September 11, 2015

1888 RUSSIA (Republic of Buryatia) - A little Buryat dancer

With a population of about 500,000, the Buryats, the major northern subgroup of the Mongols, are the largest indigenous group in Siberia, mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic, but also in Mongolia, and in China. They share many customs with other Mongols, including nomadic herding, and erecting gers for shelter. After the Russian Revolution the Buryat’s open-pasture pastoralism was replaced by collective-farm cattle breeding.

In their traditional social organization they were separated into noble and common strata; they also kept a few slaves. They traced descent through the paternal line (yasa, yakha), living in patrilineal families (ail) grouped into kin villages, clans (obokh), and clan confederations (ulus). Religious practice in Buryatia represents its own synthesis of Buddhism (the Gelygpa school), shamanism, and Orthodoxy, as well as cults of nature (earth; sky; fire; "spirits" of mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.), a syncretism that to some degree is preserved today.

Buriat clothing was adapted to nomadic life and to the severe Central Asian climate, being made for horseback riding, and for sitting on the floor of the ger. Clothing was sewn of leather, fur, and wool. Usually women wore trousers, shirts, and a coat much like the men's coat, but with a low collar. The sleeves, cuffs, and collar were made from a colored fabric. Over the coat, married women wore a sleeveless jacket (uuzha). For western Buriats it was just a jacket, whereas the eastern Buriats sewed a gathered skirt to their jackets at the waist.

The pointed conical hat is the ancient headdress of Mongols, as is attested to by drawings of Mongols from Chinggis Khan’s time. Buryats say that the conical shape represents the connection of the individual with Tenger, Father Heaven. Woman traditionally wore finely crafted silver ornaments and chains as pendants from their malgai, hat. The women’s hats that appear cylindrical still have the pointed top but the peak is obscured by the tall brims decorated with coral and amber.

About the stamps
The first stamp is part of the series XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi - Tourism on the Black Sea Coast of Russia, about which I wrote here. The last depicts Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, issued in 2006.

Buryat - Encyclopaedia Britannica
Buryats - encyclopedia. com
Buryat Traditional Clothing - Circle of Tangerism
Buryats - Wikipedia

Sent from Moscow (Moscow / Russia), on 04.03.2014
Photo: Natalia Leonteva 

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