ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2017. Vol. 20

Images of the North in Buryats' Impressions: Contamination of Mythological and Real

М. M. Sodnompilova
A special interest is shown of how the traditional world view bearer perceives and views the space, reflected in the different versions of the world view of the ethnos. The study of perception and vision of space allows to select from conjunction of the irrational and the rational character information based on real people's knowledge about the surrounding world. The article deals with the range of images, values and beliefs in the Buryat worldview related to the North. It was found that they accumulate images endowed with negative values. This is an image of the underworld which is represented by markers such as cold dark sea, desert land, ice, snow, cold wind. This is a residence of evil gods and spirits, a place where diseases arise and then spread around the world. Such an example of the other world localization is a replica of rational human knowledge about the surrounding area. It is actual not only for Buryats, but for the other Mongolian ethnic groups. An exception is the image of the afterlife in the form of heavenly palaces for the souls of warriors and leaders, known primarily among the Western Buryats. The existence of transcendent views of the world in real geographical space is distinguished in the worldview of different Buryat ethnic groups in parallel of this synthesis image of the north. As a general rule, its boundary is related to the periphery of the assimilated space. Eastern Buryats could consider that Lake Baikal is the edge of the earth. Lena River was the border of another world for many Western Buryats. Image of a horse takes special place in the representations of the Buryats associated with the Lena river. This image is implicit in the name of the river, in the mythological notions of its deity Azhirai-bukhe. The motif of the river-horse, inherent in the Turkic tradition, and reflected in the Buryat myth-making, is one of the many evidences of the presence of the Turkic substratum in the ethnogenesis of the Buryats. Representations of the northern lands research allowed to determine contacts of early Buryat tribes with the "forest" nations – Yakuts, Evenks, who left their marks in the Buryat world view.
world view, image of the north, underworld, river, Buryat pantheon

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