Features of images representing the deceased of the Northern Khanty and Mansi in the second half of the 20th early 21st century 

Bogordayeva A.A. (yumen, Russian Federation)


             page 117131


Long-standing traditions of the Northern Khanty and Mansi, which have been preserved to the present day, include making anthropomorphic dolls upon peoples death. A doll appears to be a vehicle for one of the spirits of the deceased person. It was made and dressed during the funeral ceremony. To date, the clothes of the dolls of the dead have not attracted research attention. Defining specifics of such clothing is important for studying the genesis of the images of the deceased, as well as those of guardian spirits. The article analyses the materials collected in the course of field research, as well as information from ethnographic literature of the period in question. A typological analysis of clothing from the images of the deceased allowed the authors to identify its dynamics and to determine its standard and variable features. The data were obtained in the course of fieldwork carried out in 20052010 in the territory of the Berezovsky district of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area (Lyapin river basin) and the Shuryshkarsky district of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area (basins of Malaya Ob and Synya riveres). Overall, 8 images of the deceased were studied in detail. The analysis has revealed that the clothing of dolls is represented by two complexes, i.e. male and female. These complexes are fairly uniform within the territory where they were used. The male complex consists of miniature topwear compliant with the types of men's traditional clothing. Male topwear of Northern Khanty and Mansi includes a malitsa (hooded coat) supplemented with a navershnitsa (tuniclike overcoat worn over a malitsa), a shirt and a belt. Female dolls of the deceased of the Northern Khanty and Mansi are dressed in a fur coat (as a rule made of deer fur), shirts and dress shirts. The style of outer clothing (malitsas and fur coats) is traditional and differs insignificantly from ordinary clothes. At the same time, the style of undergarments male and female shirts is mostly uniform and rather archaic. In ge-neral, the investigated clothing complexes are compliant, in terms of type of clothes worn and their style, with the ethnographic literature of the period under consideration. However, it should be noted that some types of clothing and jewellery, which were previously part of their wear, have ceased to be used. These are cloth robes, fur and cloth soviks (shirtlike hooded fur coat). In addition, modern clothes tend to appear in the images of the deceased. For female images, these are dresses. In case of male images, these are machine-made shirts, which are part of fabric offerings. Thus, it can be asserted that there has been a change in the clothing of dolls representing the deceased.

Key words: funeral rites, cult of ancestors, doll, itterma (image representing the deceased), traditional clothes, Northern Khanty, Northern Mansi, malitsa, sovik, false braids.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2019-45-2-117-131


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Submitted: 18.03.2019

Accepted: 01.04.2019

Article is published: 28.06.2019


A.A. Bogordayeva

Tyumen Scientific Centre of Siberian Branch RAS, Malygina st., 86, Tyumen, 625026, Russian Federation