Tracing Routes of Hunters, Fishermen, and Reindeer breeders

This exhibition, representing the culture of Siberian peoples, is based on authentic and unique materials from the first half of the 20th century, kept in the Russian Museum of Ethnography. It fully reflects cultural specifics of Northern Siberian peoples.

            Siberia, occupying vast areas in the north of the Eurasian continent, is extremely diverse in its climatic and natural conditions. Inseparable from the very existence of these Siberian peoples, nature in a large degree determined their way of life and occupations. About thirty peoples live in this extensive region. They include nomad reindeer breeders of the tundra, such as Nenets, Nganasans, Chukches, Koryaks; taiga hunters - Khants, Mansi, Evenks, and Evens; fishermen of the Amur region such as Nanaians, Ulchi, Udege, and the most northern horse-breeders - Yakuts. The exhibition is arranged in such a way that it enables to introduce the visitor to the main economic activities of these peoples and the most interesting aspects of their material and spiritual culture. It includes the following sections: “Economy and Subsistence Strategies”, “Dwellings, Clothing, and Utensils”, “Rituals of Passage”, “Traditional Beliefs”.

             The first section consists of several subsections, representing specific ways of life subsistence of Siberian peoples such as reindeer breeding of the Nenets and Ngansans, hunting sea animals of the Eskimo, hunting in the taiga among Evenks, and horse-breeding of the Yakuts, the most northern Turkic people. Every subsection displays the main implements and clothing such as reindeer fur costumes, harnesses, and lassos of the Nenets and Nganasans, Eskimo’s overalls made of sea-mammal intestines, Evenk hunting equipment and clothing, and Yakut festive horse harness.

            The next section introduces the visitor to various aspects of traditional daily life of Siberian peoples. Here one can see a typical interior of a dwelling and various birch bark utensils of the Khants, articles made of nettle fiber of the Ob Ugric peoples - a mat and a female dress decorated with elaborate glass beads embroidery, which covers almost the entire surface of the dress in front. The most valuable item on display is the armor of a Chukcha warrior dated from the 19th century.

            The section “Ritual of Passage” shows a broad spectrum of articles, relating to the main life stages of every representative of indigenous Siberian peoples such as births, weddings, and funerals. Among the articles on display are a Mansi cradle and children’s toys, a wedding costume, figurines of family protectors, carved Nanaian utensils, and a  Koryak funeral garment, which has no equal match in other museums of the world. 

The last part of the exhibition “Traditional Beliefs” is dedicated to various aspects of spiritual culture of the Siberian peoples, especially to such an outstanding phenomena, as shamanism. Here one can see the costume and drum of an Evenk shaman, a sevoki - mask of an Orochon shaman, and the figurines of spirits-helpers.

Space required - about 180 square meters.

Number of objects - about 200.