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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 2


A.A. Badmaev
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of SB RAS (IAE SB RAS), 17 Akademician Lavrentiev Av., Novosibirsk, 630090
Keywords: Buryats, South-Eastern Cisbaikalia, ethnic-territorial group, traditional economy, food system


The article considers the Kudarin Buryat food system of South-Eastern Pribaikalia in the late XIX - early XX centuries. It defines the dependence of their food system on the economy structure: the diversified nature of the economy allowed Buryats to provide themselves with food. The author specifies the role of a natural-geographical factor in the food system and agriculture development of this Buryat group. The negative effects of the earthquake of 1862 and epidemic of 1870 caused a lengthy decline of Kudarin Buryat herding economy and modification of the diet structure. All this resulted in the domestic herd structure changed: before the earthquake it was of classical type shared by most of semi-settled pastoralists. However, by the 1890s it had transformed into a herd structure typical of a settled population. As a result the cattle as a source of livestock products began playing an increasingly greater role in the Kudarin Buryat diet, and other livestock types became less significant for food ensuring. Wild game meat was not included in the diet of the majority of the Kudarin Buryats. The share of agricultural products (crops, potatoes) in the diet was subject to annual adjustments, so bread was bought and bartered for fish. Their needs for vegetables were satisfied by gathering wild plants, however their yields were negligible. Fishing played a special role in Kudarin Buryats food system, providing the population with Arctic cisco, the main food fish of Baikal. It is noteworthy that the amount of consumed fish remained unchanged compared to the first half of the XIX century. Thus, the Kudarin Buryat food system of the second half of the XIX century belonged to a “livestock and grain” class: the share of livestock products prevailed over all other food groups. While preserving traditional ethnic features it also included certain borrowings from Russian cuisine and home ware.