ISSN 2227-2380 (Print)

List of issues > «Geoarchaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology Series». 2016. Vol. 15

The “Oboo” Cult of the Old Barguts as Factor of the Ethnic Identification

S. B. Miyagasheva

The article deals with a research of the cult honoring a sacred place named “Oboo” by the old Barguts in Inner Mongolia. The research based on numerous ethnographic materials and the translations of works of the Inner Mongols authors. The ancient ceremony named “Oboo Tahil” is described for the very first time. The old Barguts are descendants of medieval Barguts who had been living in Bargudjin-Tokum. At the end the XVI beginning of the XVII century, they moved from Transbaikalia to Kulun-Buir. From ancient times, the Barguts were shamanist, and still they continue to have shaman ceremonies as “Oboo Tahil” – the ceremony honoring the ancestral spirits and the «masters» of the district. Being citizens of the Qing Empire the old Barguts as many other small alien tribes began to be exposed to Buddhism introduction. Despite desperate resistance of the old Barguts, the shamanism lost its popularity, and in the course of time, the Buddhism gained recognition of the majority of the Mongolian people in Inner Mongolia. However, the Buddhism did not manage to get rid completely of shamanist traditions, and was compelled to assimilate them. Therefore, the old Barguts experience the syncretic religion combining features of the Buddhism and some shamanism practices. The influence of the Lamaism defined specifics of the shamanism: ceremonies of public, patrimonial character were generally entered into the sphere of cult actions of lamas, shamans deities were entered into the Buddhist pantheon. The cult “Oboo” is a ceremony of the collective shamans sacrifices directed to involve the wellbeing and happiness. “Oboo” of the old Barguts looks like a cone-shaped tent from branches of young trees which are thrust in heaps of stones, and are, as a rule, established at tops of mountains. For the old Barguts, being immigrants from Transbaikal region, the continuation of practice of collective ceremonies had a deep meaning - having allocated the new cult places noted by sacral symbolics, they fixed new territories as for practical development, i.e. legal, political, cultural, economic and economic development of a certain sphere of dwelling the sacralization was necessary. The old Barguts had both collective (public) and personal (patrimonial) prayers. Collective “Oboo” is considered as the biggest “Tuv Ulziit Oboo”, called also the “Amban (Ambaa) Oboo”, translated from Manchurian as “Big, Great oboo”.

the old Barguts, shamanism, Kulun-Buir, Inner Mongolia, the “Oboo” cult

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