15. An Immured Soul: Contested Ritual Traditions and Demonological Narratives in Contemporary Mongolia

Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs - Ülo Valk

Alevtina Solovyova [+-]
Russian State University for the Humanities
Alevtina Solovyeva is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Cultural Research, University of Tartu (Estonia); Research Fellow at Centre of Typology and Semiotics of Folklore, Russian State University for the Humanities; Leading Research Fellow at the Institute for Oriental and Classical Studies, National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow, Russia). She has studied oriental studies, historical anthropology and folkloristics at the Russian State University for the Humanities (Moscow), the National University of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), the University of Bonn and the University of Tartu. In 2007 she started annual fieldwork in Mongolia and China, focusing on mythology, rural and urban folk traditions, and vernacular religion.

Description

Contemporary Mongolian devilry inserts a variety of locuses connected with demonological narratives: natural objects, haunted houses, abandoned roads, cemeteries, etc. In the rural tradition one of the most popular topics devoted to guideltei gazar or gazarin guits – area with movements, ‘restless activity’. It is a special, marked in local traditions, fixed places with ‘bad reputation’, something like ‘haunted places’ or ‘ghost-places’. These places can include different small areas generally in the steppe. The results of passing such places for people could be various – problems with a transport, problems with business and health and even death. These places are regarded in Mongolian traditions as a kind of demonic possession and at the same time as a demonic creature itself. According to some beliefs the cause of its existence and bad influence are referred to bones, remains of deceaseds, buried under those places. The revised materials allow to presume that the basis of the topic about ‘restless place’ related with the changes in ritual practices and reflected a conflict between different funeral traditions and ideas connected to them.

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Citation

Solovyova, Alevtina. 15. An Immured Soul: Contested Ritual Traditions and Demonological Narratives in Contemporary Mongolia. Vernacular Knowledge - Contesting Authority, Expressing Beliefs. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Oct 2022. ISBN 9781781792377. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=29224. Date accessed: 07 Dec 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.29224. Oct 2022

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