A unique photo exhibition "Facets of nomadic culture in the XXI century" opened at AltSU

21 November 2021 Editorial office of the newspaper "For Science"
On November 20, simultaneously in Russia, at the flagship Altai State University, and in Kyrgyzstan, on the shores of Lake Issyk-Kul in the Kurmanzhan Datka Center for Nomadic Civilization, a photo exhibition opened following the results of the international ethnographic expedition "The Greater Altai: Russia - Kyrgyzstan, 2021".

The guests of the exhibition were able to see more than 100 photographs that tell amazing stories about the life of nomads of the XXI century. These are landscapes of mountainous Kyrgyzstan, portraits of Kyrgyz artisans, cattle breeders, pictures of traditional clothes, utensils, various yurts, felt carpets, and many other elements of the nomadic life style.

The international ethnographic expedition "The Greater Altai: Russia - Kyrgyzstan, 2021" was held within the framework of the project "Turkic-Mongolian World of the Greater Altai: Unity and Diversity in History and Modernity", which is implemented at Altai State University under the auspices of REC “The Great Altai.”

At the opening ceremony, Yulia Lysenko, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Head of the Department of Oriental Studies of Altai State University, greeted the guests on behalf of the Scientific and Educational Center for Altaistics and Turkic Studies "The Greater Altai".

The author of the photographs presented at the exhibition, organizer of the expedition, Director of the Institute of History and International Relations of Altai State University, leading expert of REC “The Greater Altai”, Ivan Nazarov, not only talked about how the exhibition was created, but also introduced the guests to the interesting features of modern nomadic culture through photographs. The opening ceremony of a photo exhibition turned into an interesting lecture on the cultural traditions of Kyrgyz nomads. Ivan Nazarov emphasized:

“In the process of globalization of the modern world, traditions, alas, are disappearing. And ethnographers have to literally "catch them by the tail". The culture of the nomads, which is several thousand years old, is really grand, it united many ethnic areas, and contributed to the development of new territories. Today it is much more difficult for nomads to compete with other forms of economy, they are constantly experiencing "pressure from progress" and, of course, this is difficult to prevent: instead of a horse, a car or a motorcycle has appeared. Nevertheless, today we see preserved elements of nomadic culture in many regions of the planet. An example of this is both Russia and Kyrgyzstan. The purpose of our expedition, in addition to the scientific tasks of studying the ethnocultural parallels of the Kirghiz and Altaians, is to catch the remaining facets of the nomadic culture. When planning our expeditionary project, we wanted to see how the traditions of nomads are embodied in modern craft activities concentrated around Issyk-Kul. We visited 14 settlements and high-mountain cattle-breeding camps. We have covered a total route of more than 3000 km. It wasn’t just an adventure, we in many ways experienced the peculiarities of a nomadic life style."

Ivan Nazarov said that the members of the expedition managed to visit the village of Kyzyl-Tuu, which has the status of a “city of artisans.” This village is home to 1,800 people, and almost all of them (exclusive of small children) are involved in one way or another in the production of yurts. In each courtyard, we could meet a craftsman who can either make a separate element of the yurt, or completely erect a dwelling.

There were many other amazing places that the members of the expedition visited, and the moments of these visits are caught by photographers.

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