Shamanism in Siberia: Russian Records of Indigenous Spirituality
ethnographies, the way he refers to them makes it very clear that he did 4 not know Russian, and relied heavily on German translations, digests 5 and reviews of these works. I stress this not to add my own barb to the current fashionable criticism of Eliade, but simply to underline the way 6 information about Siberian shamanism was disseminated in the West. Returning to the early observations of shamanism, the story of how the Khanty shamanism was originally recorded prevents us, strictly speaking, from speaking about Russian writings on indigenous shamanism, at least in the eighteenth century. It is known that the earliest source on Khanty beliefs is a manuscript titled Kratkoe opisanie o narode ostiatskom (Short Description of the Ostiak People) by Count Novitsky (1715), which became known to students of Siberia as late as the 1820s. At the same time, the major known source on the Khanty for Russian authors of the eighteenth and nineteenth century was the study Das Leben und die Gewohnheiten der Ostiaken (Life and Ways of the Ostiak) by I. B.
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