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  • The Southern People - The Buryats

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P & C December 1998
- Face Music / Albi

- last update 03-2016

Text in English

The Buryats
There have been present peoples in Siberia for the last 200,000 years. In the Altai Mountains, settlements have been present since the pre-Ice Age. Settlement of Siberia supposedly started there. At the fringe of the glacial areas, in the Old Stone Age, there were living mammoths, bison and rhinos. In the course of archaeological excavations, there were found mammoth bones, which had presumably been used for the construction of houses. Upon the extinction of these big mammals, the way of hunting practised by these peoples started to change: fishing gained a more important role, with bow and arrow being produced along with earthenware.

The Bronze Age again saw new immigration waves of tribes, culminating in territorial fights and wars. The settlements became larger, and for the sake of defence, these were arranged in a circular way. These original settlers were clearly influenced by those immigrating and also assimilated, also in the Baikal region. They were designated as Neo-Siberians (having in general Mongolian features), facing a Paleo-Siberian population. The Dolgans were one of the "youngest" people of the north that had immigrated, and they were further one of the most numerous ones among the indigenous population settling on the Taimyr Peninsula.

  • Dolgans - The Dolgan language belongs to the northern group of the Turk languages and is closely related to the Yakut language. The Dolgans are still living in the Autonomous Okrug Taymyr at the Northern Polar Sea. The Dolgans were traditionally mainly reindeer breeders, hunters and fishermen.

The taiga belt was occupied in an immigration wave made up by Evenks (Tungusic people) and Evens (Lamuts), and the Paleo-Siberian peoples fled northwards, being ousted as far as the Polar Circle and the Polar Sea. Ancestors of the Paleo-Siberian tribes, an indigenous population once settling there, wandered as far as Northern America. Today's "native Americans" share ancestors with these emigrants, as modern analyses have shown. .

  • Tungusic people - a comprehensive designation of all members of the Manchu-Tungusic peoples (Evenks, Evens and Yukagirs).

  • The Yukagirs are a small people that settled in the north-east of Siberia. The settlements of the Yukagirs are to be found along the rivers Alaseie, Kolyma and Indigirka, which run along the vast and spacious East-Siberian Basin and the Yukagir Plateau. As Tungusic speaking groups, they wandered (were ousted) to the north and east of Siberia in the 13th century, where they then lived together with several ethnic groups and ancestors with whom they shared language and culture. At this point of time, metal processing was not common, so that this must be seen as a culture of hunters and gatherers of the Old Stone Age. Upon Russian colonization, which already started in the 17th century, the immigrants were met by a rather common and wide-spread Yakut and Evenic language and culture. In the 19th and 20th centuries, there only remained a smaller group, which may be identified as Yukagirs.
- See more information: Archaeological finds of steppe cultures of the Eurasian and Central Asian Area
Turkic peoples crossed the Altai Mountains into the Baikal region, resulting in assimilation and mixtures with peoples already settling there. It was a rather typical characteristic of these Turk peoples that the horse was considered very important as a permanent companion throughout life and even after death. In the time to come, there arose fights and wars between the Siberian population and the newly immigrating tribes, which then resulted in a new mass migration among the tribes; these migrations led to many people fleeing their home-countries.

People, whose language and culture had their origins in the basin of Lake Baikal, in the Angara Valley and the Tunken Valley as well as in the eastern Sayan Mountains, were originally Manchu-Tungusic speaking peoples. The epics of the Tungusic and Yakut people tell of fights, which took place initially in Vitim (Lensky District) and in Patoma. Tungusic peoples had to move back from the rivers into higher mountainous areas, as the immigrating Yakuts, whose invasion took place in two wave-like movements, occupied the fertile basins. It is assumed that the original home of the Yakuts was situated at the Upper Yenisei; their migration, however, had taken place before the invasion of the Mongols, as only Northern-Buryat folklore texts included tales about Genghis Khan. The first immigration of the Buryats into the region they are settling nowadays actually took place in the year 1190 A.D. It is assumed that there is a relation between the wars among the different hordes immediately in the advance of the seizure of power by Genghis Khan.

- More information on the Evenks and Evens see: "The northern peoples"
- More information on the Yakuts see: Yakuts – see: map sketch
- See more information: „Indigenous people of Siberia

Russian researchers consider the Quryqan (Rouran – Ruan – Juan Juan) who were originally settling in the west and the south of the Baikal to be the ancestors of the Yakuts; this people was called "Ku-li-kann" in Chinese chronicles and was a Turkic people that lived in the north of the East-Turkic Realm from the 6th to the 9th century and the name of which is also included in the Orchon Runes dating back to the 8th century. In their opinion, the expansion of power of the Kitan (1) at the beginning of the 9th century forced the majority of the Rouran (2) up to the north. This sudden emigration wave may be documented by burial objects. A minority of the Rouran stayed on, was subjected to the first Mongolization by the Kitan and was then absorbed by the Buryats following the invasion thereof. This theory seems to be probable as the Buryats invaded the territory they now settle on in small hordes. If they had encountered a homogenous mass of Yakuts settling there, they would have been defeated as being less numerous than the settlers. This slow conquest or invasion was only possible because the land was only sparsely inhabited. The Kitan people who were invading in the 9th century, however, constituted a warrior power, doubtless enabled to expulse the Yakuts. Certain similarities of the cultures of the Buryats and the Kitan people may be explained by these two peoples in part having the same ancestry line.
  • (1) Kitan or Khitan: a Proto-Mongolian people from Manchuria that existed as early as the 6th century.

  • (2) Quryqan (Rouran – Ruan – Juan Juan)
    Discoveries made around Lake Baikal may probably be associated with the ancestors of the Yakuts, the Rouran, who were settling at the same time as the Xiongnu in the area of the Altai Mountains. The invasion of the Xiongnu may be dated to the Iron Age. Nothing is known about where this people had settled before. These conclusions are logical, as the Buryats did not produce earthenware, whereas the Rouran left behind proof of their pottery, which is very similar to the style practised by the Yakuts. This cultural element is a link between the Yakuts and other Turk peoples from the Altai area in the 6th to 8th century, who also had a rather simple pottery style, in great contrast to their refined and sophisticated metal works. The Rouran politically belonged to a group of Turkic peoples in the Altai with the common name "Tu-lu" or "Tölis", as they were called in the Orchon scripts. For the very first time, they were mentioned in Chinese chronicles on the occasion of their wars with the Turkic people (t'u-chüeh), another Turkic community in this area, which took place in the year 552 or 553 A.D. The Rouran and other peoples in the Altai are very similarly structured regarding their culture and their rituals; in many ways, they are rather similar to today's Yakuts, who once emigrated from the region of the Upper Yenisei. They wore furs and woollen clothes. According to their totemistic concepts, the horse was considered an important element. They prepared kumys from mare's milk. Such as today's Altai peoples, they placed the heads of sacrificed sheep and horses onto poles and worshipped heaven and earth. Their society was based on a class system. They were further masters in forging, horse and cattle breeding, and they lived on farming.
- More information on Khakassia and the Khakas people
- See more information: The Altai people – A Turkic-speaking, ethnically mixed people

- See more information: Population in the Altai – A Turkic-speaking, ethnically mixed people from the 6th century on - Excerpt from "Acta Slavica” by Andrei Zname – under construction

- More information on the Hsiung-nu - Xiongnu

Due to relatively late immigration, they are supposed to have mixed with the peoples already settling there in the Lena area at this time. This is proven by the fact that one third of the population may be associated with the Samoyed, Yukagir and Ket peoples. There may be distinguished two rather different types: mongoloids having a broad face and a flat nose, and more Turanid-like people having a long face and a nose that is narrower and more projecting. This rather precise distinction may not be generally assigned to the Europid-like Dingling peoples, after these had assumed mainly mongoloid elements. The Turanid or Turanoid peoples are predominantly members of the upper classes and assume a position as leaders (chiefs). The Mongolids were in general nomadic herdsmen (and their subjugates). Up to the invasion of the Turk people, the Tungusic peoples had belonged to the ruling class.
  • Samoyed people, i.e. the Nenets – They live in the north-west of Siberia in the Autonomous Okrug Taymyr at the Polar Sea, next to the Dolgans.
  • Ket people (Keto) – their self-designation is ket ("man") or deng ("people"; historical designation: Yenisei Ostyaks) - they speak a Paleo-Siberian language.
  • Dingling: They originally lived at the upper part of the river Lena, in the west of Lake Baikal. In the 3rd century BC they started to expand towards the west. They represented a part of the empire of the Xiongnu.
  • Hsiung-nu – Xiongnu - 3rd century B.C. to 4th century A.D.
  • Huno-Sarmation Period (Tashtyk): 1st century B.C. to 2nd century A.D.

The Xiongnu were nomads who founded the first confederation in the north of China. Chinese chronicles are sources of information about this people. The first politically organized community among them was the Hun state, which is considered the original tribe of the Mongols. A nomadic tribe called Khu (Chu) was established in the 5th century B.C. They wandered with their herds and had their leaders. The Huns settled in the Ordos Plateau (1), where a favourable climate was prevailing, and by the 4th century B.C. they had amassed significant affluence. Their first Khan was Tumen from the Khian tribe (Chian). They became victims of the Chinese rulers of the Qin Dynasty, who subjugated their territory towards the north using an aggressive political style. Tumen Khan attempted to stop their invasion by unifying the tribes, but he failed in his attempts. He appointed the son of his youngest wife as heir to the throne. But his elder brother killed Tumen and the two younger half-brothers and made himself Khan in 209 B.C. Modu Khan then conquered the Ordos territory, pushing their rulers, the Qin Dynasty, back. The Chinese then started to erect the first wall at about 216 B.C. Upon the victory over the so far dominating Yuezhi (2) he spread his power and rule over the steppes of Central and eastern Asia and the regions of today's southern Siberia, Mongolia, southern Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang. The relations between earlier Chinese dynasties were rather complex, intertwined with military conflicts and intrigues, connected by tributary, trading and marriage contracts. In the course of the conquests, the western part of Turkestan was conquered, and they then controlled the trading routes connecting the East with the West. The Hun territory comprised the Ordos territory, Lake Baikal and the Mountain Range of Kyanggan beyond the Altai Mountains. Some tribes under the rule of the Huns rebelled against their dominance. These attempts had always been promoted and supported by the Han Dynasty in China, resulting finally in a separation. The south allied with the Chinese, whereas the north kept its independence. They were conquered by the Xianbei and finally collapsed - see map 1,2,3. Their identity, an ethnical core made of different hypotheses, especially personal names, is contained in Chinese chronicles. They supposedly also practised Tengerism. The name "Xiongnu" is probably related with the Hun, with proof thereof, however, remaining disputed.
  • (1) The Ordos Plateau is limited in the west, in the north and in the east by the large curve of the Yellow River. In the north of the Yellow River, the mountain ranges Kara-naryn-ula, Sheitenula and In Shan foothills of the Hinggan - the Gobi plateau. In the south and in the east, the Great Wall limits the plateau from the fertile Shannxislöess region. The Ordos Plateau is a steppe-like and desert-like landscape in the Autonomous Okrug Inner Mongolia, which earlier was called also He-tau and later on He-nan ("land south of the river") - see map.

  • (2) Yuezhi – Kushana (sometimes also called Tocharistan) was a realm in Central Asia and northern India, which had its largest expansion between 100 and 250 A.D. from today's territory of the national state Tajikistan as far as the Caspian Sea and the territory of today's Afghanistan downwards into the Indus valley and the Ganges-Yamuna territory. The realm was founded by the Indo-Scythians or the Yuezhi, respectively, from today's Xinjiang.
- More information on these Altai tribes please see: "The southern people" and „Hsiung-nu - Xiongnu

The Buryats belong to the Mongolian people, and in their mythology, they were designated as Burte Chino (Blue Wolf-Man). Burte Chino, an ancestor, was married to Goa Maral (Beautiful Red Deer), and their descendants belong to the tribe of Genghis Khan. Burte or bured means "wolf" in the old dialect, and this is how the name of the Buryats is supposed to have been formed. Up to the present day, this Wolf-tribe is considered an individual line among the Buryat-Mongols. They also bore an old name, Barguzin Tukum, and their current area of settlement comprises the Baikal and the surrounding region up to the Amur in the west.

Upon the collapse of the Hun confederation of the Hsiung-nu, the influence of the Mongols was mainly determined by the Turkic tribes, the Rouran, whereas their settlement area in the valleys of the rivers Selenge, Kherlen and Onon (see maps) and in the western Baikal region remained untouched. Mongolian tribes are also called "gurvan goliin Mongolchuud" (Mongols of the Three Rivers). Buryats also used to settle in Mongolia in Dornod, Khentiy, Selenge, Töv, Bulgan and Hövsgöl Aimag (see map Mongolia). Minorities settled in Inner Mongolia in the Hulun region to the bordering Dornod Aimag, and they are called "Shinheeni Buryats". These are actually a group called Dagur, which fled following the Russian invasion.

Upon the collapse of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty in China, the great realm under Kubilai Khan, the empire separated into numerous smaller khanates. Whereas in China this marked an individual historical development, some Mongolian empire structures remained in a strongly reduced form until the 17th century A.D. During this time, the region was known as Buryatia and thus constituted a part of these realms.
Civil wars under the Noyon princes of the Mongols led to the collapse and fall of the remaining empire. The invasion of the Oirat princes under Galdan Boshigt (Galdan Khan), under an
Oriat-Dzungar confederation, led to the supremacy of the Calcha being disrupted. The Oirats are very similar to the Buryat dialect and their culture. They settled in western Mongolia, whereas the Chalcha ruled the central part of today's Mongolia and the Gobi region. A long war between the Oirats and Chalcha split the Mongolian unity at a time when a new threat from the east was on the rise.
In eastern Mongolia, the
Manchu (earlier they were called Jurchen people) gained power, and in alliance with China, they established the Qing Dynasty. The conquest of central and western Mongolia, which were weakened by civil wars, could not stop this invasion. Some Oirats fled westwards into the Altai area that was held by Russia and into the Volga region, where they are nowadays called Kalmyk people. The princes of northern Mongolia, however, asked Russia for protection. The Buryats had not been conquered by feudal Mongolian leaders, which is why they were able to keep some of their autonomy.

The Russian supremacy saved the Buryats from a conquest by the Manchu people, but their relations with the Russian Empire remained problematic. In far-away Siberia, far away from the imperial centres of power, the executive power of the Russian authorities had been taken over by the Cossacks, who - in some cases - behaved like robbers. They attacked settlements and terrorized the population. The Dagurs (Daur) left their villages at the river Onon and re-settled to the Manchu territory, where they are still living at the present. Land was disowned and handed over to Russian settlers for farming. Many settlers were exiled people from western Russia, some were criminals, and others were religious or political dissidents, who then all contributed in introducing new cultures and a new education system. Large areas in the west of the Baikal were in this way confiscated, and the Mongolian population was forced to re-settle. The Buryats did not accept this situation without any resistance - two rebellions in 1695 and in 1696 were the logical consequences. Another form of resistance developed with shamanism and the worship of Gazriin ezen, in which way the "protector spirit of the land and the mountains" was asked for help to support the resistance against expropriation.

  • Yuan Dynasty - Upon the collapse of the Tang Dynasty (906 A.D.), China remained separated into several individual states for nearly four centuries. Foreign dynasties ruled the north, and the power of the Chinese Song Emperors was restricted to the south of the realm. Already in the 12th century, from 1127 on, the nomadic riders of the Mongols gained power in the steppe and desert areas in the north of China. The climax of the Mongolian power was, however, reached only in the 13th century under Genghis Khan, as well as his sons and grand-children. Simultaneously, Kublai Khan is considered the founder of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
  • The Qing Dynasty was the second dynasty in China, after the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty, which had not been founded by Han-Chinese. It was based on the rise of the Jurchen people, which ruled northern China as Jin Dynasty (1125– 1234) and as Later Jin Dynasty. In 1635 the Jurchen people changed their name into Manchu. From 1636 on, the dynasty itself was known under the name "Qing".
  • Manchu – 17th to 20th centuries A.D. - their ancestors were the Jurchen people - 12th century A.D.
  • Dzungars – Olots – 17th to 18th centuries A.D.
  • Oirats (Oirots - 12th to 18th centuries A.D.) - later on Kalmyks, Urianchai

The Oirats (also called Dzungars, whose name has its origin in the territory of Dzungaria in today's China) were a western Mongolian tribe at the time of Genghis Khan, which controlled vast parts of Central Asia as a tribal confederation from the 15th to the 18th centuries. This confederation finally collapsed, and in great part the power was taken over by the Qing Dynasty, in a small part by the Russian people. Sub-groups of the Oirats were the Dzungars, the Dürbet people, the Torguts and the Khoshuud. The people who moved westwards are nowadays called Kalmyks. Sometimes Oirats is substituted for "Oirots".

The Buryats have always been a part of the Mongolian world - in language and in traditional culture. They are also related with their southern neighbours, the Mongols. Such as other Mongols, they also converted to Buddhism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They, however, remained true to their traditional religion with the shamanistic practices, in particular in the west. They further conserved their Khori dialect, which later on became their scripture. It was the idea to create and establish a Buryat identity, which cut its roots with the Mongolian origin.

- Further information on Shamanism: Religion of the indigenous people of Siberia

- Further information on Shamanism: Schmanisums (Tengerismus) in Mongolia

- Further infomation on History of the Equestrian Nomads
In the 17th century the Buryats finally became subjects of the Russian Tsar. There were attempts to force them to Russian-Orthodox Christianity, but these attempts were too weak in order to enforce Russification and thereby suppress the feeling of a national Mongolian identity. The Buryats were able to maintain their independence, even under the hegemony of the later Communist leadership. In the centuries of Russian protectorate, there was never introduced a feudal system. The majority of the local authorities remained in the hands of the Zaisans (former Mongolian leaders under Genghis Khan); even a Buryat army in the region at the Selenge was not dissolved. Mongolian scripture, however, was prohibited, and religious buildings and ritual sites were destroyed, as well as Buddhist and Shaman artefacts, in the course of which a traditional culture form was lost; and it was strictly forbidden to tell about heroes like Geser or Genghis Khan.

The Buryats were not always part of Russia. In the years 1625-1627 the Russian Tsar organized an expedition to explore the Bratskaya land. The first expedition on boat did not recognize the wild waters of the river Angara. There were reports on the infinite wealth of farmers settling there, on numerous horses, cows and camels and the rich harvests of barley and buckwheat. With the Russian immigrants, however, there came along armed conflicts. The Russians built the first fortress, Bratsk. In the year 1658 they founded the city of Nertschinsk at the mouth of the river Nertscha (tributary of the Shilka in Transbaikalia), and trade started to bloom. After the immigration of Russian farmers, hunters, fishermen and craftsmen, the conflicts between the Buryats and those immigrating were on the rise. There also came Old Believers fleeing persecution. Buryats who were not satisfied under this Tsarist supremacy fled to Mongolia. Those coming back, told: "The Mongolian Khan has offenders beheaded, the Russian Tsar simply has them whipped."

- More information on the followers of the Old Believer
The roots of this relation with and understanding of nature owned by the Buryats living at the Baikal clearly lie in Shamanism. Man and nature were always a unity for the Buryats. Nature is not simply a roof and a house for the people and provides them with the basis of affluence and wealth but it is rather the basis of his ethical and moralist beliefs. All Buryats considered the Baikal as a living and holy being that was in touch with the cosmos, and every harm done to the Baikal is like harming the entire cosmos. Nobody would have dared to hunt on holy shamanist places - this is the reason why many types of animals and plants are still existent. The rather careful handling of forest and soil has also been rather prominent. Legislation by Genghis Khan made "the digging of soil and other harms to nature" subject to death penalty. Even the form of shoes is a symbol of the worship of nature: the tips of the boots point upwards in order to prevent harm to the soil. In 1946 the Ivolginski Monastery near Ulan-Ude war re-opened, and since 1991 there has been visible a revival of Buddhism in Buryatia. Buddhism as a classic ecological religion clearly determines their behaviour towards nature. The strong worship of nature leads to a sustainable utilization thereof. Especially Lake Baikal has assumed an important role. Many animals and plants of the Baikal are elements of Tibetan medicine. With the beginning of the early 20th century, the world of the Buryats changed dramatically, with more and more Buryat people living in cities and having assumed the Russian way of living. Surharban (competitive games) nowadays are again performed in early spring, having established themselves as folkloristic festivals.
- More information please see "The Russian Colonization of Siberia (Region Altaiski Kray)
- Further information on the tribes see: „History of the Equestrian Nomads

Myths and legends
Uliger, fairy tales, are an important part of oral tradition among Siberian and Mongolian peoples, offering insight into their way of living and their ideas and concepts. These stories tell of the Creation, why the world is as it is and how it is, and these stories are of great importance for Shamanistic tradition. These stories were usually only told in winter sitting around the fire-place. If they were told in summer, this could lead to the winter coming back. The legends about Geser could be told at any season on the occasion of Shamanist rituals, as they result in power, happiness and healing power.
  • The Legend of Tabak, a prince of marriageable age, who was not interested in looking for a wife.
  • Angara, daughter of Baikal; Baikal, the owner-spirit of the Big Lake (ezen) had 337 daughters, of whom all Angara was the most beautiful one. She had many admirers, but did not like any of these. One day, the young Yenisei was guest in her ger and she fell in love with him.
  • The tale on alcohol: There once was a Buddhist lama wandering the steppe, who brings blessing to the nomadic families. It was shortly before sunset, when he came to a lonely ger and some cattle. A young woman appeared to greet him and she said that he could stay the night only under one condition. He had to choose to do one of three things: he could drink alcohol, he could make love to her, or he could sacrifice a goat. The lama decided that drinking alcohol would be the most harmless one.
  • The origin of the evergreen trees: All trees lose their leaves in autumn. Since Erleg Khan brought sickness and illness to the world, people become ill and die when they are old. But the raven felt sympathy for the people and wished to restore the original immortality of the people.
Here are listed some more epics and fairy tales:
- The Seven Suns
- The Geser Epic
- Nishan Shaman – Epic Journey
- The Iron Warrior
- Ashir Bogdo, Son of Geser
- The Adventures of Tolei Mergen
- Sagaadai Mergen

Traditional clothes
The clothes of the Buryats corresponds to Mongolian tradition, as they are part of the Mongolian people. Their clothes consist of a long robe, known as deel, which is worn over the trousers. The word for this robe in Buryat is digil, and this piece of clothing is perfectly adjusted to the climate and it is very suitable for riding. This is the reason why this clothing is worn by both sexes. Women in winter wear clothes decorated with lamb fur and made from animal skin. Also the hats are lined with lamb fur. Typical for the summer clothing is that women wear a jacket over their digil, whereas men wear a behen (sash) around their hip. The digil of the male population has a tri-fold border with blue, black and red across the torso. This border is a symbol of the traditional Buryat clothing, especially of men's clothing, and it further has a shamanistic meaning. The stripes represent the Three-Worlds-Cosmology; blue for the heaven (Upper World), black for the Earth and red for the Lower World. With costumes, the colours of the band may vary, but they nevertheless are a typical symbol of the Buryats. Long jackets are more typical for the western Buryats and the Kalmyks, Oirat-Mongols and some Mongolian groups of Inner Mongolia. The conical hat is an old head decoration of the Mongols and Buryats. The conical form establishes a relation with Tenger, the Father of the Sky. Women traditionally wear sophisticated gold jewellery and chains as decoration, and such are also attached to their malgai (hat). The women's hats having a cylindrical appearance always carry a tip with corals, and they are decorated with amber. Their traditional shoes are called gutal, which are leather boots with thick soles, which are also lined with felt or animals hides. They are very warm and protect the feet also under unfavourable weather conditions.

The Ger - traditional housing
Ger simply means "house", the Russian call it yurta (yurt). The ger is not simply a traditional housing of the Buryats but rather of all Mongolian and Siberian peoples. These tents are easy to assemble and disassemble, and their components may be carried on the backs of camels or yaks. The ropes, which are called bus (strap, belt), are usually made of braided horse hair taken from the mane or tail. The wooden frame consists of these foldable hana (worm fence), oriented towards poles (un) in rays from a central ring (tono). The ring is open on the top for the discharge of smoke. The entire construction is covered with large pieces of felt, and finally there is placed a decorative cloth cover.
Next to the ger, there is situated a serge, which is used for tying the horses.

Gers made of wood are to be found in all areas, in regions, where the people have become settlers. Families stay for the summer and the winter near these fertile grassing lands.
Such gers are in the majority octagonal, but they can also be round; but recently, these have become more and more extinct in favour of Russian block huts.

The door opening of the ger is always oriented towards the south. The eastern side is the place for the women, and the western side is the place for the men and guests. This orientation is also true for the seating area and for the arrangement of the household goods, which seems to be a reflection of the Mongolian cosmology determined by Shamanism. In the centre of the ger there is the gulamta (fire-place), with the tulga, the ring having three legs, which represent the frame for holding pots or grates. At the wall there is placed a goat leather bag for the airag (mare's milk), which is also called kümis; therein there is kept an alcoholic drink made of mare's milk. It is the women's task to prepare milk-tee. Opposite to the door, there is situated the hoimor (a kind of altar cupboard), on which holy objects are kept. This family shrine is always arranged on the northern side or slightly to the north-west. The northern side is the most honoured place within a ger.

- More information on the Yurt
- More information on ornaments: Ornaments of the Turkic-Mongolian tribe

Ursa: Siberian Tepees (Form of a tipi tent)
In Siberia and in some parts of Mongolia, the ursa, also called chum, as it is known in other languages, is an alternative to the ger (home/house). The nomads near the Polar Sea used this tent form, spanned and covered by Karibu skins, such as the herdsmen in the Sayan Mountains (Tsaatan reindeer breeders). It is designed as to being easily transportable. Especially the Samoyeds, the Evenks, the Chuckchi and some other peoples use such housing forms; and also the peoples living in the Arctic area at places high up in the north on the Jamal Peninsula (see map).
- More information: Institute of Mongolian, Buddhist and Tibetan Studies (IMBTS) and the Khangalov Museum for History in Ulan Ude.
- Further information: Archaeological findings of the steppe cultures - from the Eurasian and Central-Asian area:

Lifestyles, artwork and ornaments
Bronze Age – until 1200 BC
Iron Age – 1200 until 1000 BC
Kurgans and cultic sites of the steppe cultures (burials and mounds)

© Albi – April 2014 – ranslated by Hermelinde Steiner - December 2014