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электронный журнал "Новые исследования Тувы"

The President of Tuvan Shamans turns 84

Today is the 84th birthday of one of the first Tuvan novelists, doctor of historical sciences, the famous researcher of shamanism, Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan.

The head of Tuva, Sholban Kara-ool came to wish “Happy Birthday” to the shamanist researcher of world fame.

The meeting took place in the wood cabin at the old museum, where the researcher, over the years, welcomed high-ranking guests and visitors, including the first president of Russia, Boris Yeltsin.

“I am very touched by your attention and your respectful behavior towards people of the older generation, - admitted the savant. – That shows the special wisdom of a statesman”. Mongush Kenin-Lopsan is not preparing to move from his thoroughly lived-in cabinet in the old museum into the well-lit spaces of the new museum building.

“There are many offers, but I enjoy working here. It seems that the historical memory of these walls helps”, explains the researcher. He agrees that serious renovation of the old building is unavoidable, but considers it necessary to preserve the external architecture of the museum, as it appears in the old photos from the beginning of the century.

The 1952 Graduate of the Eastern Department of LGU, Mongush Borakhovich is not famous only in Tuva. As a person with unique abilities and a specialist-shamanologist, he is known by practically all scientists who are working in this field of knowledge.

American Foundation for Shamanic Studies awarded him the title “Living Treasure of Shamanism”.

“Shamanic songs – Algyshes, are treasures of the world culture. It is poetry, it is the source of the poetic culture of the Tuvan nation”, - says Mongush Borakhovich.

“When I was getting ready to go to Leningrad, my parents invited the shamaness-grandmother, to ask: what is going to happen with this boy. At that time these things were prohibited, so she showed up at night to start her kamlanie. Then she said: if the boy goes away to school, he should not come back for four years, if he does, it will be very bad”, remembers he in one of his interviews. He came back home after finishing his studies.

In 1956, he published the first collection of verses, “The Great Road”. In 1965, he finished his first novel, “The Stream of the Great River”, which he started when he was at school in Leningrad.

In one of his collected manuscripts, “The Poet’s Heart” (there are more that 100 manuscripts by M. Kenin-Lopsan in the archives), which consists of unpublished verses from 1988, the author speaks of his return to St. Peterburg after one hundred years.

Similar to Mandelshtam’s “I will come back to this town known to tears”, Kenin-Lopsan writes:

“Amdy tynim erten uzulze-daa
Arat chonum adym utpayn choruup turgan
Azhyl alban kylyp choraan kazanaamda
Azhydyp kaan depterlerim olchaan chydar
“Kenin-Lopsan tyva khamnar khaarzhakchyzy”
Khenzig domak aldynalyp chainap turu”.
(Even if my breath is cut off before its time,
My name will not be forgotten by my people
In the little cabin, where I used to sit over my work,
My papers will still lie on the desk,
And only a small memorial tablet –
“Kenin-Lopsan, Keeper of Tuvan Shamanism”,
Will shine in gold, as a reminder…..)

In 1982, Mongush Kenin-Lopsan defended his dissertation “ Themes and poetry of Tuvan Shamanism (attempt at historico-ethnographic reconstruction).

The huge list of his scientific works also includes:

Two-volume novel-essay “Buyan-badyrgy” (2000)

“Myths of Tuvan Shamans” (Kyzyl 2002), and “Oitulaash”, classical samples of love lyricism of Tuvan people (Kyzyl 2004).

Among the author’s awards is “Order of Friendship between Nations”,

and a medal “For Patriotic Merit of Second Order, received in November 2004.

The celebrant has two daughters and a granddaughter.

Dr. Kenin-Lopsan’s wife, Larisa Petrovna Chetverikova-Kenin-Lopsan, has always been and still is the first reader and editor to this day.

This year, a new edition of M.B. Kenin-Lopsan’s book “Tuvan Shamans” (1990), will be published. Over the past 10 years, the book has been supplemented by photographs of Valeriy Yelizarov, which show many unique cult objects of Tuvan shamanism, which are preserved in the collections of the Tuvan Museum.

The first 100 specimens were taken to the Scientific Center for Study of Tuvan Shamanism, associated with the National Museum of Tuva,

Dina Oyun, Sayana Mongush, translated by Heda Jindrak, photo Vitaliy Shaifulin
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