Asian influence on the peoples of Baikal

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The inhabitants of "Middle Kingdom", not torn off from Siberia by different seas and oceans, could not but have representations about its localities. There are indications that the Chinese knew Baikal before the beginning of a new era. In 119 AD Chinese military leader Hochuy-Bin defeated the Huns somewhere in the steppes of Transbaikalia and rising to a high mountain, saw in front of him a lake. It is believed that since those times the Chinese called the Lake Bay-Hai, or Pe-Hey, which means the “North Sea”.

Wars with the Huns (Xiongnu in Chinese transcription, Huns in the European), which were conducted during the first millennium of AD tied Chinese people with the inhabitants of Pribaikal lands. The State union created by Huns, occupied a space in the east of Khingan to the Tian Shan in the west, and from Lake Baikal and the Sayan Mountains in the north to the south of Ordos. About these contacts there are many legends. For example in “The Life of Su Wu" it is said how this military leader who was taken prisoner by the Huns, where he spent nearly twenty years. When, finally, peace was made and to the court came to Hun Ham came the ambassador, he recognized Su Wu and saved him by stealth. Ambassador told the Khan that the Chinese emperor allegedly shot while hunting a migratory goose which came from the north. To his leg was tied a letter written on the silk, saying that Su is alive with his friends and is on the distant lake. Khan had no choice but to release the captives.

Interaction between the Asian peoples since the ancient times could not but bring some borrowings to the folklore and world-view of Pribaikal people. They were felt in many rituals and procedures. For example, in ancient China there was a custom of fortune-telling on the tortoiseshell. In it was made a slight indentation, which then was burned, and the direction of the resulting cracks gave an alternative meaning good or bad omens. A similar procedure Pribaikal shamans had, but with a different subject – guessing on ram's shoulder.

Many innovations were borrowed from the Chinese by Pribaikal people in connection with the adoption of Buddhism. One of those is a New Year celebration of the lunar calendar, practiced in China since ancient times. It comes in the winter and the Buryat took it over. Just as to the Chinese, heavy snowfall during the New Year holidays (which is usually the month of February) was considered to be a precursor of a happy year, "the precious gift of the Buddha." The reason why the celebration of Sagaalgan – the New Year was postponed from autumn to late winter is unknown. In Pribaikal museums and Buddhist datsans there are many attributes and relics related to Buddhism and which are made in China. One of them, a sandalwood sculpture of Buddha with height of 2 meters 18 cm exported in 1898 from China to egituysky datsan in Trans-Baikal region (now the Republic of Buryatia). With this sculpture many legends are associated from that it is the second lifetime’s image of Buddha (one of them in the British Museum) to the one that from it comes a holy, blessed influence on people around them.

With the penetration of Russians in Siberia and the Amur region China's ties with Russia significantly increased, and the route goes directly through these links Baikal. These were, firstly, embassy contacts as needed to establish formal relations between the two countries and resolve conflicts that inevitably arise because of the often conflicting interests of the rulers of both countries. And Spafarija, and Zabolotsky, and Golovin, and Ides, and Raguzinsky, and many other Russian diplomats in their travels to China with different missions, anyway, were to Lake Baikal. In turn, the same ambassadorial missions also Chinese envoys fulfilled. Secondly, since 1727 significantly strengthened trade ties with China, one of the main communication which - Great Tea Road from the Chinese city of Kalgan through Urga (Ulan Bator), Kyakhta, Verkhneudinsk (Ulan-Ude), ran through the Baikal village of Kabansk and the wharf Mysovaya and Goloustnoye to Irkutsk and further on by Russian and foreign cities and villages. As we have said above, many roads were built from Lake Baikal to Kyakhta to support these tea ways.

Near Kyakhta arose Chinese trading settlement Maymachene, more correctly - Naymaytchin (three Chinese words: nay – to sell, may – to buy, tchin – a place; and overall - the place of sale, i.e retail space). Maymachene rapidly evolved with Kyakhta during the XVIII-XIX centuries. Its merchants with his Chinese goods traveled not only to the fairs, cities and villages of the Baikal region, but were in many other Russian provinces. And the opinion about the maymachene merchants in the 18-19 centuries was very positive. German traveler G.-Yu.Klaprot wrote in 1805: "Generally speaking, Chinese differ from all the people trading in Kyakhta by order, serviceability, taste and wit. While they are all smarter and more capable than Yids trading in Europe and the Armenians working in the Mohammedan Asia. Both Maymachene and Kyahta lost their significance at the beginning of XX century, when the Trans-Siberian Railway and the CER were built, and transporting of tea on carting became unprofitable. Kyakhta became unimportant town, and Maymachene completely ceased to exist. Today such "naymaytchini", in modern "shanhaiki" in Pribaikal cities and towns, as they say, were innumerable, and order and taste in them are not in favor of the old and are not enough. It is difficult to say if that is a new round of economic development between the two countries or a gradual and sequential arrangement of Chinese within the "North Sea".
         Ancient Chinese culture could not but have an impact on the relationship between man and nature. In ancient China there was a field of versification, which was called "poetry of the mountains and waters" or "poetry of gardens and fields." This genre, we can say, was one of the first in the world literature. The Chinese, at least educated ones, considered themselves as a part of nature, perceived her not detached from the outside, but from the inside, and maybe that's why so keenly felt and understood its beauty. Nature has been spiritual for such people, to which they were to join and best of all it was to go from the busy world of passions.
      In the poem of Ce Daoyun "Ascending the mountains", written in the 3th century AD in this way the majesty of nature and its effect on people was reflected:

The eastern ridge is menacing and large
its sharp peak is just piercing the heaven!
A lone hermitage is on steep slope,
And everything keeps silence there.
No, even the most skillful master
can not model such clouds as those!
And the smells and the air of mountains
attract to the space no one knows.
And now I can give a pledge to spend
the time of my life in the mountains.

Such a philosophical approach to nature, of course, is important even today, and we have emphasized it in the sections about Russian ethnic groups in other countries, and consider its presence as a precious heritage of the peoples of the world.

See also

Literature

  1. A.D. Karnyshev "The Many Faces of Multilingual and Mysterious Baikal"© BSU Publishing House, 2011

Выходные данные материала:

Жанр материала: English | Автор(ы): Karnyshev A.D. | Источник(и): The Many Faces of Multilingual and Mysterious Baikal. Ulan-Ude. 2012 | Дата публикации оригинала (хрестоматии): 2011 | Дата последней редакции в Иркипедии: 30 марта 2015

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Тематический указатель: Irkipedia English