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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Ivory plaque carved in pierced work with tent, human figures and trees. Depiction of Yakut summer camp festival, Ysyakh. One figure holds a choron, a vessel for kumis, fermented mare's milk.

  • Ethnic name

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 6 centimetres
    • Width: 17.4 centimetres
    • Depth: 0.5 centimetres
    • Weight: 25 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    Register addition "Eastern Siberia".Scene depicted is a Yakut summer camp festival (see As.5068.a for comparison; 3-D scene of the Yakut summer camp, carved from mammoth ivory)
    From comments made by Tanya Argounova-Low on 30 / 05 / 2008:

    'The festival is called Ysyakh, which is a summer celebration at the beginning of the new economic year, it was a way of celebrating the new year. Because people lived from season to season. Now they celebrate it on the 21st of June but the date may have been earlier in May in the past. The celebration lasted several days, there were feasts and sporting competitions. The large vessels were used for a fermented drink made of mares milk. The tree like pieces are representations of birch trees which are decorations of the festival space.'
    Piers Vitebsky, 'The Shaman: Voyages of the Soul. Trance, Ecstasy and Healing from Siberia to the Amazon' Great Britain 1995 (0-333-63846-6): 25:

    "Among the Yakut of northeastern Siberia, the 'black' and 'white' oyun (male shaman) and udaghan (female shaman) were a wide range of traditional spiritual and medical specialists. Others include the otohut (healer), iicheen (wise person), Tuulleekh kihi (dream interpreter) and korbuochhu (foreteller of the future). The midsummer iissyakh festival, celebrated by the white shaman, was counterbalanced by an autumn iissyakh just before the onset of winter, the season of death and starvation. The autumn festival was performed by black shamans, who made blood sacrifices to the evil spirits called abaahy. By contrast, with their cult of the celestial gods and their lack of a trance state, the white shamans closely resemble priests".


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department


  • Registration number


Register 1963: Ivroy plaque carved in pierced work with tent, human figures and trees.

Register 1963: Ivroy plaque carved in pierced work with tent, human figures and trees.

Image description



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Object reference number: EAS35466

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