Ritual fire-making kit and drill

Image by the Russian Museum of Ethnography
Ancient in origin, the kit was used to make fires with a bow drill during rituals at the feasts of reindeer breeders. The image of a man carved on the fire board symbolized the "host" of the domestic reindeers. Tied to the neck of the "host" is an anthropomorphic charm made of knots that represents his "herdsman." The small bow made of reindeer antler and a strap are used to turn the drill to start a fire. The reindeer bone, a tarsal, protects the man's hand against injury as the drill is pressed.

Kamchatka region, Koryak National District, Olyutorsky area, village of Achaivayam, 1979.

Wood, leather, reindeer antler, bone.

Length of figurine 35 cm, of bone 45 cm; distance between edges of small bow 41 cm.

Coll. No. 10072-76/a, b, c, d, 2, 3.

The fire drill was used with a bow and fire board to make ritual fire.

Far East, Primorsky region, Anadyr area, 1904.


Length 18.5 cm.

Coll. No. 2245-347.

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