543 Works

Sangadzhi Kononov, About a Ritual to Remove Fear

Anton Churyumov & Bair Kovaeva
When people, no matter what their age, are afraid of something, a ritual is performed to deal with their fear. It is performed as follows. After a mantra, the head of the patient is covered with a white cloth and a vessel with water is held over their head. Then melted lead is poured into the vessel. The ritual is performed three times. In Kalmyk understanding there are 5 elements in nature, including a fire,...

Alesya Kalmykova, A Master Class in Sewing Zeg Ornaments

Anton Churyumov
In the beginning Svetlana Batyreva, a Kalmyk scholar who studies art, gives a short talk and introduces Alesya Kalmykova. Svetlana says that Kalmyk dress is different from those of other peoples. The dress of Western Mongols does not have ornaments. Ornaments appeared on Kalmyk dress under the influence of Russian, Turkic and Caucasian cultures when the Kalmyks came and settled in Russia. After that Alesya, who teaches art in a kindergarten in Kaluga, shows how...

Sanan Matvenov, How to Organize a Home Altar

Anton Churyumov
Sanan is an administrator at the Central Temple in Elista. He gives the following advice to the pious. Traditionally, an altar should face south. The altar at the Central Temple also faces south. This tradition originated in Tibet, because the place where Buddha attained enlightenment is situated south of Tibet. Should there be a possibility to do so, altars should face the direction of India. An altar should be set up in a respectable place...

Alena Lidzhieva, Traditional Clothing

Baasanjav Terbish
Alena talks about Kalmyk clothings. Alena: In the past married women wore a tight waistcoat for beauty. It was worn underneath the dress, like another dress. Karu: What was the difference between the dresses of married and single women? A: Married women had two pigtails and wore a tsegdg (dress without sleeves). Single women wore a dress and had one pigtail. They also wore a hat. Of course, dresses of married and single women differed,...

Ubush Darzhinov, About a Ritual to Remove Fear

Anton Churyumov
Ubush’s cousin suffered from anxiety and continuously cried at night. The following ritual was performed for her. A piece of melted lead was poured into a cup with water. When it hardens, lead turns into shapes that indicate the source of fear and anxiety. In the case of his cousin, the lead turned into shapes resembling dogs and pigs. After the ritual, the girl was explained that she should not be afraid of these animals....

Tatyana Dordzhieva, How to Make Bulmg

Baasanjav Terbish
Tatyana gives a recipe for bulmg. Melt butter in a pan, add flour and milk. Mix continuously while the mass is boiling.

Galina Goryaeva, Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Galina talks about bortsg and traditions that people follow during Tsagan Sar. This is her story: In the past, people prepared for Tsagan Sar beforehand by tidying up their homes. 9 varieties of bortsg biscuits had to be made, including, tselvg (it is made in the shape of the sun so that the sun always shines on people), khuts (made in the shape of a ram. A legend says that once upon a time evil...

Zinaida Lidzhieva, About Tsagan Sar

Baasanjav Terbish & Elvira Churyumova
Zinaida says that Tsagan Sar is a good celebration. People make tea, offerings to gods, pray, and utter well wishes as follows: ‘Let the celebrations be happy/ Let all the bad go away and the good stay/ Let our Republic bloom and develop/ Let our towns grow/ Let our tables be full with food/ Let all your wishes be fulfilled!’ For Tsagan Sar people make biscuits (but without eggs). Tsagan Sar is a celebration to...

Arslan Shavgurov, A Dombra Concert

Elvira Churyumova
The concert shown in this video is performed by the Kalmyk National Symphonic Orchestra. The soloist is Arslan Shavgurov, an Honored artist of Kalmykia. The composer and director is Savr Kataev. The concert consists of three parts. Part One is dedicated to the heroic deeds of the Kalmyk people. Part Two shows the time of repressions and the deportation of the Kalmyk people. Part Three is a dance finale reminding the present generation about the...

The Poor Man of Nippur

Martin Worthington
"The Poor Man of Nippur" is a c. 3,000 year-old comic folk tale in Babylonian language. The main manuscript is a clay tablet from 701 BC found at the site of Sultantepe, in South-East Turkey. Recounted by a third-party narrator, it tells the story of the three-fold revenge which Gimil-Ninurta wreaks on the local Mayor after the latter wrongs him. The film version of this ancient text is a creation of Cambridge Assyriology, and (as...

Arltan Baskhaev, A Brief Military History of the Kalmyk

Bair Kovaeva & Anton Churyumov
The integration of the Oirat/Kalmyks with the Russian state commenced at the beginning of the 17th century. Prior to this, they lived in south Siberia and in the 1620s came to Lower Volga which was the land of the Nogais who were the vassals of the Crimean Khan. The Crimean Tatars and the Nogais often raided the southern borders of Russia. By pushing the Nogais out of their land, the Kalmyks put an end to...

Arltan Baskhaev, Military Legends

Bair Kovaeva & Anton Churyumov
According to a legend about Chimid Baatr, he saved Russian prisoners from Nekrasov’s Cossacks who were intending to sell them as slaves in Crimea. After rescuing the Russians, Chimid Baatr headed with them to the nearest Russian garrison. When their pursuers - Nekrasov’s Cossacks and the Crimean Tatars - came close, Chimid Baatr ordered that those of his warriors who were over 45 stayed with him to fight the pursuers and those who were younger...

Ksenia Konchieva, About Ubashi Khan and the 1771 Exodus

Elvira Churyumova & Tsagan Seleeva
After returning from Siberian exile in 1957, our elders decided to perform a ritual for the land of Ubashi Khan, the land where we live today. It was barren in the past, for people used to set it on fire by using a lot of ghee. So the elders decided to appease the sky and perform a ritual involving an animal sacrifice. It was performed in the steppe. I also participated in it. I was...

Sangadzhi Kononov, About the Fate of the Kalmyk Nation

Anton Churyumov & Bair Kovaeva
Sangadzhi says that the Kalmyks have a unique fate connected with wars and blood. For many centuries the Kalmyks fought with others and participated in Russian military campaigns. Since shamanism required the worship of furious gods, the Kalmyks adopted this religion in order to preserve their nation.

Ubush Darzhinov, About Mazan Baatr

Anton Churyumov
Mazan Baatr was the protector of the poor against the lords and Cossacks. He was a man of great power. He could cut a horse rider together with the horse into two with his sword. Mazan Baatr participated in wars against the Crimean Tatars, Turks and Cossacks. He died in mysterious circumstances and his corpse was never found.

Sanal Molotkov, The Military Origin of Arvn Groupings

Anton Churyumov
Sanal says that historically the Kalmyks were divided into otog, tribes and arvn groupings. Each tribe consisted of several arvns, which were originally military units. Each arvn in its turn consisted of several families that during a time of war were expected to provide 10 warriors. Hence the word arvn means ten. These families were not necessarily related by blood. Later Sanal talks about Mongolian warriors, cavalry, their military equipment and techniques.

Lyubov' Kekeeva, The History of the Zyungar Regiment of Yashkul'

Andzhur Okonov & Mergen Boskhomdzhiev
I heard this story from my auntie Anna Dordzhievna. In the past our ancestors asked the Russian empress Ekaterina to resettle them, which she did by sending them to the southwestern borders (today Dagestan) in the hope of influencing the outcome of the Russo-Ottoman war. On the territory of today’s Ul’duchin village an army was assembled consisting of Zyungars. Afterwards the regiment stayed there to keep on defending the borders. The central regiments of the...

Sanal Lidzhiev, About Mazan Baatr

Darina Gedeeva & Bamba Ubushieva
One day while grazing his horses, Mazan Baatr decided to stop at the yurt of a Tatar family. He was welcomed by the Tatars who gave him food and tea. When he was eating meat on the bone, a 3-year old boy crawled to Mazan Baatr, grabbed the bone and squeezed it with such force that fat dripped from the cracks. Mazan Baatr thought to himself: ‘What will happen to him when he grows up?...

Bembya Fedorov, Anecdotes

Altana Okonova & Anton Churyumov
Anecdote One. Three groups of people are in Hell, namely Russians, Caucasians, and Kalmyks. To boil the sinners, the devils prepare three large cooking pots. Buddha gives the devils advice, ‘You do not need to put a lid on the pot with the Kalmyks. You do not even need to start fire underneath. The Kalmyks will drown each other themselves’. Anecdote Two. Two men, a Kalmyk and a Russian, are walking in the steppe. As...

Ubush Darzhinov, About the Fate of the Kalmyks

Anton Churyumov
The Oirats helped the Gelug school of Buddhism, of which the Dalai Lama is the head, come to power in Tibet. The Kalmyks took upon themselves a lot of sin by killing monks from other Buddhist schools. Ubush’s grandmother used say to him that the Kalmyks were atoning their collective sin. In Kalmykia it is believed that whenever a new Dalai Lama ascends to his throne, his first prayer is dedicated to the salvation of...

Lidzhi Amikov, About Khar Kurya

Bair Kovaeva
In Maloderbetovskiy rayon there is a hill or mound called Khar Kurya which is a burial place of a Kalmyk nobleman who died in a war. The nobleman was buried along with military equipment. It is also believed that this mound is where the spiritual master of that place resides who looks after livestock and crops. Buddhist monks perform rituals of offering in order to appease all the local spirits. It is said that during...

Sanal Molotkov, The Development of Nation States

Anton Churyumov
Sanal says that the Mongolist Boris Vladimirtsov wrote extensively on the social structure of the Mongols and Turks. According to Vladimirtsov, the Mongolian nomadic society developed according to its inner laws. Although many nomadic peoples did not go through feudalism, both the Mongols and Turks went through this stage. Sanal says that people in Kalmykia often complain that they have lost their culture, forgotten their tribal affiliations, etc. But according to him, this is inevitable...

Anatoliy Safinov, Gakhaev and Amursanan

Tsagan Seleeva
Anatoliy says that he heard from others that Gakhaev was from Iki Derbet ulus originally. When he was young he was sent to study in Stavropol’. In the past, gifted boys were sent there for education. Gakhaev had a house in St Petersburg, which is now a theatre. As for Amursanan, he gathered Kalmyks from Kumsky and Tersky regions who had lost their land to Russians and resettled them in the territory of Derbet.

Konstantin Naktanov, The History of Kalmyks

Darina Gedeeva
Konstantin is a Torghut, of the Keryad clan. He was born in Lagan’, Kalmykia. He is a lawyer and a colonel in the police. He travelled to Mongolia and Xinjiang where he talked to people about Mongol-Oirat history. According to Konstantin, the Kalmyks are genetically related to the Mongols. In the beginning the Mongol tribes lived separately. It was Chingis Khan who united all the tribes and gave them a single identity – the Mongols....

Ais Sandzhiev, Tsagan-Nur Secondary School Museum

Andzhur Okonov & Tsagan Seleeva
Ais is the director of a museum in a secondary school in Tsagan-Nur village. Established in 1963, the museum added the Room of Military Pride in 1975, and in 1983 moved to current building. The museum consists of 10 sections or corners, as follows: 1) a corner dedicated to the kolkhoz of the 3rd Commintern, 2) a corner dedicated to the kolkhoz Priozernyi, 3) a corner dedicated to the hero of the Soviet Union, Nikolai...

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