Features of the Ob-Ugrian cenotaphs according to the ethnographic data of the late 19th early 21st century

Bogordayeva A.A.  (Tyumen, Russian Federation)


                page 149156


In this study, the author set out to determine the features of Ob-Ugrian cenotaphs of the 19th early 21st century. Using comparative historical and typological methods, the author analysed the ethnographic literature of this period, as well as field materials obtained during the expeditions of 20052010 (Beryozovsky District, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area Yugra; Shuryshkarsky District, Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area). Expeditionary methods of work included survey, photofixation and observation. As a result of field research conducted near one of the settlements of the Northern Khanty on the Synya River, an ura a location of cenotaphs and houses for the dolls representing people who died tragically was studied. An analysis of available materials revealed that, in the period under study, the Northern and Eastern Khanty, as well as Northern Mansi established a tradition of building cenotaphs in the following cases: 1) a person died as a result of a tragic accident (drowning, hypothermia, suicide, etc.); 2) a person died of natural causes (old age, illness, etc.) far from his homeland and was buried in a foreign land. The need to build a cenotaph in the above-mentioned cases was dictated by traditional ideas about human souls and their reincarnations. In general, cenotaphs are no different in appearance from ordinary burials. They also had traditional gravestones, next to which personal belongings of the deceased, inclu-ding vehicles, clothing, etc. were left. The grave and coffin, where people put all the necessary grave goods (clothing, ware, personal belongings), were made in the traditional way as well. The main feature of a cenotaph consists in the body being replaced by the clothes of the deceased (Northern Khanty and Mansi) or a clothed doll (Salym Khanty). In addition, it should be taken into account that formerly the cenotaphs were built away from the cemetery, on its outskirts or even near the place of death (drowning).

Key words: burial rite, cenotaph, the doll depicting the deceased, doll depicting the dead, Khanty, Mansi, burial facility, the grave, necropolis, grave house, shrine, sarcophagus, little house on the stump.


DOI: 10.20874/2071-0437-2019-46-3-149-156


Fundiing. The article has been written within the State Project No. -17-117050400150-2.


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Submitted: 20.05.2019

Accepted: 10.06.2019

Article is published: 26.09.2019


Bogordayeva A.A.

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