Friday, January 4, 2013

The Manly Sports of the Turkic States:Wrestling in Tuva and Sakha, Russia; -- and Mongolia

Tuva, and also Sakha and Mongolia.

This blog post is primarily about the Republic of Tuva, Russia; and it includes wrestling images from the Russian Republic of Sakha and from Mongolia.

The three States have commonalities:

∼  All three have nomadic populations;

∼  All three have shamanistic religions;

∼  two of the three (Tuva and Mongolia), to my great surprise, have Tibetan Buddhist monks and followers;

∼  two of the three (Tua and Sakha) have a Turkic language and orientation, and tMongolia's language springs from the same proto language as Turkic, ;

∼  Two of the three are landlocked and the one that isn't shares the Arctic Ocean with Alaska.

∼ All three promote traditional sports, and especially wrestling.

 The winner, in a wrestling competition, in each of the States, is the one who forces his opponent to touch the ground with something other than his feet.

Wrestling in Tuva -- Khuresh

This map identifies Tuva in blue and 
two other Russian Republics with 
significantTibetan Buddhist
 populations, in green. 
 The map is in Chinese, and
 I can't see that it explains
 the other colors on the map.  
The web site has good images of 
Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies, in Tuva.

Random scenes of Tuva, mostly of the capital,Kyzyl.

The National Museum  Şamanizm'in izinde Tuva

Football, of course; 
the league is just developing, 
with the help of the National government. 
Tuva-Onlinea local English-language 
news outlet 
which reads in tone 
startlingly like the Juneau  Alaska,
 newspaper read, soon after Statehood.

Nomads in Tuva herding livestock.  
Tuvans have traditionally migrated into
 Mongolia and back; 
the Soviets tried to stop the migration; 
don't have information 
on current practices.  

Swimming in the Yenesei River.  | Justin Jin 

The caption reads, "CHILDREN PLAY ON A 

 M53 highway connects Krasnoyarsk region, 
the Republic of Khakassia, 
the Republic of Tuva 
and the border with Mongolia.  

Tibetan Buddhism in Tuva

About half the citizens of Tuva are Tibetan Buddhists.  

There is a small and thriving Tibetan Buddhist community in Hawaii where I live; I had no idea, before I did work on this post, that Russia is, more than we, a home to Tibetan Buddhists.  I've learned something that causes me to rethink what I believed about Russia, and something that makes my heart glad   

Buddhist Lamas were mostly ignored under the Tsars.

They were were persecuted during the Soviet era. . .

. . . and are now supported by the Central Russian Government which, in Tuva at least, is tolerant toward believers and atheists.  Different rules, of course, apply in the Republic of Dagestan and it's warring factions.

 worth reading for it's historical perspective on all forms of 
religious life in Tuva.

A Tibetan monastery in Kyzyl  Tuva by jorgejuansanchez

Shamanism in Tuva

About half the citizens of Tuva are Shamanists.  The central government is equally tolerant of Shamans.

Spiritual leaders of Tuva's Turkic animistic shamanism.

For a respectful,clear statement of Tuva's religious practices, red
 The Republic of Tuva - Asia's Spiritual Heart

Tuvan wrestling, or Khuresh

Matches are preceded by a dance:

Танец орла » Электронный журнал «Новые исследования Тувы»

The text is accompanied by this:

Кочевник – арат мечтает о том, как было бы хорошо взлететь в образе орла на небо, далеко от земных дел, так как небо – территория предков. Образ орла–девиг в понимании древних урянхайцев ассоциировался с ритуальными действиями в честь оваа и духов Неба и Земли. В «кочевом» мире орел, посредник и посланник Неба на земле, связующее звено между верхним и нижним мирами и его сакральное значение проявляется в следующих значениях: первое – «девиг», «девиир», «девип унуптер» – это путь к небу, к славе, второе – это путь поиска противника «девискээрде», третье – это путь к предкам, к создателю, четвертое – это обращение к Небу-Отцу с просьбой быть услышанным, увиденным Творцом, пятое – быть избранным небом, утвержденным (победителем, правителем);

which google translates, well enough to catch the meaning, as this:

Nomad -  dreaming about how it would be good to take off in the form of an eagle in the sky, away from worldly affairs, as the sky - the territory of the ancestors. The image of the eagle in the understanding of ancient devig Uryankhays associated with ritual actions after ovaa and spirits of Heaven and Earth. The "nomadic" world eagle, the mediator and messenger of heaven on earth, a link between the upper and lower worlds and its sacred value appears in the following meanings: the first - "devig", "deviir", "devip unupter" - this is the way to heaven, to fame, the second - is the search path of the enemy "deviskeerde", the third - is the way to the ancestors, to the creator, the fourth - an appeal to heaven the Father asking to be heard, seen by the Creator, the fifth - to be elected to the sky, approved (winner ruler ).

The header says "Ringertanz als Dank
 an den Got Tengri. 
(Got Des Himmels, wo größe Volgel
 als seine Vermittler gelten)"
 No explanations for "Got" instead of "Gott".

I am reminded of the Nw Zealand All Blacks: Daily Record

The matches:

Photos of Tuva's Naadym, an annual festival,  photos by Ekahau 
I happily confess
 that it is this photo
 that originally spiked my interest
 in Tuva:

In the Tuvan mountains

 many fine images of Tuva; highly recommended

and Westerners:

20 foreign volunteers to explore archeological site.  Tuva-Online

Wrestling in Sakha -- Khapsagai KHAPSAGAI or khapsagay

As you can see, Yakutia shares the Arctic Ocean with Alaska,and both are very big states, nearly devoid of people.  

Yakutia was, until recently, governed by a central  Soviet, and Alaska was a Territory of the Union of North American States.

I was working in Alaska soon after it became a State. There was a burst of naive, youthful optimism and hope that followed Statehood.

Going by the English language blogs posted in Yakutia, I sense a similar burst of Yankee zest after Yakutia became a Republic.  Not much to go on, I admit, but I like the feeling the blogs give.  

Check it out; see what you think.

Terminology is confusing.  From Wikipedia, which is also confused:

The Sakha Republic is one of the ten autonomous Turkic Republics within the Russian Federation. Yakutia also fosters close cultural, political, economic and industrial relations with the independent Turkic states through membership in organizations such as the Turkic Council and the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture.   
[I will use "Yakutia" and "Yakuts" because many of the inhabitants are Yakuts.  Later, Wikipedia has this: " Turkic Sakha people or Yakuts. . . ."  Yakutia is not a member of the Turkic Council nor is it a prospective member, although Turkey, I guess, would like it to be.  It is a member of the Internationaal Organization of Turkic Culture]

Some scenes:

  A beautiful collection of images entitled
  Якутск в фотографиях, "Yakutsk in photos",
provocatively subtitled
"376 лет со дня основания Якутского острога",
or "376 years since the founding of the Yakut jail or fortress."
I would like to know more.

Дон Румата - Столбы
A caption, in computer English, is
"Lena Pillars - a geological formation
and the eponymous national park in Russia,
 on the banks of the Lena River.
Located in Khangalassky ulus Yak"

KHAPSAGAI or khapsagay

Matches are perhaps preceded by a dance:

Traditional uniforms are not used.  The rules are similar to the rules in Harhsh

If you read this link toYakutia Today you'll see what I mean by a sense of a fresh start in Yuktia.

Freestyle wrestling is popular in Yakutia, too.

O. And Yakutia has arm wrestling, too:

Армрестлинг для чайников: с чего начать; translates as
"Arm Wrestling for Dummies: how to start."

Wrestling in Mongolia -- Bökh

More laster, when the Nation of Mongolia and the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia are treated together.  Heere are some teaser pictures.

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