Reindeer riding in details

Reindeer riding in details

July 06, 2020

The ethnographic collection of the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore is not only the most complete but also the most studied.

The objects that characterize the traditional occupations of the Taimyr indigenous peoples is a separate group in the collection. While the museum is quarantined, its specialists continue presenting their collections on the museum’s website and social networks. One of the latest publications is dedicated to the Evenk and Dolgan reindeer harness items.

Domestic reindeer husbandry of the Dolgans combined the traditions of the Tungus, as the Evenks used to be called before the 1917 revolution, reindeer husbandry with the techniques of the Samoyed group. Thus, the Dolgans, the main and youngest indigenous people in Taimyr, used reindeer under saddle and pack in summer and widely used sledges in winter.

The collection of the Taimyr Local Lore museum has samples of saddles and staves, both male and female. The saddles, as part of the equipment for riding and transporting goods on the back of the animal, are placed on the shoulder of the deer and are tightened on top with a saddle-girth.

The male saddle frame consists of two long boards, each of them was lined with leather pieces forming two seat cushions. The pillows were stuffed with deer wool.

Women’s saddles, which were used as cargo ones, differed from men’s saddles. The famous ethnographer Andrei Popov describes these differences: “The female and cargo saddles differed from the male ones by two high, semicircular wooden bows. The bows were decorated with intricate inlaid tin on wood, a geometric pattern and birds’ images”.

The design of saddles for deer did not include footstalls, so the riders had staffs. They also differed by gender. The male staff was straight, wooden, with a thickening at the upper end. Women’s one was made of iron and decorated with copper inlay, notches, copper rings.

Almost all the objects in the extensive collection of the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore characterize the traditional economy and life of all the five indigenous ethnic groups of Taimyr.

Read in the Artefacts: about the exposition dedicated to the Dikson’s defense during the Great Patriotic War, the antique brass sundial, the sacred Oktoih and other unique items from the local museums.

Text: Valentina Vachaeva, Photo: Maxim Shapovalov, Slava Shoot and Taimyr Museum of Local Lore

July 06, 2020

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