- 国立民族学博物館研究報告 = Bulletin of the National Museum of Ethnology (ISSN:0385180X)
- vol.10, no.2, pp.451-480, 1985-10-22
The Evenk is the largest group of Tungus-Manchuspeakingpeoples in Siberia. Their bear festival is the so called"mountain-bear festival", a series of rites based on a bearhunted in its den. This paper examines a social aspect of thisfestival in order to attempt to solve problems concerning theirhunting-breeding organization which have not been dealt withby S. M. Shirokogoroff in his studies.The bear festival of the Evenks is usually held in autumn.It consists of a series of rites of bear hunting, skinning, meatcooking,feasting, and burial of the bear's bones. There is noqualification for participation, and anyone in a camp or a village,sometimes even forigners, can take part in the feast. Participantscan be categorized as a discoverer of the bear den, nimak(he is often a wife's brother of the discoverer), hunters, elders,and others. But some rules must be observed by each participant,according to his role in the festival. They often represent rulesor principles of hunting-breeding organization among the Evenks.By examining the rules of each category of participant, thefollowing conclusions were reached :1) Camps or villages of the Evenks are not formed onclan membership, but on a local or economic basis;2) Therefore, hunting customs or rules, which regulatehunters-breeders' activities regardless of clan affiliation, are moreimportant than clan rules in camps or villages;3) The structural superiority of the wife-giver group overthe wife-taker group sometimes appears as a hunting custom indaily and ritual activities;4) The leadership in a camp or a village is in hands ofelders; and5) Reflecting these social phenomena, the bear festival ofthe Evenks is a camp or village festival, and is supposedlyconnected with locality.Based on that it is necessary to collect and organize huntingbreedingcustoms or rules in order to advance Shirokogoroff'sstudies and to make a more complete model of Evenk society.