Albums
Collections of Sergei and Yelizaveta Shirokogorov on the culture of China’s Orochons
Collections of Sergei and Yelizaveta Shirokogorov on the culture of China’s Orochons
Title
Collections of Sergei and Yelizaveta Shirokogorov on the culture of China’s Orochons
Annotation
The items presented in the electronic catalogue were collected in the north of China by the spouses Sergei Mikhailovich and Yelizaveta Nikolaevna Shirokogorov. Until recently, only a small circle of specialists worked with them. The depository of the MAE RAS keeps seven unique collections on the ethnography of the Tungus, Orochons, Daurs, Birars, Manegri, Northern Manchus, and Chinese collected by the Shirokogorovs in expeditions in Trans-Baikal in 1912 and 1913 and in Manchuria, 1915–1917. One of the targets of the 1915-1917 Manchurian expedition was to compare the Trans-Baikal Orochons with other Tungus territorial groups and neighboring peoples. The Orochon collections were gathered among various Tungus groups and registered by S. M. Shirokogorov under three different numbers: No. 2646 for the Birar Orochons, No. 2649 for the Kumar Orochons, and No. 2650 for the Hingan Orochons. The collection inventories made by the collector contain just very general information on the items – place of collection, purpose, and ethnic name of the object. The Orochon culture collections themselves remained undescribed and scarcely studied. It is known that G. M. Vasilevich, an outstanding Tungus expert, worked with them and used photographs of some of the objects in her articles. A scientific description of the Shirokogorovs’ Evenki and Orochon collections was started by N. V. Yermolova, senior researcher of the MAE Department of Siberia, in the 1980s but was never completed. The personnel of the MAE Department of Siberia fully re-recorded the collections in 2017. The Shirokogorovs’ collections are the most complete collection of articles related to everyday life of the Evenki and Orochons of China and Trans-Baikal. The collections are unique; they contain some of the oldest Evenki and Orochon household items found in the territory of China. The collections include everyday clothing, footwear, tools, and models of wild animal traps. There are many articles of birchbark among them. The collections also present a large selection of needle cases decorated with unique ornaments. The collections contain many unique items related to shamanist beliefs. Of great value is a shaman’s attire (samasik) made of tanned buckskin, and a tail (irgivlan) to be attached to it on behind (MAE RAS Collection No. 2646-72, 73). The objects collected by the Shirokogorovs give a quite ample picture of the Evenki and Orochon culture in the early 20th century. The photograph of the spouses Shirokogorov was provided by Yelena Vasilievna Robinson, niece of Ye. N. Shirokogorova.