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

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2019. Vol. 27

Images of Domestic Animals in Interpretations of the Social Structure of Nomadic Society

Author(s)
M. M. Sodnompilova
Abstract

Horses and cattle are traditionally part of the main wealth of nomadic pastoralists in Inner Asia (taban khoshuu mal – five types of cattle) and occupy an important place in the life support system of nomads. They as domestic animals, rather than prey, appear in the economy of the Inner Asia population in the Bronze Age. The long stage of the coexistence of these domestic animals with humans determined the high significance of horse and cow images in mythology, folklore, beliefs and rites of nomads. An idea of the biological identity and compatibility permeates the life of a nomad and explains his regular references to images of animals in the interpretation of social phenomena. The purpose of this article is to determine the interpretations logic of the phenomena of social life through the prism of images of the most significant animals in the nomadic economy, reflected in the folklore texts of various genres and the rituals of the Turko-Mongols. The main sources of research were genealogical legends, sayings explaining social phenomena, the rules and prohibitions of the traditional food complex, zoomorphic vocabulary. The study of folklore texts of the different genres of Turko-Mongols in Inner Asia, containing the images of domestic animals, shows the high status of the horse and cattle in the life of nomads. These animals became the basis of the nomadic economy of the Turko-Mongols. In this regard, the images of the horse and cow as symbols of wealth and happiness are widely represented in the rituals, especially the wedding cycle, wedding favors, songs, guidance songs. In addition, in the Turko-Mongolian wedding cycle of rites, the unity of these images models the future life of the newlyweds in love and harmony. The value of these animals is determined not only by their economic importance in the nomadic economy. Over the long period of coexistence of these animals with humans, their appearance and habits, causing a positive or negative assessment among the nomads, became the main elements in the interpretation of social phenomena, stable “parameters” of human behavior modeling and even evaluation of their appearance.

About the Authors

Sodnompilova Marina Mikhailovna, Doctor of Sciences (History), Leading Researcher, 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. Images of Domestic Animals in Interpretations of the Social Structure of Nomadic Society. Bulletin of the Irkutsk State University. Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series. 2019, Vol. 27, pp. 73–78. https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2019.27.73 (in Russ.)

Keywords
Turko-Mongols, domestic animals, social phenomena, folklore, interpretation
UDC
391
DOI
https://doi.org/10.26516/2227-2380.2019.27.73
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