Soyot Shaman Costume, Headgear and Drumstick in the Ethnographic Museum, Oslo, Norway
(53rd Annual Meeting of the PIAC, St. Petersburg 2010)
Ørjan Mikael Olsen (1885-1972), the famous zoologist and geographer of Norwegian origin donated a shaman costume together with the belonging headgear and drumstick to the Etnografisk Museum (Museum of Ethnography) of the University in Oslo after his expedition to the sources of Yenisey river in 1914 (Olsen 1915, p. 207). In 1999 the museum was re-organized as a part of the Universitetets kulturhistoriske museer (Museums of Cultural History of the University), unifying the Ethnographic Museum, The Classical and National Antiquities Collections, included The Viking Ship Museum, and the Coin Cabinet. In 2004 the Museums of Cultural History of the University were renamed Kulturhistorisk Museum (KHM, Museum of Cultural History), Oslo and the collections reorganized.
The costume, headgear and drumstick belonged to a Soyot shaman. A picture of the costume was published by U. Harva (1938, pp. 506-7). In this paper I intend to give a complete description of the objects (almost 50 ribbons, animal figures, metal objects, etc.) which are attached to the costume, further on the headgear and the drumstick and make an attempt at explaining them. The interpretation will be based on ethnographic materials of the region. As most of the shamans in the Khövsgöl region of Mongolia are of Soyot/Toja/Tuva origin, the parallels and conclusions are relevant for the whole Sayan area and the peoples which populate it.