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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 2

THE ROLE OF RELIGIOUS OBJECTS IN SOCIOCULTURAL COMMUNICATIONS OF KHAKASSIA: EVIDENCE FROM LIGUISTIC DATA, CULTURE AND PSYCHOLOGY (THE LATE XIX - MID XX CENTURIES)

V.A. Burnakov
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Acad. Lavrentiev ve., 17, Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Keywords: Khakass people, tradition, fetishes, tös, shaitan, rituals, ancestors

Abstract

The paper aims at studying a phenomenon of fetishism - so-called tös in Khakass. In order to achieve the stated goal the author traced the etymological origins of the term tös; defined the role played by fetishes in these peoples world-view and ritual practices, clarified to what extent these religious subjects were perceived by the Russian population; identified the results of Russian and Khakass cross-cultural interaction in the religious and mythological spheres. Chronological framework encompasses the late XIX - middle XX centuries. The choice of these time limits is determined, first of all, by the state of historical sources relevant to the subject being explored. Archival historical, linguistic and ethnographic materials have been used as the main sources. The work is based on an integrated systemic-historical approach to studying the past. The research technique is underlain by the following historical and ethnographic methods: scientific description, specific-historical method and method of relics. The linguistic method of etymology was used to study the word origins. Fetishism has a special place in the Khakass culture. The sacred religious subjects were called tös. This term possesses a wide semantic field in these peoples world-view and language. Among its meanings one can find such concepts as basis, essence, root, beginning, and others. The semantic content of this word is closely connected with a cult of ancestors. The term tös has an ancient Turkic origin and can be found in many languages. Töses were used as family and patrimonial guardians in the traditional ceremonial practices of Khakass people. In Russian culture these products, sacral for aboriginals, were designated by the word shaitans and associated with evil spirits. During the Russian and Khakass ethnic-cultural interaction the term shaitan entered the Khakass vocabulary. Thus, the way aboriginal people used this term was very selective and peculiar.