Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1800 Mongol jaarin
Subjectjaarin shaman
Culture: Mongol
Setting: animist ritual, Mongolia 18th - early 20thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Atwood 2004 p495
"From the 18th century much more information exists on shamanism.  Accounts of Buddhist missionary activity in the 16th and 17th centuries supply little new information about shamanism, save that the title of beki was replaced by that of jaarin and that leading shamans still rode white horses and had some form of organization.  From the 18th century, however, both ethnographic accounts and the use of texts emanating from shamanist circles allow shamanism to be described in more detail.
    "Shaman functions, even among the non-Buddhist peoples, are much more limited than during empire times.  Astrology is no longer a shamanistic practice, and shamans play no role in casting horoscopes for babies, or arranging marriages and funerals.  Calendrical ceremonies, such as the first fruits of mares' milk and the oboo ceremony in high summer, are also off limits to shamans.  Instead, shamans now specialize in healing and have a very ambivalent relation to the larger clan structure."

* Bonnefoy tr. Doniger 1993 p330 (Jean-Paul Roux, "Turkish and Mongolian shamanism" p329-330)
"Accounts of shamanic sessions become more numerous and detailed from the seventeenth century onward. They show, as would later ethnographers, that these sessions constitute a real journey which the shaman recounts step by step as he is undertaking it.  He goes to search for the soul that has fled or been stolen by evil spirits, or else he drives out the spirits which have entered the body of the patient; he conducts the soul of the dead to heaven; he interrogates the Sky or the gods in order to know the future.  On his path, he encounters noxious powers in the form of animals who attempt to hinder his passage, but he is helped by benevolent powers, also in the forms of animals.  He is himself, with his stag or bird costume, a veritable animal.  He is integrated into the world of animals and has become one of them, often by virtue of a preliminary initiation that sometimes involves ritual nudity."

* Lessem p14
"Shamanism is still practiced in Mongolia, particularly by the reindeer-herders of northern Mongolia.  Shamans dress in elaborate robes, wave musical instruments and enter into trances that, in the past, lasted for days."


* Bonnefoy tr. Doniger 1993 p330 (Jean-Paul Roux, "Turkish and Mongolian shamanism" p329-330)
"The dress and instruments of shamans are known to us through precise descriptions and from fragments conserved in museums.  The most rudimentary of these have at least deer antlers, feathers, and wings; sometimes they have organs from other animals, such as bones, bear paws, and furs.  Their essential utensils are horse-headed canes, mirrors, and especially drums decorated with designs representing the cosmos, with the two zones of the universe, the axis which joins them, and the different beings that inhabit them."

* Atwood 2004 p496
"The shaman costume and equipment are a crucial part of his or her work.  Generally based in the past on a leather caftan, the shaman's cloak is a melange of extraordinarily complex elements intended both for symbolic purposes and to create an impressive magical effect.  All costumes contain a mirror to reflect any evil and to allow the shaman to view the unseen.  Many have snake figures hanging from the armpits or back.  The hat is usually crowned by antlers tied with khadags, or ceremonial scarves.  Among the Buriats the face is covered by a fringe, and a skull cap is decorated with eyes.  The shaman's large handheld drum is made of goatskin."

* Golden deer of Eurasia 2002 p48
"Modern Siberian and Mongolian shamans wearing deer antlers for magical protection act as intermediaries between the human and spirit worlds."