ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2018. Vol. 23

Ritual Use of Clothing by the Mongolian Peoples in the Past and Present

M. M. Sodnompilova

The costume complex of the Mongolian peoples is a multi-valued and multifunctional subject of traditional culture, which is widely used in ritual practice. The aim of the article is the research of traditional attitudes related to clothing, its meaning and functions in the ritual. The study of the ritual function of traditional clothing reveals archaic ideas, according to which clothing was considered as a replica of the human body. First of all, this is the view of the whereabouts of the human soul in the elements of clothing. So, buttons are connected with the localization of a person's soul are a collar of clothes and a hat. The consequence of this perception of clothing is a whole complex of acceptances and prohibitions, which still retain their significance at contemporary. At the very core of the taboo was the idea that the soul is able to incarnate into clothing, to become a part of it. The taboo was widespread in the past among the Mongolian peoples everywhere, and is still relevant today – you cannot give your clothes for a while. It is revealed that the customs of donating clothes mark events that are significant for society, when new ones are established or former social ties are strengthened. A number of such events in the traditional society are the formations of military and marital unions, twinning ceremonies, the adoption of children by the adoptive family, rituals of spiritual guardianship. The marriage includes the most intense rituals of gifting clothes. In Wedding rituals of Mongolian people’s traces of the archaic tradition of presenting the bride full set of women's clothing and jewelry with a marking the bridegroom's genus are preserved. The vestment of a bride in a new women's costume occurs after a number of rituals aimed at overcoming the alleged alienity of those entering into marriage. At the special ritual of introducing the groom to the bride's family, her parents gave the future son-in-law their shoulder-clothes and ritual objects. The key sacred objects were a handkerchief from some Mongols, while others had a pouch. These scattered objects unite by one name – Arshuur. The lexical unit indicates that in the past, this ritual subject was a handkerchief. These items were kept by a man all his life and after his death were buried with him.

About the Authors
Sodnompilova Marina Mikhailovna, Doctor of Sciences (History), Leading Researcher, Department of History, Ethnology and Sociology, Institute for Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies SB RAS; 6, Sakhyanova st., Ulan-Ude, 670047, Russian Federation, e-mail: sodnompilova@yandex.ru
For citation

Sodnompilova M. M. Ritual Use of Clothing by the Mongolian Peoples in the Past and Present. Bulletin of the Irkutsk State University. Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series, 2018, Vol. 23, pp. 111–123. https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2018.23.111 (in Russ.)

Mongolian peoples, traditional costume, ritual, wedding rites

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