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Tambourine of the “big” shaman
5073-3
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This is a tambourine (tuur) of the “big” shaman of the Shor people who inhabit South Siberia (northern Altai region). This tambourine is of a traditional oval shape. It consists of a wooden rib made of birch and covered with maral skin, and a long handle that fixes the rib from the inside. It is of great cultural importance.

History of the Object
A tambourine has a complex cosmological symbolic meaning that originates from the archaic beliefs of the peoples of northern Asia about the structure of the Universe. In this system of beliefs, the he-deer embodied the celestial sphere and the sun, and the she-deer embodied the middle world. This is vividly expressed in the painting that covers the outer surface of the tambourine and depicts the three spheres of the Universe: the upper sphere is filled with images of anthropomorphous spirits, animals and birds of the upper world, the middle part is represented by a horizontal line with “grids”, and the lower part contains fish and reptiles that embody the lower world. In the shaman mythology, a tambourine implied the image of a mythical deer, the main helper-spirit of a shaman and his draft animal that he rode to travel to other worlds. This tambourine was often used in shaman rituals aimed at a family’s well-being and easy childbirth.

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Type
Musical instruments 
Materials
birch, reindeer leather, steel, cotton, mineral colourant 
Measurements
Diameters: 54.6 cm x 45.2 cm 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Kemerovo region; West Siberia 
Geography
Russia 
Time period
AD 20th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
20th Century 
Function
Shaman's attribute 
Acquisition
It was acquired in 1930 by an external-economic establishment called “Novoeksport” which, among other things, engaged in buying objects of the traditional culture of the peoples of Siberia, some of which were given to the museums of Russia. 
Copyright
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) RAS 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Russian Federation 
Museum
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) Russian Academy of Sciences 
Credit line
 

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