Glebova E. V. Ritual Fish Skin Jelly in the Culture of Indigenous Peoples of the Lower Amur and Sakhalin

ELENA V. GLEBOVA — Editor, Theater Union of the Russian Federation; Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Russia, Moscow)
E-mail: elena.glebova@mail.ru

 

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ABSTRACT. The Nanai, Ulchi, Nivkhi, Orochi and Negidal inhabit the banks of the Amur River and its tributaries, while the Nivkhi live in the Sakhalin. A special fishing culture exists there, which influences all the spheres of life of these peoples and form the model of traditional power of the “ichthyophags”. Jelly made of fish skin with the addition of fish oil and berries stands out in the complex of everyday and ritual (sacrificial) food. Due to the close ethnic and cultural ties this dish was present in the food practices of the peoples of Lower Amur and Sakhalin, but it is Ulchi and Nivkh who give the mos (mosi) jelly a special place in their ritual cuisine. The mos was made for the consecration of the house, “feeding” of the river spirits and the souls of drowned people. Fish skin jelly was an important element of the main celebration of Nivkhi and Ulchi—the bear festival. In the twentieth century the culture of the peoples of Amur and Sakhalin underwent serious changes, but fish skin jelly continues to be cooked in the Ulch and Nivkh families as a ritual dish for funerals and festive occasions. During the national culture celebrations fish skin jelly became a marker of the ethnic identity of Ulchi and Nivkhs. The article is based on the historiographical sources of the late nineteenth — early twentieth century, modern research, and the field materials of the author (2006–2009, village of Bulava, Ulchi district, Khabarovsk region).

KEYWORDS: indigenous peoples, Lower Amur, Sakhalin, ritual jelly, fish skin, ritual practices, ethnic identity

 

УДК 392.8(571.61./.64)
DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2019-1(3)-189-195

 

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