«BULLETIN OF THE IRKUTSK STATE UNIVERSITY. GEOARCHAEOLOGY, ETHNOLOGY, AND ANTHROPOLOGY SERIES»
ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2018. Vol. 26

Obhoi Ritual Complex at the Kulenga River (Upper Lena Region)

Author(s)
A. M. Kuznetsov, D. N. Molchanov
Abstract

During the field research of the Obhoi burial ground (Upper Lena region) in 2018 it was discovered some modern objects formed the ritual complex, which is characteristic of the Buryat traditional culture. The territory of field research is situated on the right bank of Kulenga river valley, nearby Obhoi village. Obhoi ritual complex consists of traditional Buryat hitching post (serge) and ritual glade. Serge as a cultural unit is one of the most important art object in the culture of modern and ancient North Asia nomads’ societies. It provides communications between Upper (spirits), Middle (human) and Lower (demons) worlds into the sacred space. Serge of Obhoi ritual complex is approximately 2 m in height. Distal part of it is designed in the form of a rounded cone. Numerous traces of the ritual (alcohol bottles) are recorded nearby this object. Ritual glade is located 130 m to the East of the Serge, in a spruce grove. The area is enclosed by blue and white textile bands. At the north-west part of glade there is a ritual tent-like construction built of spruce small trunks and branches. Into the construction there is some crockery representing the evidence of ceremony of offering sacrifices. In our opinion, position of such complex is not random and derives from ancient burial objects. All of modern and ancient units form sacred landscape involving relief and river Kulenga. Into this sacred area there are tripartite and two-part complexes. Tripartite complex consists of the ritual glade (Upper world), serge (Middle world) and Kulenga River (Lower world). Other complex has similar symbolic pattern. It is important to note that Lena River is a lower world-flowing stream in traditional Buryat mythology. Highly likely there is no end-to-end cultural communications in this area, but indirect link is available. In addition, to the presence of Buryat culture at Obhoi ritual complex some elements are influenced by Evenk. This cultural diffusion reflects in the morphology of ritual construction situated on the glade. The paper includes information about this sacred area, some discussions of its forming and function based on toponymic and geographic characteristics.

About the Authors

Kuznetsov Alexey Mikhailovich, Research Engineer, Irkutsk State University; 1, K. Marx st., Irkutsk, 664003, Russian Federation, e-mail: golos_siberia@list.ru

Molchanov Dmitry Nikolaevich, Research Engineer, Irkutsk State University; 1, K. Marx st., Irkutsk, 664003, Russian Federation, e-mail: dmi_molchanov@mail.ru

For citation

Kuznetsov A. M., Molchanov D. N. Obhoi Ritual Complex at the Kulenga River (Upper Lena Region). Bulletin of the Irkutsk State University. Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series. 2018, Vol. 26, pp. 134–145. https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2018.26.134 (in Russ.)

Keywords
Upper Lena Buryats, Ekhirits, shamanism, spiritual culture, sacred space, sacred landscape, ritual complex, burial ground
UDC
903.5(571.53)
DOI
https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2018.26.134
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