Opening Asia for Russia

05.07.2019 181 просмотров

The mountain range of the Eastern Sayan Mountains separates Tuva from Tofalaria in the south, where one of the smallest peoples of Russia lives - the Tofalars, or Karagasy (the former name).


Once the Tofalars were considered one of the largest original peoples, but it so happened that even before the conquest of Siberia by the Russians, they turned into a "splinter people". Today there are only a few hundred Tofalars in Russia - according to various sources, about 700-800.

In the 1930s, three villages were built for representatives of this nationality - Nerkha, Alygdzher and Upper Gutara. Therefore, many of its representatives began to lead a sedentary lifestyle, although the shepherds remained "taiga brothers" - they, as before, roamed along with deer herds. The hunters did not sit still - they left their homes for a long time when the fishing season began. With the Russian people, the relations of the Tofalars became closer over time - even mixed families gradually began to form.

Tofalars
Photo: supersnimki.ru
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The traditional dwelling of the tofa is a chum on poles. In summer it was covered with boiled birch bark, and in winter with deer or elk skins. The dwelling structures were connected mainly with the help of animal tendons. However, with the transition to a settled way of life, the Tofalars began to build log cabins of the same type as the Russians.

The main food of this small people is boiled meat of wild animals. But before, raw meat was also eaten - both fresh and frozen. Stroganina was made from the latter. However, it was strictly forbidden to eat raw bear meat. Also, river fish was often present in the diet of tof. The main drink is milk. It was obtained by milking deer. Then the milk was boiled and drunk diluted with water. Tofalar children grew up on reindeer milk, which was eaten fresh in warm weather and frozen in winter. To do this, women gradually filled the prepared peritoneum of a large animal with reindeer milk all autumn, and when the cold came, its contents were frozen. In winter, bags of milk were cut into pieces with an ax and given to children, because of which, they say, the cheeks of Tofalar children were always red. It is also said that they never had frequent colds such as sore throats.

Tofalars
Photo: norr.wordpress.com



 Tofalars did not drink raw water - they always boiled it. They did not bake bread either - instead of it, cakes were made from rye flour. Also, the so-called mash of flour, which was salted to taste, was often eaten.

Until now, Tofalars still retain the features of tribal life in their way of life, and they themselves believe that all blood births - Nyons - come from a single ancestor. In the clan, families were united among themselves, deer, fishing tools and utensils were in their common property.

Tofalars
Photo: lunalife.ru



Taiga hunting has always been considered the basis of the traditional economy. It was carried out mainly on squirrel, sable, fox, beaver, otter, elk, deer. The Tofalars were also engaged in reindeer herding, blacksmithing and woodworking. They made birch bark handicrafts, smoking pipes, fur boots, skis, saddles, all kinds of bags, purses, caskets for sale.  Many crafts were finished with Kastara stone. By the way, this stone is unique in its kind, since scientists still cannot explain its origin. But Tofalars know something - this is a sacred stone, therefore they treat it as a talisman, for them it is an amulet that will save in difficult years.

In the summer, the tofalars went hunting to beat the squirrel, and in the winter the main trade smoothly "migrated" to the cedar forests - nuts were collected there, and a large animal was also caught there.

The Tofalars also had their own custom of saying goodbye to  who died during the migration period. When someone died, a log cabin was made of three logs. The deceased was laid on him, leaving him a deer, a saddle, dishes, food. It was believed that a person who left this world on his riding deer would go to a new world - the world of dead ancestors.

Tofalars
Photo: nazaccent.ru
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The birth of a child during a migration was a common occurrence, so women were not even supposed to rest - almost immediately after giving birth they were charged immediately start your normal duties. And if there were any difficulties with health, then shamans helped to solve them - they were both obstetricians and psychotherapists. They boiled herbs for various ailments - they were treated with them.

An interesting fact: the nomadic life made these people communicate with each other through the drawings on the trees. First, a wide notch was made on the tree, and then drawings were applied to it with charcoal - dwellings, various animals, shamans, etc. These peculiar paintings on the trees depicted a lot of what happened on the way of the nomad: from hunting and ending with a friendly tea party with another hunter met on the way. After some time, resin floated on the drawings - it reliably kept them from bad weather.

Tofalars
Photo: fs.photounion.ru



The Tofalars cut their clothes the same way for men and women. Deer skins served as the main material. Shoes were also made from them. In the summer, men put on a cloth caftan with sleeves narrowed to the wrists, and women, after the Tofalars met the Russians, began to wear chintz and silk dresses. In general, the clothes of this people were, although primitive, but quite comfortable. The horsehair from the mane served as thread for sewing. Great importance in clothing was attached to the belt. Usually it was sewn from silk or satin. The belt could be any color, but not white. Leather belts were worn for hunting.

Women decorated themselves with beads, rings, rings, silver and copper bracelets, but the Tofalars did not know how to process gold - they bought gold jewelry from the Buryats for furs.

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