Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The shamans of Siberia, Russia's Tuvans In pictures

Yury Oorzhak, left, a shaman representing the so-called Adyg Eeren (Bear Spirit) society, conducts a session to clarify and predict the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl, the administrative centre of Tuva region, Southern Siberia, Russia. The region is inhabited by Tuvans, historically cattle-herding nomads, who nowadays practise two main confessions - Buddhism and Shamanism.

Yury Oorzhak, a shaman representing the "Adyg Eeren" (Bear Spirit) society, predicts the destiny of a customer at his residence in the town of Kyzyl in the Tuva Republic, southern Siberia. The region is inhabited by Tuvans, historically cattle-herding nomads, who nowadays practice two main confessions: shamanism and Buddhism. The region, which has also preserved its national cuisine, folk crafts, national arts (throat singing Khoomei) and national sports attracts visitors from near and far.

People visit an ethno-cultural complex in the Aldyn Bulak area during sunset on the bank of the Yenisei River outside the village of Ust-Elegest in Tuva region

Russia president Vladimir Putin has made several visits to the region, and was inspired to go bare-chested on horseback for a photo opportunity. Despite the region's fame though, Kyzyl is barely accessible. There are no direct flights from Moscow and no connection with the Trans Siberian railroad. The nearest major city is a 400-kilometer journey.

Above: People visit a cultural centre in the Aldyn Bulak area on the bank of the Yenisei River outside the village of Ust-Elegest, Tuva Republic.

Shamans, representing the Adyg Eeren (Bear Spirit) society, participate in the 'Kamlanie' night ritual upon the request of customers in the town of Kyzyl

Practicing shamans in Tuva are organised into a number of competitive societies. They are registered as practising religious organisations and pay taxes tp the state. 

Above: Shamans, representing the Adyg Eeren (Bear Spirit) society, participate in the 'Kamlanie' night ritual upon the request of customers in the town of Kyzyl.

Vyacheslav Arapchor, a shaman representing the so-called Dungur society, conducts a session to clarify and predict the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl

Vyacheslav Arapchor, a Dungur society shaman,in the process of predicting the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl.

Kyzyl is in the centre of the wide steppe of the Tuva Republic, which is studded by taiga fauna of the Sayan Mountains to the north and deserts inhabited by camels to the south.

Anisya Mongush, a female shaman representing the Dungur society, conducts a session to clarify and improve the relations of a local boy at her residence in the town of Kyzyl

Anisya Mongush, a Dungur society shaman, during a 'clarifying' session with a local boy at her residence in the town of Kyzyl.

The capital was originally named Belotsarsk (White Tsar's). It was then renamed Kyzyl, meaning 'red' in Tuvinian, in the 1920s.After two decades of autonomy within the USSR Tuva became part of the Soviet Russian Federation in 1944.

A sculpture of Arat, a Tuvan cattle breeder, is seen in the steppe outside the town of Kyzyl, administrative centre of Tuva region

A sculpture of Arat, a Tuvan cattle breeder, is seen in the steppe outside the town of Kyzyl, administrative centre of Tuva Republic

Yury Oorzhak, a shaman representing the so-called Adyg Eeren (Bear Spirit) society, conducts a session to clarify and predict the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl

Yury Oorzhak, a Adyg Eeren shaman, predicts the destiny of a customer and local resident at his residence in Kyzyl

Shaman Saida Mongush uses the paw of a bear as she conducts a medical session to cure 9-year-old Norzhunmaa who suffers from spinal curvature at her house in the town of Kyzyl

Shaman Saida Mongush uses the paw of a bear as she conducts a medical session to cure 9-year-old Norzhunmaa who suffers from spinal curvature at her house in the town of Kyzyl

Singing master (or Khoomei) Aikhan Orzhak, left, and model Choigana Kertek, dressed in traditional costumes, perform at sunset on the bank of the Yenisei River outside the village of Ust-Elegest in the Tuva region

Throat singing master (or Khoomei) Aikhan Orzhak, left, and model Choigana Kertek, dressed in traditional costumes, perform at sunset on the bank of the Yenisei River outside the village of Ust-Elegest in the Tuva region

Sendin Ondar, 77, wife of herder and farmer Stai-ool Ondar, milking a cow at her family farm near Cheder Lake, Southern Siberia

Sendin Ondar, 77, wife of herder and farmer Stai-ool Ondar, milks a cow at her family farm near Cheder Lake, Southern Siberia

Vyacheslav Arapchor, left, a Dungur society shaman, in the process of predicting the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl

Vyacheslav Arapchor, left, a Dungur society shaman, in the process of predicting the destiny of a customer, a local resident, at his residence in the town of Kyzyl

Herder and farmer Stai-ool Ondar, right, shakes hands with his nephew Mengi Mongush near their family farm near Cheder Lake outside the village of Kur-Cher, Southern Siberia

Herder and farmer Stai-ool Ondar, right, shakes hands with his nephew Mengi Mongush near their family farm near Cheder Lake outside the village of Kur-Cher, Southern Siberia

The head of a mountain ram is attached to a wooden column at the site used by shamans for rituals in the Aldyn Bulak area on the bank of the river Yenisei

The head of a mountain ram is attached to a wooden column at the site used by shamans for rituals in the Aldyn Bulak area on the bank of the river Yenisei

A shaman representing the Adyg Eeren society participates in the 'Kamlanie' night ritual in Kyzyl

A shaman representing the Adyg Eeren society participates in the 'Kamlanie' night ritual in Kyzyl