Shaman's coat

Image by the Russian Museum of Ethnography
The caftan is made from reindeer hide. The front is made of suede of different colors; one part is not dyed, another is dyed a brick-red color using a solution made from alder-tree bark. The combination of two colors symbolizes the opposing worlds of people and spirits. Sewn on the lower edge of the sleeves are iron plates with pendants symbolizing feathers and bird wing bones. On the back, on the belt, there are two bands embroidered with hairs from reindeer beards and decorated with a striped design. Attached to each of the bands are two tubular metal pendants that symbolize bird feathers. In the center between the ornamental bands is a rounded metal plate symbolizing a mirror tolia shield that protects the shaman from evil spirits. Dense fringe attached to the bottom edge of the cloth is also symbolic of birds.


Primorsky region, Anadyr area, late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Suede of reindeer, iron, copper, leather, hair from the beards of reindeer.

Length 87 cm, width 39 cm, length of sleeves 43 cm.

Coll. No. 2245-303.

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