied with sinew cord. The ends of

[1. Op. cit., p. 466.

2. Op. cit., p. 468.

3. According to Mr. Henry Balfour this shows Eskimo influence.]

this cord are fastened to the handle. The drum is very light weighing from half a pound to a pound and a half. The drumstick varies according to its purpose. It is either a narrow, light strip of whalebone from 30 to 40 centimetres long, or a piece of wood from 60 to 70 centimetres long, which is sometimes adorned with fur tassels. The former is used during the magical performances held in the inner room at night, the latter during ceremonials performed in the outer tent during the day.[1]

When the family is moving from place to place, the cover of the drum is removed, folded, and fastened to the hoop to be replaced when needed. In the winter house the drum remains in front of the sleeping-place, and in the summer tent it hangs near the sacred fire-board.

The Koryak. The shaman accessories of the Koryak, another Palaeo-Siberian tribe, are described by Jochelson as follows: 'The Koryak shamans have no drums of their own; they use the drums belonging to the family in whose house the shamanistic performance takes place. It seems that they wear no special dress; at least the shamans whom I had occasion to observe wore ordinary clothing.'[2]

One embroidered jacket. which was sold to Jochelson as an Alutor shaman's dress, is very much like the ordinary man's dancing-jacket used during the whale ceremony, but more elaborate. The Koryak drum belongs not to the shaman but to the family. It is used both as a musical instrument and as a sacred object in the household. Everybody who pleases can beat the drum, but there is usually one competent person who knows bow to shamanize with it.

The Koryak drum, yyai, is oval in shape and covered with reindeer-hide on one side only, its diameter being 73 centimetres. The drum-stick is made of thick whalebone, wider at the end with which the drum is struck, and this end is covered with the skin of a wolf's tail.

Inside the drum at four points in the rim a double cord of nettle fibre is fastened and joined below to form the handle. These cords run towards one side of the drum. On the top of the inside rim is attached an iron rattle. Jochelson says that this custom of attaching the rattle has been borrowed from the Tungus and that not all Koryak drums possess it.[3]

[1. Bogoras, The Chukchee, pp. 356-7.

2. The Koryak, pp. 54-5.

3. Op. cit. P. 56]

The Kamchadal (Itelmen). Among the Kamchadal there is apparently no shamanistic garment or drum. Two early travellers to their country, Steller and Krasheninnikoff, say that everybody, especially women, could shamanize, and hence this occupation was not professional enough to demand a special dress.

The Yukaghir. The Yukaghir drum is a rough oval. It is covered with hide on one side only. Inside the drum there is an iron cross near the centre, which serves as a handle. The ends of the cross are fastened with straps to the rim, to which four iron rattles are attached.[1] There is a great similarity between the Yukaghir and the Yakut drum, not only in the iron rattles, iron cross, and general shape, but also in the small protuberances on the outer surface of the rim, which according to the Yakut represent the horns of the shaman's spirits. The stick is covered with the skin of a reindeer's leg. In Yukaghir traditions the drum without metallic additions is still traceable, the iron pieces having been borrowed from the Yakut.

The Yukaghir word for drum is yalgil, which means 'lake', that is, the lake into which the shaman dives in order to descend into the shadow-world.[2]

The Eskimo. This is very much like the conception of the Eskimo, the souls of whose shamans descend into the lower world of the goddess Sedna. The Eskimo drums are not large; the largest are to be found at Hudson Bay. They are either symmetrically oval or round, and a wooden handle is fastened to the rim. J. Murdoch[3], says that such drums are used by the Eskimo from Greenland to Siberia. The Eskimo as well as the Chukchee beat the lower part of the drum with the stick. The Koryak drum also is struck from below, and is held in a slanting position. Other Asiatic drums are mostly beaten in the centre. Among the Indians living south of the Eskimo we find broad-rimmed drums used for purposes of shamanism, as well as in dancing-houses.[4]

The Gilyak. The most important accessories of the Gilyak shaman are the drum, kas, and the shaman's girdle, yangpa. Schrenck gives us the following description of them: 'One night when I was sitting in a tent in the village of Yrri, they brought in two shamans' drums and other accessories, and at my request

[1. Ibid.

2. Op. cit., P. 59.

3. A Point Barrow Eskimo, 1887-8, p. 385.

4. Jochelson, The, Koryak, p. 58.]

they allowed me to be present at the preparation for the ceremony, First of all the drum was heated by the fire, to make the hide taut, so that the sound might be more sonorous.[1] The drum was made of the skin of a goat or reindeer, and whilst it was being prepared the shaman made ready. He took off his outer garment, put on the so-called koska, a short apron, and tied round his head a band of grass, the end of which hung over his shoulders like a tress of hair. Then he took the shaman's leather girdle, with many iron plates,[2] copper hoops, and other metal pendants, which produce a loud clanking noise during the shamanistic dances.' This girdle is called in Olcha dialect yangpa. Its chief pendant is a large copper disk with a small handle ornamented in relief, showing Manchu influence; this circle, called tole, makes the most important sound. There are also many iron links called tasso, and many irregular pieces of iron called kyire, which make a very loud noise; a few rolled iron plates called kongoro, and, finally, some small copper bells without tongues, called kongokto. When the girdle is put on all these objects hang together at the back. This shamanistic girdle is of considerable weight.[3]

Although the Gilyak belong to the Palaeo- Siberians, the metal accessories seem to be of Tungus origin, as are some other features of their culture. We read in Gmelin's [4] description of the costume of a Tungus shaman that he wears over the ordinary dress an apron ornamented with iron. This suggests that this apron-form of the shaman's coat was borrowed either by the Gilyak from the Tungus, or vice versa.

B. The Neo-Siberians.

Among the Neo-Siberians all their philosophy of life is represented symbolically in the drum, and great significance is also attached to various parts of their dress.

The Yakut. Among the Yakut even those who, like the blacksmith, help in the adornment of the shaman's garment, occupy a half-magical position, being credited with 'peculiar fingers '. [5] The hereditary blacksmiths have tools with ' souls', ichchylakh, which can give out sounds of their own accord. The blacksmiths

[1. Exactly the same preparations are mentioned by Jochelson, The Koryak, p. 56.

2. Compare the leather apron hung with jingling iron pieces worn by Manchu shamans. [Suggestion of Mr. Henry Balfour.]

3. Schrenck, op. cit., iii. 126.

4. Op. cit., p. 193.

Sieroszewski, The Yakut, p. 632.]

are those who approach most nearly to the shaman in their office, and are, in a way, related to them. 'The blacksmith and the shaman are of one nest', says a proverb of the Kolyma district, cited by Sieroszewski. 'The smith is the elder brother of the shaman' is another saying quoted by Troshchanski. Blacksmiths can sometimes cure, give advice, and foretell the future, but their knowledge is simply a matter of cleverness and does not possess magical value. The profession of blacksmith is mostly hereditary, especially in the north; in the ninth generation the blacksmith first acquires certain supernatural qualities, and the longer his line of descent, the greater his qualities. The spirits are generally afraid of the iron hoops and of the noise made by the smith's bellows. In the district of Kolyma the shaman would not shamanize until Sieroszewski had removed his case of metal instruments, and even then attributed his bad luck to them: 'The spirits are afraid of the blacksmith (Sieroszewski), and that is why they do not appear at my call.'[1]

The shaman's dress, according to Sieroszewski, consists chiefly of a coat. It is of cowhide, so short in front that it does not reach the knees, but touching the ground at the back. The edges and the surface of this coat are ornamented at the back with different objects, each having its own name, place, and meaning. The shaman's coat, which is not an indispensable part of the ritual costume arnong Palaeo-Siberians, is most elaborate among the Neo-Siberians.

Linguistically also there is a curious point connected with the terms for coat and drum. While the drum has a common name (with dialectic differences) among most Neo-Siberians, tünür, tüngür, &c., the term for the shaman's coat varies: kumu, ereni, manyak.[2] This seems to show that the ceremonial coat is a comparatively newer invention than the ceremonial drum.[3]

Sieroszewski [4] gives us an account of the meaning of the coat ornamentation, which he heard from in old Yakut. It is as follows:

1. Küngeta (the sun), a round, smooth, shining disk, the size of a small saucer, hanging between. the shoulders, on a short strap of leather which passes through the hole in the middle of the disk. [5]

[1. lbid.

2. Wierbicki, Altaian Dictionary, p. 487.

3. Troshchanski, op. cit., P. 131.

4. Sieroszewski, op. cit., p. 632.

5. Troshchanski (p. 143) says that according to Piekarski there is no such word is küngeta; it is, be says, künäsä, or küsänä, but the meaning of künäsä is uncertain. However, Troshchanski thinks that the Yakut word kün-sun'--is not etymologically connected with künäsä. Khudyakoff translates the Yakut word küsänä as'bell'. According to Katanoff, küsänä means (1) 'oracular time' (?), or (2) 'iron circle' fastened to the shaman's coat and representing the sun.]

2. Oibon-Künga (hole-in-the-ice sun), a disk of the same shape and size as the first, but with a larger hole in the middle. it hangs above or below the first plate on a long leather strap.[1]

3. Kondei kyhan, rolls of tin about the size of a thumb, but longer, banging at the back on the metal rings or loops.

4. Chilliryt kyhan, flat plates as long as fingers, banging in great numbers at the back, above the waist.

5. .Hobo, copper bells without tongues, suspended below the collar; like a crow's egg in size and shape and having on the tipper part a drawing of a fish's head. They are tied to the leather straps or to the metal loops.

6. Biirgüne, two round flat disks, similar to those which adorn the woman's cap, tuskata, but without any design on them; they are tied like an epaulet on the shaman's shoulders.

7. Oiogos timiria, two plates about the breadth of four fingers and a little shorter, fastened on both sides of the body.

8. Tabytaua, two long plates two fingers broad, which are fastened to both sleeves.

9. Ämägyat, abagyta ämätiat (in many places called emchet), a copper plate as long as the first finger and half as wide as the palm of the hand. It is covered either with a drawing of a man, 'with feet, bands, head, nose, mouth, eyes, and ears',[2] or with an engraving in relief on a copper medallion, having a man's figure in the middle.

'Only a blacksmith who has nine generations behind him can,

[1. Troshchanski (p. 144) converts this term into oibon-künäsätä (hole-in-the-ice circle). Künäsätä is the genitive of künäsä; the genitive form is used to show that these objects belong to the shaman's coal. Priklonski (Three Years in the Yakutsk Territory, 1891, p. 54) calls it külar-küsanat (happy, joyous sun), which, according to Troshchanski (p. 144), is also wrong. He says it ought to be külär küsänä (laughing circle). Potanin (op. cit., iv. 51) states that among the Mongols Of north-western Asia, there are sewn on the back of the shaman's coat two round copper disks, called by the Altaians kusungy, or kuler-kusungy, and sometimes two others on the breasts. Tretyakoff (op. cit., p. 214) informs us that the shamans of Dolgan have a disk hanging on the breast, which represents the chief evil spirit called kuganna, Troshchanski (op. cit., p. 145), however, suggests that kuganna is simply the Yakut küsänä, and is not a term for an evil spirit, but for the disk.

2. Sieroszewski quotes a native description of it, op. cit., p. 634.]

without danger to himself from the spirits, make an ämägyat, a copper plate such as has been described, which the shaman, when he begins to shamanize, hangs on his breast.'[1] What exactly ämägyat means, whether it is a personal or an impersonal power, it is difficult to determine. We shall go on to review the various references to this subject, since the word ämägyat is used in the double sense of (1) an invisible power and (2) of a visible symbol. In this chapter we shall confine ourselves to the latter. The absence of ämägyat differentiates the less important shamans, called kenniki oyuun, from those who possess it and who are known as orto oyaun. The power of those in partial possession of ämägyat varies according to 'the strength of their ämägyat'[2] The great shamans are those whose 'spirit-protector was sent them by Ulu-Toyen himself' (ämägyatitiah ulytoër ulutoënton ongorulah).[3]

Describing the shaman in action, Sieroszewski4 says that the shaman implores the assistance of his ämägyat and of other protecting spirits'; and it is only when the ämägyat descends upon the shaman that he begins his frenzied dances.
Whenever a family numbers a shaman among its members, it continues to do so, for after his death the ämägyat seeks to re-embody itself in some one belonging to the same clan (aya-usa).[5]

'Ämägyat ', says Sieroszewski in another place,[6] is a being quite apart; in most cases it is the soul of a departed shaman; sometimes it is one of the secondary supreme beings.'

The human body cannot endure the continuous presence of a power equal to that of the great gods; hence this spirit-protector (if ämägyat can be so called) resides not within, but close beside the shaman, and comes to his assistance at critical moments, or whenever he needs him.[7]

The shaman can see and hear only with the help of his ämägyat said the shaman Tiuspiut to Sieroszewski.

Possession of the ämägyat does not in any way depend upon the shaman; it comes either by an accident or by a decree from above. Tiuspiut obtained his ämägyat (of Tungus origin) quite accidentally.

The great shamans at death take their ämägyat with them, and thus change into heavenly beings, most of whom are ex-shamans;

[1. Op. cit., p. 632.

2. Op. cit., p. 628.

3 Ibid.

4. Op. cit., pp. 642-3.

5. Op. cit., p. 625.

6. Op. cit., p. 626.

7 Op. cit., p. 627.

8. Ibid.]

if the ämägyat does not depart in this way, then sooner or later it will show itself on the earth.
Troshchanski says that the most important ornament of the Yakut shaman's coat is ämägyat, which represents a man. On one of the coats that he reproduces there is an ämägyat on the left side made of molten copper. On another coat ämägyat were op. both sides of the breast and made of tin.[1]

Ämägyat is the sign of the shaman's vocation, which is always given by the old shaman to the new. It is quite possible, thinks Troshchanski, that it represents the shaman's ancestor and protector.[2]

Speaking of the preparatory stage of the shaman, Troshchanski says that the Yakut shaman is taught by an older shaman, who initiates him by suspending round his neck the ämägyat. This symbol is taken away from the shaman who no longer wishes to shamanize. An old blind Yakut, however, told Sieroszewski (p. 625) how he gave up his shaman's vocation, thinking it a sin, and although a powerful shaman removed the ämägyat sign from him, nevertheless the spirits made him blind.

In the Mongolian language ämägäldzi signifies the figure of the protective genius of the house, family, and goods, and is made of tin. According to Katanoff, this word is derived from ämägän, grandmother.

10. Balyk-timir (the fish), a plate a metre long, two fingers wide, made in the form of a fish with head, fins, tail, and scales. It bangs on a long leather strap. In some places, like the district of Kolyma, it drags on the ground to entice the secondary spirits, which run after it and try to catch it.[4]

11. Choran, small hollow copper balls, fastened to the ends of long leather straps reaching to the heels and banging like a fringe from the lower edge of the coat. This fringe is called bytyrys (the weed).

The coat is plain in front, and fastens on the breast with leather straps, and under the chin with a buckle in the form of a colt's tongue (kulun tyl kurduk). On the front of the coat are sewn figures of animals, birds, fishes; various disks; images of the sun, moon, and stars; and also some iron representations of the human skeleton and bowels.

In the north, in case of the absence of this costume, the shaman

[1. Troshchanpki, op. cit., p. 140.

2. Ibid.

3. Op. cit., p. 147.

4. Sieroszewski, p. 634.]

wears the woman's sangyniah, a coat of calf's skin, with the hair outside, on the feet of which are occasionally hung some of the most important iron accessories, like the two 'suns' (or sun and moon), the fish and the bürgüne; sometimes two round circles, which represent the breasts, are hung in the front.

A good shaman's dress requires about 35 to 40 pounds of iron.

In the north the shaman wears a woman's travelling cap with ear-flaps, but this is not to be seen in more southern regions, where the shaman is in most cases bareheaded.

According to general belief, the iron and the jingling pendants of the shaman's coat have the power to resist rust, and possess a soul-ichchite.[1]

The shaman wears his magical coat next his skin, and receives it from the hand of a kuluruksuta (page, assistant), i. e. the man whose duty it is to shout during the performance: seb! kirdik! choo! o o! ('well! true! choo! o o!'), and who helps the shaman in other ways, such as preparing the drum.

The Yakut drum is called, according to Sieroszewski, tüngür,[2] and according to Troshchanski,[3] tünür or dünür.

The drum is always egg-shaped, and is covered with the bide of a young bull. Its longest diameter is 53 cm., the width of the rim 11 cm., and the length of the stick 32 cm. The wider part of the stick is covered with cowhide. According to Jochelson, there are twelve raised representations of horns on the drum.[4] Sieroszewski [5] says that they are always found in odd numbers, 7, 9, or 11. The cross inside is attached to the rim by means of straps. Little bells, jingling trinkets, and other rattles of iron and bone are attached inside round the rim, especially in the places where the straps are fastened.

The term tüngür- seems to be a universal name for the drum among most of the Neo-Siberian tribes; sometimes t changes to d, giving the form düngür.

In Manchu the drum is called tunkun; in Mongol düngür; in Altaian tüngur; in Uriankhai donkür; in Soïot and Karagass tüngur.

Among the Yakut, as has been said, there are two names, tünür and donkür. Maak[5] records that the Yakut of Viluy

[1. Sieroszewski, op. cit., p. 635.

2. Op. cit., p. 635.

3. Op. cit., p. 128.

4. The Koryak, pp. 56-7.

5. Sieroszewski, p. 635.

6. The Viluysk District of the Yakusk Territory, iii. 118.]

explained to him that 'the shamans in addition to the tünür (drum) have also a stringed instrument, dünür.

The word tünür among the Yakut means also kinship through marriage: tünürätär, 'match-making'.

Troshchanski[1] thinks that this double meaning is not accidental, and that as the shaman was originally the head of a family, the drum might be regarded as the bond of unity between the shaman and the community, as well as between the shaman and the spirits.

Besides the drum, the shaman uses two other musical instruments, one of which is a stringed instrument like the Russian balalaika (a kind of banjo), the other an instrument like that known as a jews' harp, a small frame with a long wooden or metal tongue, which is moved by the finger; the narrow end of the instrument is held between the teeth, so that the mouth acts as a sounding-board.

Among the Yakut the jews' harp, called homus (hamys), is apparently not a shaman's instrument, though the shamans of other Neo-Siberians have been known to use it.

Among the Buryat from Irkutsk, this instrument is called khur, and is used only by the shamans.[2] This is also true of the Uriankhai. The Soïot call it komus, but the Altaians (using the term in the narrowest sense), who also have the word komus, use it to designate the stringed instrument resembling the Russian balalaika, which only shamans play.[3] The Kirgis call the shaman's drum kobuz.[4] According to Wierbicki, the Altaians use the two-stringed kabys or komus as an accompaniment to the recital of heroic tales.[5]

There are sometimes minor shamanistic performances without the drum and without the special garments. The shaman sits in his everyday dress on a small chair in the middle of the room and holds in his bands a branch ornamented with bunches of white horsehair, of which there may be three, five, or seven, but never an even number. The fire is not put out for these performances, and some of the horsehair is thrown on to it. The shaman does not dance, but sings and whirls about.[6]

[1. Op. cit., p. 129.

2. Katanoff, A Journey to Karagass in 1890, I.R.G.S., 1891, p. 201.

3. Wierbicki, A Dictionary of the Turkic Language, p. 141.

4. Troshchanski, p. 130.

5. The Natives of the, Altai, p. 139.

5. Sieroszewski, op. cit., p. 635.]

Troshchanski [1] thinks that, among the Yakut, white and black shamans have different coats. The coat of the white shaman has no animal pictures on it, because their spirit-protectors belong to the aiy (good spirits), which are not symbolized by animal pictures. The coat of the black shaman should not (according to Troshchanski) have representations of the sun, for these are peculiar to white shamans. The drums of the two shamans also differ. When Troshchanski showed an old Yakut woman, who knew a great deal about the shaman dress, a certain drum (op. cit., fig. II, b), she at once recognized it as a white shaman drum, since horsehair was fastened round the iron rim inside it.]

Tribal and clan differences exist in the shaman's coat, and it would be difficult to say whether a sharp line can be drawn between black and white shamanistic garments. Troshchanski is much influenced by this conception of dualism, but from the materials in our possession, a few very imperfect photographs, it would be unwise to come to a decision. It should be remarked, however, that neither of the writers on the Palaeo-Siberians in describing shaman instruments makes this division, and but few of the writers on the Neo-Siberians.

Potanin [2] describes how, on a shaman's coat of the Uriankhai tribe, among other properties, there was a small doll with a minute drum in its left hand. On the same string to which the doll was tied there was another small figure of an animal resembling the sacrificial animal of the real shaman. The significance of this is, of course, obvious. The shaman's ancestor resides in a symbolic form in the shaman's coat. Thus the small doll of the Uriankhai shaman's coat takes the place of the ämägyat the Yakut, if we are to take ämägyat as the symbol of the shaman's ancestor.

The skeleton figuring on the shaman's coat in Troshchanski's book must probably also be ascribed to the shaman's ancestor, for quite near it are sewed hawks' wings, and none but a shaman can fly or be represented by wings.

One might suppose from what has been said above that we have here to deal with three ways of representing the shaman ancestor: by the doll, the ämägyat, and the skeleton. It would be interesting to know, however, whether or not the ämägyat is to be found side by side with either of the other symbols. If so, it

[1. Op. cit., p. 133.

2. Op. cit., iv. 100.]

is possible that ämägyat is not a symbol of the ancestor spirit, but has a meaning of its own. On the Yakut coat the skeleton exists independent of ämägyat. On the Altaian coats described by Potanin, the doll is found side by side with the ämägyat. Both Troshchanski and Sieroszewski describe ämägyat as an indispensable ornament of every shaman's coat.

The coat possesses an impersonal power of itself. It is said to bear the names of ongor (Mongol) and tanara (Yakut) in addition to the classified names for the coat.

By assuming this coat the shaman receives supernatural power, which allows him to go to the upper- and under-worlds to meet spirits and deal with them. It is called 'shaman's horse' among the Yakut.

The coat as a whole is a tanara of the shaman, and each symbolic picture on the coat is also his tanara, i.e. protector.[1]

Another interpretation of the coat is given by Pripuzoff.[2] The picture of a perforated sun and a half-moon, he says, represents the dusk which reigns in the kingdom of the spirits. The strange animals, fishes, and birds which hang on the coat point to the monsters that are said to inhabit the spirit-land.

The iron chain hanging on the back signifies, according to some, the strength of the shaman's power, and according to others, the rudder which he uses in his journeys through the spirit country. The iron disks are there to defend the shaman from the blows of the hostile spirits.

Potanin[3], gives us an interesting description of the shaman's garment among the natives of Altai and north-western Siberia. According to him, it is in comparatively good preservation among the natives of Altai.

Natives of Altai. The shaman's coat is made of goat or reindeer hide. All the outer side is covered with pendants of varying length in serpent form, and has pieces of many-coloured stuff stitched on to it. The pendants, which terminate in serpents' heads, hang freely. Bundles of reindeer leather straps are also attached here and there. The term manyak, is applied by the natives of Altai to the small pendants as well as to the coat as a whole.

There can further be found on the coat various symbolic figures and jingling pendants, such is iron triangles, a small bow and

[1. Troshchanski, p. 135.

2. p. 95.

3. Op. cit., iv. 49-54.]

arrow to frighten hostile spirits, &c. On the back and sometimes on the front of the coat there are sewed two copper disks. One kam (shaman) had four empty tobacco-bags hanging on his coat with imaginary tobacco inside, which he offers to the spirits whilst he is wandering in their country.

The collar is trimmed with owl's feathers. One kam had, according to Potanin, seven little dolls on his collar, which, Potanin was told, were heavenly maidens.

A few bells are sewed on here and there; the more prosperous shamans have -is many as nine. The ringing of the bells, a kam told Potanin, is the voice of the seven maidens whose symbols are sewed to the collar calling to the spirits to descend to them.

The cap [1] of the Altaian shaman is formed of a square piece of the hide of a reindeer calf. On one side there are two buttons and on the other two loops. On the top, bunches of feathers are sewed, and from the lower edge bangs a fringe made of string and shell-fish. This is placed on the head with the two sides buttoned to the back, thus forming a cylindrical cap on the shaman's head. If the hide is bard, the top of the cap with its feathers sticks up like a coronet.

Among some shamans of the Teleut, the cap is made of brown owl skin; the feathers remain as ornaments, and sometimes also the bird's head.

It is not all shamans who can wear the manyak and the owlskin cap. The spirits generally announce to the chosen man when he may wear them.

Among the Tartars of Chern the shaman wears a mask (kocho), with squirrels' tails for eyebrows and moustaches. Among the same people Yadrintzeff noticed the use of two crutches; one of them was a crook, the other was supposed to be a horse, similar to the horse-staves of the Buryat.

All the drums which Potanin saw among the natives of Altai and north-western Mongolia were round in shape.[2] Yadrintzeff says that the Tartars of Chern have oval drums resembling the egg-shaped drum of the east Siberians.

The Altai drum has a hoop as large as the palm of one's hand, covered on one side with bide. Inside the drum there is vertical wooden stick and a horizontal iron chord with rattles

[1. Op. cit., p. 52.

2. Op. cit., iv. 44, 679.]

attached. The drum is held by the wooden stick, and not at the intersection of the stick and the iron crossbar.

The wooden vertical stick is called bar by the natives of Altai. Among other north-western tribes it has various names. The bar has a man's head and feet at the two ends. The upper part is often carved, the eyes, the nose, the mouth, and the chin being cut with great exactness. The horizontal iron stay is called by the Altaians krish, and from it hang various iron rattles called kungru. The number of kungru varies according to the ability of the shaman. It is a guide to the quantity of chayu (Potanin translates this word 'spirits', but it seems rather to mean 'spiritual power) possessed by the shaman, since the more chayu the shaman possesses, the more kungru are found in his drum.

Under the chin of the figure on the wooden bar are fastened long strips of gaudy material called yauasua. Radloff[1] calls this yalama.

On the hide of the drum, sometimes on both sides, sometimes on the inner side only, circles and crosses and other lines are drawn with red dye.[2]

Some Altai drums have drawings of animals on them, lilce those on the drums of the North-American Indians.[3]

The drums of the Chern and Kumandinsk Tartars differ from those of the Altaians; instead of bar, krish, and jingling plates there are here representations of the two worlds, above and underground, separated by a horizontal line, which divides the drum into two parts, an upper and a lower.[4]

On the outer side of the drum of the Chern Tartars, pictures of animals and plants are found. On the upper and larger part an arch is drawn, with indications of sky, inside of which are two trees with a bird on each. To the left of the tree are two circles-the sun and the moon-light and darkness. Below the horizontal line are pictures of frogs, lizards, and snakes.[5] These drawings have a particular importance, since the symbols described show more than any others the shamanistic view of the natural and the supernatural.

There is unfortunately very little material of a reliable character, the studies of Potanin and Klementz being the most valuable. On the whole, it is safe to say that the drums of the natives of

[1. Aus Sibirien, ii. 18.

2 Potanin, iv. 40-9.

3. Jochelson The Koryak, i. 58-9.

4. Potanin, op. cit., iv. 680.

5. Op. cit., iv. 44-5.]

north-west Asia, especially in the southern parts, are adorned with representations of the upper and lower worlds divided by a horizontal line.[1]

The following interpretation of this same ornamentation is given by Klementz in his study of the drums peculiar to the neighbourhood of Minussinsk.[2] His information was given him by a kam of high standing.

Although by no means all drums are ornamented in the same way, yet in this account we may perceive certain traditional rules embodying the Altaian and Mongolian conception of the meaning of the drum and its decoration.

A. The lower part of the drum:

1. Bai-Kazyn (painted in white), 'a rich birch' -alluding to the birches round which annual sacrificial ceremonies are held.

2. Ulug-bai-kazyn (in white)-two trees growing in Ulukhan's country.

3 and 4. Ak-baga ('white frog') and Kara-baga ('black frog'), the servants of Ulu-khan.

5. Chshity-us, spirits associated with seven nests and seven feathers.

6. Chshity-kyz ('seven maids'); these bring seven diseases on man.

7. Ulugere, to whom prayers are offered for the curing of toothache and of earache.

8. Ot-imeze ('Mother of the fire').

B. The upper part of the drum:

1. Souban-ir. The kam translated this 'aurora' (whether with the meaning of dawn or the aurora borealis is impossible to decide from Potanin's description).

2. Ike-karagus, two black birds, flying as messengers from the shaman to the shaytans.

4. Aba-tyus (the bear's tooth).

5. Sugyznym-karagat. According to the kam, this means 'the horses of Ulu-khan'.

6. Kyzyl-kikh-kahn. to whom one prays when beginning any undertaking.

The other figures drawn in white paint are animals, which Kyzvl-kikh-khan is hunting.

[1. Mikhailowski, p. 68.

2. Types of Drums of the Minitssinsk Natives, E. S. S. I. R. G. S., p. 26.]

Many other authors also coniniont on this method of dividing the pictures on the Neo-Siberian drum. Wierbicki,[1] describing the tüngür of the natives of Altai, says: 'On the outer side the hide is painted with red ochre; on the upper part are represented the sky, a rainbow, sun, moon, stars, horses, geese, the kam on a horse, and, on the lower part, the earth.'

According to Dr. Finsch's description [2] the drums of the Samoyed and of the Ob-Ostyak are, like the Altai drums, round in shape, broad-rimined, covered on one side only, and have a diameter of from 30 cm. to 50 cm.

The Ostyak drums described by Potanin [3] have the same division of the drum into lower and upper parts representing lower and tipper worlds, as among the Tartars of Chern.

The Buryat. The Buryat shaman's costume was first described by Pallas.[4] It belonged to a female shaman, who was accompanied by her husband and two other Buryat, each of them holding a magical drum.[5] She herself held in her hand two sticks, ornamented at the top end with a carving of a horse's head surrounded by small bells. [This implement is called by recent travellers 'horse-staves'.] From the back of the shoulders reaching to the ground hung about thirty snakes, made of white and black skin, in such a way that the snakes seem to be composed of white and black rings. One of the snakes was divided into three at the end, and was accounted indispensable to each Buryat female shaman. The cap was covered with an iron casque having horns with three branches, projecting on both sides like those of a deer.

Gmelin[5], saw a costume of another old and revered female

[1. The Natives of the Altai, p. 45.

2. Finsch, Reise nach West-Sibirien, p. 550 (Berlin, 1879), quoted hy Jochelson, The Koryak. p. 59.

3. Op. cit., iv. 680.
4. Reise durch verschiedene Provinzen des russichen Reiches, 1777, pp.102-3.

5. The more recent accounts deny the existence of the drum among the Buryat. Khangaloff saw it only once, and this was in the case of a young and inexperienced shaman. Klementz states that the drum is very seldom in use among the Buryat. Nevertheless he says: 'At great shaman ceremonies, in which a shaman and his nine sons take part (some of which the writer witnessed on the estuary of the river Selenga, among the Kuda, Buryat), one of the assistants holds in his hands a small tambourine, but neither the meaning of the tambourine nor the róle of the assistant is quite clear.' Curiously enough, Pallas, writing in the eighteenth century, agrees with the contemporary witness in describing the assistants' use of the drum.

6. ii. 11-13.]

shaman near Selenginsk. Her costume was hanging in her yurta, but, according to her account, was not complete. Among other things he mentions a box, full of strips of cloth, small stones, thunderbolts, &c., which she used for magical purposes.[1] There was also a felt bag full of various felt idols.

In the exhaustive work of Agapitoff and Khangaloff there is a description of the old shaman costume among the Buryat-a costume of a kind which, however, is very rarely to be met with at present. According to them, the coat (orgoy), the cap, and the horse-staves (morini-khörbö are the chief appurtenances of a shaman.

1. The orgoy is of white material for the white shaman, and of blue for the black shaman. Its shape does not differ from that of the ordinary coat.'

Klementz[2]says that the old-fashioned orgoy was shorter than that of the present day.
The front of the coat is covered with metal figures of horses, fishes, birds, &c. The back is covered with twisted iron representing snakes, -with rattles hanging from them (shamshorgo),[4] together with a whole row of little bells and tambourine bells.

On the chest above the thin plates used to hang little shining copper disks, and on the sleeves were also hung thin iron plates, in imitation of the bones of the shoulder and forearm. This gave Gmelin the ground for his assertion that two shamans who came to him from Nijine-Udinsk resembled chained devils.[5]

2. The cap, which is peaked, is made of lynx skin, with a bunch of ribbons on the top. After the fifth consecration the shaman can wear the iron cap; it is composed of a crown-like iron hoop with two half-hoops crossing each other, above which is an iron plate with two born-like projections.

In the place where the intersecting hoops are tied to the hoop round the head there are three groups of khoubokho,[6] or kholbogo, conical weights of iron. From the back of the hoop hangs an iron

[1. Agapitoff and Khangaloff (pp. 42-4) call an identical box shire.

2. Agapitoff and Khangaloff, p. 42.

3. E. R. E., p. 16.

4. Klementz uses the same native word shamshoryo for (i) the rattles attached to the snakes on the shaman's coat, and (ii) for the conical iron weights fixed to the upper part of the horse-staves, but he does not intimate whether this word has two meanings or not.

5. Klementz states that the orgoy is in some places now only put on after death, for burial.

6. Klementz calls them shamshorgo, E. R E., p. 16.]

chain composed of four links and ending in small objects resembling a spoon and an awl.[1]

Klementz [2] calls this cap the metal diadem, 'consisting of an iron ring with two convex arches, also of iron, crossing one another at right angles, and with a long jointed chain which hangs down from the nape of the neck to the heels-we know of them only from the descriptions of travellers and from specimens preserved in a few museums'.

3. The horse-staves (morini-khorbo) are to be met with among all the Buryat of Baikal, but among the Buryat of Balagan they are not used. Each Baikal shaman possesses two. They are made of wood or of iron; but the iron staff is only given to the shaman after the fifth consecration, when he also receives the iron cap. The wooden horse-staves are cut for the novice the day before his first consecration, from a birch-tree growing in the forest where the shamans are buried. The wood for the horse-staves must be cut in such a way that the tree shall not perish, otherwise it would be a bad omen for the shaman.

This implement is 80 cm. long; the upper part is bent and has a horse-head carved on it; the middle part of the stick forms the knee-joints of the horse, and the lower end is fashioned into a hoof.

Little bells, one of which is larger than the rest, are tied to the horse-staves. Likewise small conical weights of iron, khoubokho, or kholbogo, blue, white, yellow and red-coloured ribbons, and strips of ermine and squirrel fur. To make it look more realistic miniature stirrups are also attached.

The iron horse-staves are not very different from the wooden ones. They represent the horses on which the shaman rides to the upper and lower worlds.

According to Khangaloff, it is in the drum that the horse, on which the shaman makes his flight, is symbolized. Khangaloff, however, also speaks of the rarity of the drum among the Buryat. The only drum which he saw among them was of the form and size of a small sieve, and was covered with horse-hide fastened to the back with leather straps. He did not notice any pictures either on the outside or on the inside, but the outside surface, he says, was daubed with some white stuff.[3]

[1. Agapitoff and Khangaloff, op. cit., pp. 43-4.

2. E. R E., p. 16.

3. Agapitoff and Khangaloff, op. cit., pp. 42-4.]

Klenientz says that the drum, khese, is very little known among the Buryat, who substitute the horse-staves for it, and that the little bell is sometimes also called khese; nevertheless, among the Mongol Shamanists and the Mongolized Uriankhai, the drum is in use.[1]

The Buryat Buddhists use in their divine services either drums covered on both sides with hide, like those found among the North-American Indians, or those with hide on one side only. These drums are round, and have leather handles attached to the outer edge of the rim.[2]

Klementz mentions as the next accessory of the shaman the khur, a 'tuning-fork'('jews' liarp'?), with a wire tongue between the two side-pins, an implement largely in use among shamanists. It may be met with, he says, from the sources of the Amur to the Ural, and from the Arctic Ocean down to Tashkent. Here and there it is merely a musical instrurnent.[3]

On the shaman's boots there were formerly sewed iron plates, but these are no longer in use.
The Olkhon Buryat, say Agapitoff and Khangaloff, have one other property, called shire. It is a box three and a half feet long and one foot deep, standing on four legs, each two feet high. On the box are hung ribbons, bells, strips of skin, and on one of the long sides different figures are carved or painted in red. Usually on the right side is represented the sun, and on the left, the moon. The sun is depicted as a wheel, and in the middle of the moon there is a human figure holding a tree in one hand. In the middle of the long side there are three images of secondary gods, one woman and two men, in whose honour wine is sprinkled several times a year. There are also war implements-bow and quiver and sword, and under each human figure there is a horse. The shire is used to bold horse-staves, drums, and other ritual implements. The shaman acquires the right of carrying the shire after the fifth consecration .[4] It is asserted, says Klementz,[5] that with every new consecration up to the ninth, the height and other dimensions of the shire increase.

Nil[6] mentions two things more: abagaldey, a monstrous mask of skin, wood, and metal, painted, and ornamented with a great

[1. E. R. E., iii. p. 16.

2. Jochellson, The Koryak, p. 59.

3. E. R. E., ibid.

4. Agavitoff and Khangaloff, pp. 43-4.

5. E. R. E., ibid.

5. Archbishop of Yaroslav (Buddhism in Siberia, 1858),]

beard; and toli, a metal looking-glass with representations of twelve animals on it; this is hung round the neck and worn on the breast; sometimes it is sewed on the shaman's coat.

Occasionally the Buryat shaman has also a whip with bells, but generally all these implements tend to disappear in modern times.

Two other ethical and linguistic groups, which, although they live only partly in Siberia, yet belong to the Neo-Siberians, are the Samoyed and the Finnic tribes, and a survey of their shaman accessories is of special interest in connexion with those of the Mongolic, Turkic, and Tungusic shamans.

The most important belonging of a tadibey (Samoyed shaman) is his penzer (drum), which he prepares according to a special set of rules. He must kill a male reindeer-calf with his own hands, and prepare the skin in such a way that no veins are left on it. In these preparations inka (i. e. a woman), being considered unclean, cannot assist.[1]

The drums, which are ornamented with metal disks and plates, and covered with transparent reindeer hide, are round in shape and of various sizes. The largest drum seen by Castren was nearly two feet in diameter and two and a half inches in height.[2]

According to Dr. Finsch's description, the drums of the Samoyed and of the Ob-Ostyak are like the Altai drums, round, broadrimmed, covered on one side only, and with a diameter of from 30 cm. to 50 cm.

The shaman's costume consists of a chamois-leather coat called samburzia, ornamented with red cloth. Eyes and face are covered with a piece of cloth, since the tadibey is supposed to penetrate into the spirit-world with his inner sight. Instead of a cap there are two bands round his head to keep the cloth over the face in position. An iron disk hangs on his breast.[3]

In certain places the tadibey uses a cap with a visor, and over the leather coat jingling trinkets and little bells and strips of cloth of various shades are hung. In this ornamentation the number seven plays an important róle.[4]

Among the Lapps, the drum, kannus or kvobdas, which is now but an antiquarian curiosity, played a most important part.[5] It

[1. V. Islavin, The Samoyed, 1847, pp. 112-13.

2. Castren, Reiseerinnerugen aus den Jahren 1838-1844 (Petersburg, 1853), p. 192.

3. Op. cit., pp. 192-3.

4. Islavin, op. cit., p. 113.

5. Schefferus, Lappland (Königsberg, 1675), p. 137, &c.]

was made of birch or pine wood, grown if possible in a sunny spot, since such a tree would be acceptable to the sun and the good spirits. There are two kinds of drum. One is composed of a wooden hoop, with two cross-pieces of wood inside covered with hide; the other is an egg-shaped flat box, hollowed out of the trunk of a tree, and also covered with bide. The most significant ornaments are the drawings in red. They represent good and bad spirits, the sun, the stars, various animals, lakes, forests, and men. The division between this world and the upper is clearly shown. Among many other symbolic figures there is also the image of a noyda (shaman). Each drum has its metal ring with small pendants and a drum-stick of reindeer horn.

The Lapps take great care of their drums, and when not in use they and the drum-sticks are wrapped in furs. No woman dares to touch the drum.

Next: Chapter XI. The Shaman in Action