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THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST
Ethnographical exposition of the Khabarovsk Regional Lore Museum introduces the visitors the rich material and spiritual cultureof the indigenous peoples in the Russian Far East at the turn of XIXth - XXth centuries. It gives the opportunity to appreciate the variety of this unique culture at its truevalue.
The famous scientists and explorers P.P. Shimkevich,
Y.A. Sem, P.P. Kusmin, V.K. Arsenyev, V.P. Sysoev and even governor-generals
of the Priamursky Territory N.I. Grodekov, N.L. Gondatti and also research
workers of the museum have been forming the museum collections.
Visitors' attention is attracted by a Chukchy winter overall for women "kerker" and a Koryak coat for men "kukhlyanka" made of reindeer skin. The native peoples of Priamurye made their clothes using skins of fish and animals. The unique exhibit is an Ude dressing-gown made of skin of a Siberian salmon, dyed with infusion of alder-tree bark and painted in water colours. A Nanai dressing-gown for women is also of interest. It was made of a specially carried reindeer skin called "rovduga".
An Aleut headdress hat-peak "chugudek", brought to the museum by V.K. Arsenyev, is of great scientific value. The number of beads on its top means the number of killed animals. There are only two Aleut headdresses with longitudinal ornament in the world. Similar to thisone is the "chugudek" which is exposed in the Britain Museum in London.
Exhibits in the second section inform the visitors on the material culture and different works of indigenous peoples in the Khabarovsk Territory. Traditional hunting and fishing tackle and some household articles of aborigines in Priamurye the Nanais, Ulchies, Udes, Orochies, Nivkhs take an important place in the exposition. Some kitchen utensils - dishes, vessels, boxes made of birch-bark, wicker baskets, carved spoons make a strong impression on visitors. Fur clothes of Evenks and Evens, a fur carpet, bags, a cradle characterize a nomadic life of reindeerbreeders.Frame birch-bark and gouged boats, narrow and wide skis, a model of sledge with the gear for 10 dogs were the main means of conveyance at that time.
The models of some temporary dwellings always compel the attention of visitors. One of the dwellings, called "khemoran", belongs to an Ulchy fisherman, another, called "aonga", to a Nanai hunter. On display one can also see an Evenk nomadic tent. A fragment of a Nanai winter house equipped with an ancient heating system is reconstructed in the exposition. Those heating systems were known in this territory more than 2000 years ago. Big patriarchal families consisted of representatives of some generations lived in houses like this one. The spiritual and material culture (belief, family life, works, housekeeping) have been formed during centuries. The native peoples were animists by their belief. Different hunting and fishing cults were the most ancient form of believes. Shamanism appeared later. Shamans were the mediators between the material and spiritual worlds. Shamans' clothes and attributes are represented in the section "Believes". Metallic plates "toli", belts "yangpan", staffs, masks had to protect a shaman against evil spirits. A ritual breastplate was necessary to protect a voice of a shaman during ritual ceremonies. A tambourine symbolized a sole of a shaman. The cult sculptures ("spirits-protectors" and "spirits-assistants") are wide shown in the exposition.
The pride of the museum is the biggest complex of "spirits-protectors" of an Ude shaman from the Kusun river. It was brought to the museum by V.K. Arsenyev in 1911. To the middle of the XXth century the traditional culture of indigenous peoples changed very much. In present time it remains unique, but in the whole we can get the information on it in museums only.
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