Bärnau/Tachov History Park in Bavaria - Germany
Early 19th Century
Yenisei Region, RussiaComplete Shaman costumes of this age are very seldom found. The assumption that the world is separated into various levels populated by spirits and mixed beings form the basis for the work of shamans as mediators between the various levels. Their most important task was the spiritual journey into the lower and upper worlds. While exercising their functions, shamans usually wore a special kind of dress. In the case shown here, it consists of boots, leggings, a coat, and a metal headdress covered with a feathered fringe cape. Every piece of clothing is trimmed with figures made of sheet iron, each of those symbolizing spirits. Belts with metal bells also belonged to the equipment, in order to create loud rhythmic sounds with every movement, particularly during dances. The most substantial tool of a shaman, at the same time his spiritual “mount” during otherworldly journeys in trance, is the drum beaten with a drumstick. The origin and the date when the collector Klemm bought the costume are not known. Therefore it is determined by early 19th century as the latest possible date of manufacture. Experts specified the costume as Evenk from Stony Tunguska River. It is the highlight of the Siberian Collection and therefore shown in every permanent exhibition of the museum.