531 Works

Vladimir Gilyandikov, Sakyusn Sume

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
The video features a round-table discussion with Vladimir Gilyandikov, architect of two main Buddhist temples in Kalmykia, including the Sakyusn Sume and the Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni. Other discussants include Lari Ilishkin, lama Sanal Mukobenov and Arslang Sandzhiev. The discussion starts with a short video presentation. Arslang Sandzhiev: A book has been published recently which is dedicated to the opening of the Sakyusn Sume in 1996. It includes the names of all contributors. Vladimir...

Mergen Kavaldanov, The Bas-Relief of the Heroes from Jangar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Mergen talks about the bas-reliefs that he made which depict heroes from the epos Jangar.The idea to erect the bas-reliefs of the heroes from the epos Jangar belongs to Basan Zakharov. This project was sponsored by the company ‘Betoninvest’. For three years I on my own sculpted the bas-reliefs of the Jangar heroes and cast large concrete slabs weighing 4 tons. I worked in all seasons, however cold or difficult it was. Sometimes the clay...

Galina Suikieva, About Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Galina talks about the symbolism of some biscuit varieties that people make at Tsagan Sar. She says the following: During Tsagan Sar one should pray to Okn Tengri who is the goddess-protector of all women. Men also should make offerings to gods. On the eve of the celebration, people make bortsg biscuits, including the following varieties: tselvg symbolizes the sun so that it always shines, khorkha symbolizes growing livestock and fertility, zhola resembles a horse...

Sanal Lidzhiev, About Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Sanal says that Tsagan Sar lasts for a month. It is important to visit one’s relatives with a bag of bortsg biscuits.

Purvya Volod'kina, Tsagan Sar and Zul

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Purvya says that on the eve of Tsagan Sar people make bortsg biscuits and make offerings to gods. A sheep should be killed before the celebrations. On the morning of Tsagan Sar people make tea. It also the time when ground squirrels emerge from their holes. For Zul people prepare candles from feather grass.

Zurgada Antonova, About Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Zurgada says that in the past, during Tsagan Sar people set alight 2 fires and sprinkled salt, flour and incense into them. Afterwards they would go between the 2 fires with their livestock in order to purify their household. During Tsagan Sar ground squirrels wake from hibernation. In the past, the Kalmyks consumed the meat and fat of this rodent.

Nogan Belveeva, Khal'msh

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Khal’msh is made from flour. First, melt butter in the pot. Add flour and mix well until it becomes thick. When a thin layer of butter appears on top, this means the dish is ready. Cut into pieces and eat with tea. People made this dish during Zul when they did not eat meat.

Roza Khokhlova, Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Roza reminisces about how she celebrated Tsagan Sar in her childhood and talks about how she does it today. She says that in her childhood she and her siblings all lived with their mother and auntie. Her family prepared for the holiday in advance by tidying up their home. During Tsagan Sar they asked each other, ‘How did you pass the winter?’, made offerings to gods, prayed and received presents. Today, before Tsagan Sar, Roza...

Tatyana Boskhomdzhieva, Bulmg

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
In this video Tatyana makes bulmg. Tatyana says she learnt the recipe from her mother-in-law. She puts butter in a hot pan and adds flour bit by bit while mixing. When the flour turns yellow, this means bulmg is ready. To make it softer, Tatyana adds milk. It is a nutritious and delicious dish. When a bride returns to her natal home after wedding, she is treated to bulmg by her parents.

Zurgan Lidzhieva, Bulmg

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Recipe: Melt butter in a pan. Add milk, flour and salt. Mix continuously.

Zurgan Lidzhieva, Dairy Products

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Zurgan says that in the past people fermented milk and used it to make vodka. Butter was made from a mix of cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s, horse’s and camel’s milk. People also ate khurskh, a kind of dried cheese. People chewed khurskh and could then go without food for a long time.

Sanal Lidzhiev, Sayings

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Sanal recounts 6 Kalmyk sayings. (1) ‘A word can be overcome with another word/ A cow can be slaughtered with an axe’. This saying teaches people about the importance of choosing words correctly. (2) ‘(If you need to talk, then) talk to wise people/ (If you need to hunt, then) hunt the saigak antelopes with a good shooter’. (3) ‘A person has an older brother (whom he/she should obey)/ (In the same way) any coat...

Alexei Naranov, About a Temple, the Bagud Clan and Lagan'

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
In this interview Alexei talks about a temple that was in his native place, about the origin of the Bagud clan whose members used that temple and about digging wells in Lagan’. Darina: Did you have a temple in your native place? Alexei: Yes, we had a temple in a place called Khure, in Yandyko-Mochazhnyi ulus of Laganskiy rayon. There is a tower that stands on that spot today. Many people from the Bagud clan...

Viktoria Mukobenova, About Kuukn Noyon of Tsatkhl

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Viktoria talks about a hat that belonged to Kuukn Noyon. This is her story: Kuukn Noyon lived in Tsatkhl. After her death, her hat was turned into an object of worship. Boris Bazyrov keeps the hat on his domestic altar. When I was a child, my maternal grandmother used to take me to the house where the hat was kept. At the beginning of each spring my grandmother always filled a bottle with liquid butter,...

Alena Lidzhieva, Dombra Melodies

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Alena plays Kalmyk melodies on the dombra instrument, including Siberian melodies and those of the songs ‘Okonov Naran’ and ‘Kotush’.

Bulgun Mankirova, Sanal Badmaev, A Kalmyk Language Club in Moscow

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
The Club of the Kalmyk Language (Khal’mg kelnya klub) was founded in Moscow in 2013. In the first year the number of attendees, including children and grown-ups, was around 40. Free of charge, the classes were first held at a local Kalmyk restaurant, and later came to be organized at the Office of the Representative of Kalmykia in Moscow. Many students who start a course drop out towards the end of the year. Sanal is...

Valentina Bovaeva, About the Kalmyk Language

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Valentina says that the Kalmyk language does not have dialect variations. Although there is no clan-related difference in how people speak, some families may have certain words or expressions that are unique to them. Valentina bemoans the fact that many Kalmyks do not speak their native tongue.

Sanal Sandzheev, How to Be a Proper Kalmyk

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
In this short interview, lama Sanal talks about values and traditional rules that Kalmyks should follow in his opinion.Question: How should modern Kalmyks behave in order to carry with dignity the name of Buddhism and that of their nation? Sanal: People should learn and speak their native tongue. I too did not speak Kalmyk until recently. Of course, those who speak fluently would know that my Kalmyk is not perfect. But people should try to...

Petr Nadbitov, About Kalmyk Language and Culture

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
In this video Petr, a famous Kalmyk choreographer, talks about Kalmyk language, culture and dances. He says that the Kalmyks should keep their language alive. He adds that today many Kalmyks speak, think and write in Russian. 80 per cent of the Kalmyk youth does not know their native language. According to Petr, Kalmyk dances are connected with the Kalmyk language. For example, during a dance people sing shavash (a Kalmyk praise to the dancer)....

Evgeniy Sangadzhiev, About Clan and Individual Rituals

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Evgeniy says that rituals to prolong one’s life or to worship a fire (gal tyalgn) are useful. He himself performed such rituals near water as well as in the steppe. Usually such rituals are done on a lama’s advice and require preparation, time and effort. Such rituals involve reading prayers to one’s protecting deities and establishing a connection with one’s ancestors. Since people remain alone with their inner thoughts, such rituals resemble a Buddhist meditative...

Tatyana Lidzhieva, About Gal Tyalgn and Clan Rituals

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Tatyana talks about her understanding of clan rituals. According to her, Buddhism explains the working of the world. Buddhism also teaches us about the existence of several realms. By performing clan rituals people make offerings to the spiritual protectors of their land, their clan and families. Tatyana herself did not participate in any clan ritual. She says that such rituals should not involve alcohol or meat offerings. There is a belief that if one feeds...

Sanan Matvenov, About Rituals Involving Animal Sacrifice

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Lama Sanan says that it is during gal tyalgn rituals that people make animal sacrifice, which is sin in itself (kilnts). According to him, this is a remnant of shamanism. Sanan says that there is a sutra about one non-Buddhist teacher whose disciples offered him animal sacrifice, therefore making his position in hell even worse. Sanan also points out that traditions change, and if innovations bring improvements, they can be adopted.

Sanan Matvenov, About Gal Tyalgn

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Lama Sanan briefly explains the structure of a gal tyalgn ritual. He says that in Kalmykia gal tyalgn is a popular ritual and it is performed on various occasions, including weddings, in order to bring happiness, heal sick people, or after funerals. This ritual involves offerings to all Buddhas, protectors, local spirits and Bodhisattvas. The prayers that are read during this ritual consist of three parts: (1) the cleansing of the offerings to gods (serzhm...

Aisa Bryugidikova, About Gal Tyalgn and Clan Rituals

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Aisa says that people in her family and clan perform the ritual of gal tyalgn on her grandfather’s land. It is performed once or twice a year. Last time it was done in spring. The day of the ritual is usually determined by a lama. The offerings include mutton, dairy products, sweets and biscuits. Some lamas are against including meat in offerings. The purpose of this ritual is to show respect to ancestors, to secure...

Agvan Eshey, About Gal Tyalgn

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Lama Agvan Eshey say that rituals of worshipping fire (gal tyalgn) and making offerings to the spirits of water (usn tyaklgn) are popular in Kalmykia. People perform these rituals, which are conducted by a lama, on their clan’s land. In the past, Kalmyks were shamans (or worshippers of the sky). Despite the spread of Buddhism among them, Kalmyks continued to adhere to their old traditions. These two rituals are performed differently among different clans. Although...

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