46,760 Works

Combing Cashmere

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Batusurun, a herder in Yisen Tologai village (Nine-Head) village, is a descendant of one of the richest Torghuts in Hobogsair in the last century. As he says, his great grandfather’s flocks reached 10,000 heads once in the past and they celebrated the achievement by purchasing a golden open fire stove and a silver pot, which were symbols of wealth in Hobogsair. Batusurun is not as rich as his ancestors, currently herding only 200 goats, 100...

Changing Lifestyle in Bayanbulag

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Bataa lived with her parents in Bayanbulag until the age of 16. As she recalls, those were the best years when they herded their flocks and moved around different places every season. The Cultural Revolution, however, had completely changed the rest of her life. From being a noble family to losing everything, she survived and settled in Hejing eventually. In 2000, she opened her own Torghut traditional store in Hejing county where she has been...

Catching horses with a lasso

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
This video is about the process of catching horses as demonstrated by Sükhe and his neighbours who use their handmade lassoes to catch a mare with its foal in their summer farm. As Sükhe says, he often gives his young son horse milk to drink as it is believed to have healing properties.

富民小区or Prosperity Residential Compound

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
In this video, we interviewed five different residents living in富民小区or Prosperity Residential Compound. They said that the compound was built for Torghut herders and other low-income families in Hejing county. However, most of the herders living there are seasonal residents who stay at the county centre during the winter season. Over the last few decades, herders often come to Hejing for medical treatment, or for short stays in winter before they go back in the...

Branding Camel calves

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
For herders, springtime is the most important and busiest season in a year. It is a lambing season, and a time when people need to brand new born animals and shear the hair of old ones. In this video, Pervei with his son Namrul and two other herders give a demonstration of the spring work of shearing and branding one-year-old camel calves. The shearing and branding are usually done in late spring but before summer...

Yalalt teaching about Tsagaan sar (lunar new year)

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
The teaching of the Torghut traditional culture was initiated a couple of years ago by students who have received primary and secondary education in Chinese and studied in universities in inland China. Most members in the group grew up in cities far away from their cultural roots and do not speak Mongolian very well. Yalalt, who used to be a primary school Mongolian language teacher in Hejing, has been contributing to this cultural group ever...

A Torghut Shaman

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Batbold was a local herder for many years before he became a visionary. Asserting that his ability to predict came down from the sky, he says that one day when he was herding goats on the mountains in Balgantai, white, blue and red lights appeared in front of him and he played with these lights the entire afternoon. Unfortunately, two days later he became disabled as he lost one of his arms and a leg....

Worship of water deities

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
During the summer months of July and August, the Torghuts in Xinjiang worship oboo (ritual cairn). The oboo ritual in Bayanbulag involves a sub-ritual of water deities if there is a natural spring nearby. As shown in the video, a ritual is held for a spring called Shagdagin Bulag which is located in Har Sala. The ritual is held on the 15th of the seventh lunar month every year. This year, around 200 people gathered,...

Winter Transportation

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Camels are still the most convenient means of transportation among Torghut herders in Bayangol. They are most useful during winter months in icy or snowy conditions and are preferred to vehicles. Herders in the past invariably chose camels and horses to transport supplies from town to their winter farms. The place that appears in the video is called the Gate of the Seventy Hills (Dalan Davani Am). This is where the local government winter supplementary...

Urtin Duu (Long Song) Singer Uranchimig

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Uranchimig, born in Hejing in 1945, used to teach in a high school and is now a singer of long songs (urtiin duuchin). When she was young, she learned to sing many songs from good singers at weddings and other social events. 23 songs which she recorded before her retirement are often broadcasted on the Xinjiang Mongolian Radio. As she explains, during the Cultural Revolution, singing urtiin duu was taboo, and producing a record was...

Tursun, a Torghut craftsman

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Tursun makes various craftwork in his spare time. As explained in the video, he makes plates (tebsh) with tree roots, cattle skin wine kettle, milk wine brewing tools and wooden miniature objects for younger generations to remember what they are used for.

Tumurbatu, a campaigner against alcohol

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Tömörbatu became a herder after completing his primary school education. A few years later, he studied computer science in Inner Mongolia for two years, and during this period he travelled all over Inner Mongolia with his friends, and collected many books. After returning to Hobogsair, he opened a bookstore called ‘Spirit of Jungaria’ but he soon changed his mind and started a studio called Tsetsen Döröö where he basically designed and printed cards and recorded...

The Western Banner Monastery

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
The Western Banner Monastery was rebuilt in 2008 and currently has 17 permanent resident lamas. The monastery, as Daranzan explains, was designed after an old monastery photo that is stored in the Khorol city museum of the Bayangol Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture. It looks very similar to the style of Buddhist monasteries in the Republic of Kalmykia. The monastery was built with large financial donations from some Chinese charities and with domestic animals and money donated...

Torghut herders’ summer life

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
This video is about a Torghut herder’s daily life. Once every two days, Münkhe sets out early in the morning to check his horses and cows and rounds them up close to home so that they don’t roam too far away. After breakfast, he leaves home to herd his sheep on the mountain and returns at the sunset. His wife Bayaa does house chores and looks after their son during the day. Dinner is the...

The History of the Torghut Return Exhibition in Hejing Museum

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
The exhibition about the history of the Torghut Return contains a set of pictures and maps, shown in the video, demonstrating the history of the Torghuts moving to Russia and their return to their homeland in Xinjiang. A picture painted by Lindai in 2009 portrays the Torghut Return history on a 17.71m by 2.38m canvas symbolising that the Torghuts had lived in Xinjiang for 238 years from 1771 to 2009. A couple of maps show...

A six-year-old child singing epic Jangar

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Düüren-Ölji is Dugurjav’s 6-year-old son and he is growing up with his grandparents learning Jangar epic from his grandmother who looks after him. In this video, he sings two praise songs from the Jangar: “Aldar noyon bogd noyon jangarin magtaal”, and “Nomin tegus haanas zalgasan aga shabdal haani magtaal”.

Siberian memory

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
The 28th of February is a special day of the Republic of Kalmykia commemorating the exile of the Kalmyks to Siberia by Stalin on the 28th of February 1943. This video shows the ritual conducted by the Kalmyk students studying at the Inner Mongolia University to mark the memorial event.They first got together in the kitchen of the dormitory to prepare milk tea and make butter lamp (zul) by melting a pot of butter in...

A healing spring in Bayanbulag

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Arshat (healing spring) in Bayanbulag is known to cure 12 types of disease including stomach problems and anorexia. It is owned by the local government but local Torghuts are charged with responsibility to protect it and conduct worshipping ceremonies for visitors in summer. In recent years, many visitors of various ethnic backgrounds from all over Xinjiang have been coming to drink the spring water on the spot. Mongolians who come to this place for healing...

Modern history of the Hobogsair Torghuts: Ayan Jav

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Ayan Jav, born in Hobogsair in 1927, was the former governor (1956-1963) of the Hobogsair Mongolian Autonomous County. His political career commenced in 1946 when he attended the Three Districts Revolution. He was also a member of the 80 partisans who fought against Osman Kazakhs in the Altai district. In 1951, 8 people from Tarbagatai were dispatched to Hobogsair where they established a cell of the Chinese Communist Party; Ayan Jav was the one of...

Making New Year Bread

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Torghut New Year bread, as shown in the video, is made into various shapes which carry different meanings. Together with their relative Tsagaan, Torgon and Nansalma are making new year bread for their married son to take to his own home, but he does not care much about the tradition. They think that traditional bread should not be absent from a new year celebration.

Making ‘white meat’ sausage

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
White meat sausage or tsagaan mah is made with sheep diaphragm, reticulum, and oesophagus stuffed into the intestine.

Life in Bayanbulag in the springtime

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
This video shows life in Bayanbulag in the springtime. Baatar with his son moved to their spring farm with a small yurt in order to look after the new-born lambs. Baatar tries to keep the new-born lambs together with their mothers so they do not get lost in the flock. Seeing that a sheep is reluctant to feed her baby, Baatar simply ties up its front feet. A local herder arrives asking Baatar whether he...

Leather products

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
Lantsai is a young herder showing the treasures that he has inherited, which include leather bags, clothes and a saddle. As he explains, Torghut herders use animal skins to make winter clothes and bags for cereal, meat, and even water. The silver horse saddle is a dowry made for his great-grandmother when she got married. Lantsai lent it to a traditional culture exhibition in Beijing, but when it was returned, its two stirrups were missing.

Khükhe’s Genealogical Book

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
The genealogical text as shown in this video was originally written by Puntsungin Sangaji. Oros Hatun, or the so-called Russian Queen, was the oldest ancestor recorded in the genealogy. Her descendants go 12 generations all the way down to Khükhe and his family members, who now total about 70 people.

Khükhe makes a diagnosis

Uradyn E. Bulag & Dorjraa
This video shows Khükhe conducting health check and prescribing medicines for his patients. Of the three patients in the video, who wanted to get Mongolian medicine, two are locals (one Torghut, another Uyghur) and the third is a Uyghur from the Ili district. Khükhe often prescribes a set of drugs which comprises milk, soft drink, and herbal medicine. Khükhe has taught his all of sons the basic knowledge about Mongolian medicine, hoping that they would...

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