SCImago Journal & Country Rank

The article considers the role of a sacred tree in the cultures of Tungus-Manchu ethnoses of Priamurye and Primorye. In the culture of the peoples of the Lower Amur and Primorye the sacred tree is known under the names tun (Udege), tuigu (Nanais), tu (Orochs), toiga, toro, turuu (Negidals). The similar tree named  toro is found among the Koreans as well. There are 2 types of sacred trees: shamanistic and patrimonial ones. A shaman’s tree can only be a larch, not strict and harmonious, but with unusual double or triple trunk. The shaman looks for such tree for years. Sometimes it is found tens of kilometers from the settlement. The shaman cuts down the found tree leaving the thickest and clumsy branches. Men of the settlement bring the tree to the village and set it to that place which the shaman pointed to. The sacred patrimonial tree grows in the wood near the settlement. As a rule, it has unusual crown of two or three grasps thick. A triangular notch is made on the tree meter from the butt, which is called piukhe. It is a spirit, a mediator between the hunter and the master of the Sky (god). A table for sacrifices is arranged under the tree. Natives of Priamurye and Primorye perform a ceremony of worship the master of the sky and ask successful hunting or good health to parents, children and relatives. Identical terminology of sacred trees and process of trade ceremonialism among small-numbered peoples of the region testifies to their ethnogenetic connection or ethnic contacts.

Key words: Tungus-Manchu, ethnos, sacred, tree, shaman, kin, notch, master, sacrifice, ethnic communications

DOI: 10.22250/2072-8662.2019.1.94-100

Download the paper (PDF)

About the author


Anatolii F. Startcev – DSc (History), Chief researcher at the Department of Ethnography, Ethnology and Anthropology, The Far Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of History, Archaeology and Ethnology;

89 Puchkinskaja str., Vladivostok, Russia, 690001; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.