December 29, 2015

2165 RUSSIA (Tyva Republic) - A shaman woman from Tuva

The Tuvans are historically known as one of the Uriankhai, from the Mongolian designation. The Tuvans' recent ethnic history is rooted in Mongol, Turkic, and Samoyedic groups of peoples. They have been cattle-herding nomads, tending to their herds of goats, sheep, camels, reindeer, cattle and yaks for the past thousands of years. In spite the fact that Tuva was ruled by different empires and influenced by their cultures, the tuvans managed to preserve its unique peculiarities, traditions and customs till present days.

Nowadays we cannot imagine Tuva without hoomei throat singing, national wrestling huresh, carving from the stone agalmatolite and, last but not least, the Tengriism, the Turkic animistic shamanism still widely practiced alongside Tibetan Buddhism. In Tengriism, the meaning of life is seen as living in harmony with the surrounding world. Tengriist believers view their existence as sustained by the eternal blue Sky, Tengri, the fertile Mother-Earth, spirit Eje, and a ruler who is regarded as the holy spirit of the Sky.

Heaven, Earth, the spirits of nature and the ancestors provide every need and protect all humans. By living an upright and respectful life, a human being will keep his world in balance and maximize his personal power Wind Horse. The shamans (male or female), are regarded as intermediaries between the natural world and the spirit world, and the ritual clothes they wear when entering into a state of trance or mediatation are highly decorated with objects believed to enhance their power.

The coat is made of animal skins, with fringes along the sleeves and down the back. Many metal pendants and braids woven from pieces of fabric, birds wings, and feathers hung from it. The use of metal is significant as this material is believed among some peoples to be inhabited by the spirits who aided the shaman. The shamanic ceremony is colorful, with shamans reciting long verses, dancing, and singing to the accompaniment of their drums.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp, issued on July 28, 2014, depicts Hugo Chávez (1954-2013), the President of Venezuela from 1999 until 2013. 

Tuvans - Wikipedia
Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World, by Jill Condra
Tuva, Land of Eagles - The Foundation's 1993 Expedition to Tuva, by Bill Brunton

Sender: Eugene Volodin (direct swap)
Sent from Ussuriysk (Primorsky Krai / Russia), on 15.10.2014
Photo: Andrey Viktorovich

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