Sacred components of hunting and fishing technologies of the indigenous peoples of the Amur-Sakhalin Region 

Bereznitsky S.V.


Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, 2 (53)


              page 110119




The article, by means of the comparative-historical method, critical analysis of scholarly concepts, and use of ethnographic materials, deals with the study of the complex of beliefs and rituals of indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East (Nanais, Negidals, Nivkhs, Orochs, Udeges, Uilta, Ulchs, and Evenks) as a sacred component of their traditional and modern hunting and fishing technologies. The term technology originates from the Ancient Greek philosophy by the development of the doctrine of techne as an art by which things are made. Technology is based on notion and supersedes the role of the chance in human life and activities, which expedites the process of adaptation to the nature. The ritual preceding production of a tool or a vehicle is performed to improve quality of the item to ensure its more productive use in hunting and fishing. In the culture of indigenous peoples of the Russian Far East, there are known examples of invocation of magic, cults, beliefs, and rituals to secure hunters luck in fabrication of hunter carriers, tools for hunting marine and terrestrial animals, and traps. Beliefs and rituals serve as the sacred components of the hunting and fishing technologies, which have the utmost importance for sustainable life of the indigenous population. The main conclusion is that, in spite of some differences in the economy, degree of settlement and mobility, and the level of influence of nonethnic cultures, undoubtedly, the results of hunting, fishing, off-shore seal catching, deer breeding, and foraging depend on personal experience, rational knowledge of the qualities of plants, weather signs, and migration times and habits of animals, and on the quality of the trade equipment, transport, clothes and footwear. However, these aspects are not sufficient and the hunters resort to the sacral components of the hunting and fishing technologies transport means are enlivened, by magic means they are imparted with the qualities of living beings people or animals. With the help of amulets, the hunters strengthen their trade qualities agility, perception-reaction time, and intuition. Prohibitions are observed, which are aimed at decreasing dependence on chance and increasing hunting productivity. The rational technologies, aimed at the survivance of the ethnos, are complemented by the sacred components, so that people cling to the help of supernatural powers.

Key words: indigenous peoples, Lower Amur and Sakhalin, hunting and fishing technologies, beliefs and rituals.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Accepted: 25.02.2020

Article is published: 28.05.2021


Bereznitsky S.V., Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstcamera) of the RAS, Universitetskaya nab., 3, St. Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation, E-mail:,