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Rocks in the Religious Beliefs and Rites of the Ob Ugrians

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2022.50.2.119-127

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Abstract

This study, based on materials collected in the 18th–20th centuries, and on the author’s field findings over the last 40 years, shows the role of rocks in the Ob Ugrian worldview and ritual practices. Evidence is provided on the veneration of various natural stone objects. Reasons for the cult of worshipping such places are discussed. One reason was that the rock resembled a human or animal figure. In legends and myths, the stone houses of heroic ancestors were correlated with numerous caves in the Ural Mountains. The main part of the article introduces materials relating to the stone figures of deities and patron spirits, supported by mythical narratives explaining the ways that a mythological hero was changed into stone. Examples are given of the figures of deities with a stone base found among local groups of the Ob Ugrians, such as the Lyapin and Sosva Mansi, Synya and Polui Khanty. The role of rocks in childbirth and funerary rites is examined, as well as their role in economic practices such as fishing. In Khanty and Mansi mythological beliefs, the modifier «stony» was equivalent to «iron» or «strong».

About the Author

A. V. Baulo
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

Pr. Akademika Lavrentieva 17, Novosibirsk, 630090



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For citations:


Baulo A.V. Rocks in the Religious Beliefs and Rites of the Ob Ugrians. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2022;50(2):119-127. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2022.50.2.119-127

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