Baina D. ERDNIEVA
Kalmyk State University named after B. B. Gorodovikov
11, st. Pushkin, Elista, 358000 Russian Federation
Research Engineer of the Scientific Laboratory "Comprehensive Buddhist Studies"
ORCID: 0000-0003-3553-9754Cultural Myths of the Oirats in the Past and PresentAbstract:
The article examines the transformation of the myth of the Oirat culture about the "nomad warrior" into the myth of the "immigrant-seeker of justice", reproduced by the culture of the modern heirs of the Oirats - the Kalmyks and which is part of the national identity of the Kalmyk ethnos. Understanding the life of the Kalmyk ethnos through the prism of historical events that directly influenced the image of the people, their culture and lived experience, allows us to single out periods that have a constitutive influence in the formation of the ethno-cultural and regional identity of the Kalmyks: 1) the period preceding the settlement of the Oirats in the European part of Russia (before XVII century); 2) the period of development of a new settled way of life in the conditions of the Kalmyk Khanate in the second half of the 17th-19th centuries; 3) deportation of the Kalmyk people to Siberia and Central Asia in 1943, followed by rehabilitation and return in 1957; 4) the period of restoration of the ethnos, including the reconstruction of culture; 5) modern period.
Within the framework of this study, the fundamental phenomena of the culture of the Kalmyk ethnos (religious attitudes, folklore images, traditional way of life) during the selected periods were considered, which made it possible to put forward a hypothesis about the central myth of the Kalmyk culture and its transformations:
1) The first stage of the Oirat culture corresponded to the primacy of the myth "Nomad Warrior";
2) The second stage, originating from such defining events as the adoption of Buddhism as a religion and the foundation of national statehood, marked a change in the cultural paradigm, consisting in the transitions: from the Tengri cult to Buddhism, from migration to settled life, from the East to Europe; and demonstrated the first transformation of the myth "Warrior-Nomad" into the myth "Sedentary Keeper of the borders".
3) The third stage was realized at the moment of the collision of the Kalmyk people with deportation and its catastrophic consequences in the 20th century. at the end of the Great Patriotic War: a significant reduction in numbers, a psychological breakdown and, as a result, a crisis of cultural heritage and one's own identity led to a new modification of the Kalmyk myth in the form of the "Warrior-Exile".
4) The fourth stage covers the period from repatriation to the present. The return of the Kalmyks to the Volga steppes after rehabilitation by the authorities in the second half of the 20th century. led to the reconstruction of the myth of the "Sedentary Toiler-cattleman".
5) The fifth stage is partially parallel to the fourth, includes modernity. Under the new conditions, the Kalmyks find themselves at a crossroads: to continue reproducing the myth of the fourth stage, or to create their own. The new myth of the “Migrant-Seeker of Justice” appears.Key words:
cultural myth, cultural code, justice, Oirats, Kalmyks, Buddhism, nomads, ethno-cultural identity of the Kalmyks, regional identity of the Kalmyks.References:
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Erdnieva, B. (2023) Cultural Myths of the Oirats in the Past and Present. International Journal of Cultural Research, 1 (50). 67–78. DOI: 10.52173/2079-1100_2023_1_67