Bereznitsky S. Ethnocultural Projections of Sacred Landscapes Among the Indigenous Peoples of the Amur and Sakhalin

S. Bereznitsky
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography
(the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
St. Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0001-6235-5542


  Download  |  Go to Issue #4. 2021


ABSTRACT. Archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, and social and cultural anthropologists have created a grandiose historiography base dedicated to studying the genesis and semantics of petroglyphs, sacred landscapes, and natural and artificial objects that play an important role in the traditional and modern cultures of the indigenous peoples of Northeast Asia. No less important are the questions of identifying modern ethnic groups with the real or imaginary authors of rock paintings, or with the ancestral or ethnic affiliations of sacred landscapes. Ethnicity shapes a geographical space into an ethno-cultural one (Morozova 2013: 309, 312). The ethno-cultural landscape can be considered a special space constructed by an ethnic culture, in which the material and spiritual features of a particular ethnic group or its territorial group are embodied. Currently, studying the identities of the indigenous small-numbered peoples of Eurasia is most effective with the inclusion of two main aspects in the object-subject sphere: (1) ethnicity in its stable and transforming states and (2) ethno-cultural heritage as the basis of identity (Golovnev, Kisser 2021: 80). This article uses the second methodological approach, addressing ethno-cultural projections as a mechanism for modeling historical and mythological perceptions of the sacred landscapes, as well as the phenomena of identity of the indigenous peoples of the Amur-Sakhalin Region.


KEYWORDS: ethnocultural projections, sacred landscapes, indigenous peoples of the Amur


DOI 10.31250/2618-8600-2021-4(14)-211-231
УДК 316.752



  • Alekseeva E. K. [Ethnocultural landscape of the Lamunkhin Evens]. Uspekhi sovremennoy nauki i obrazovaniya [Achievements of modern science and education ], 2016, vol. 8, no. 11, pp. 76–78. (In Russian).
  • Anderson D. G. Local healing landscapes. The healing landscapes of Central and Southeastern Siberia. Patterns of northern traditional healing series 1. Ed. by D. G. Anderson, R. P. Wishart, V. Vaté. Edmonton: CCI Press, 2013, pp. 1–12. (In English).
  • Artemyev A. R. Buddijskie hramy 15 v. v nizov’yah Amura [Buddhist temples of the 15 century in the lower reaches of the Amur]. Vladivostok: Institute of History, Archeology and Ethnography of the Peoples of the Far East FEB RAS Publ., 2005. (In Russian).
  • Bereznitsky S. V. [Natural cult objects of the indigenous peoples of the Lower Amur]. Vestnik DVO RAN [Vestnik DVO RAS], 1998, no. 3, pp. 118–125. (In Russian).
  • Bereznitsky S. V. Forest problems in today’s culture of the Khor Udeghe. Russia County Report. IGES Forest Conservation Project. Еd. by. H. Kakizawa. Japan, Yokohama: Published by Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 2004, pp. 120–134. (In English).
  • Bourdieu P. Physical and social spaces. Bourdieu, P. The Sociology of social space. Per. with fr. N. A. Shmatko. St. Petersburg: Aleteya Publ., 2007, pp. 49–64. (In Russian).
  • Casey E. S. Between Geography and Philosophy: What Does It Mean to Be in the PlaceWorld? Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 2001, vol. 91, no. 4, pp. 683–693. (In English).
  • Davydov V. N., Simonova V. V., Sem T. Yu., Brandishauskas D. Ogon’, voda, veter i kamen’ v evenkiiskikh landshaftakh. Otnosheniia cheloveka i prirody v Baikal’skoi Sibiri [Fire, water, wind and stone in the Evenk landscapes. Relations between man and nature in Baikal Siberia]. St. Petersburg: MAE RAS Publ., 2016. (In Russian).
  • Devlet E. G., Laskin E. G. [Studies of Sikachi-Alyan petroglyphs]. Arkheologicheskie otkrytiia 2017. [Archaeological Discoveries 2017]. Moscow, 2019, pp. 514–516. (In Russian).
  • Dutchak E. E., Vasiliev A. V., Kim E. A., Polezhaeva T. V. [The Orthodox landscape of taiga Siber ia: the concept of research]. Sibirskie istoricheskie issledovaniia [Siberian Historical Research], 2013, no. 1, pp. 79–90. (In Russian).
  • Dyakov V. I., Dyakova O. V. [New studies in the valley of the Samarga River]. Rossiia i ATR [Russia and the Asia-Pacific region], 2000, no. 2, pp. 27–34. (In Russian).
  • Eliade M. Izbrannye sochineniia: Mif o vechnom vozvrashchenii; Obrazy i simvoly; Sviashchennoe i mirskoe [Selected works: The myth of eternal return; Images and symbols; Sacred and secular]. Moscow: Ladomir Publ., 2000. (In Russian).
  • Eliade M. Sviashchennoe i mirskoe [Sacred and secular]. Moscow: Publishing house of Moscow State University Publ., 1994. (In Russian).
  • Golovnev A. V., Kisser T. S. [Ethnicity projections of the of the Indigenous minorities peoples of Russia (web survey data)]. Uralskii istoricheskii vestnik [Ural Historical Journal], 2021, no. 2 (71), pp. 80–89. (In Russian).
  • Golovneva E. V., Shanta I. [Visualization of the sacred in the cult sculpture of the peoples of the Amur region (based on the materials of the collections of V. K. Arsenyev and B. Baratoshi)]. Izvestia of the Ural Federal University. Series 1: Problems of education, science and culture [Proceedings of the Ural Federal University], 2019, vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 145–155. (In Russian).
  • Gosudarstvo Bohaj (698–920) i plemena Dal’nego Vostoka Rossii [The State of Bohai (698– 920) and the tribes of the Russian Far East]. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 1994. (In Russian).
  • Gurov M. B. [Agial sacred landscape as a special type of sacred landscape]. Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta kul’tury i iskusstv [Bulletin of the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts], 2020, no. 4 (96), pp. 35–51. (In Russian).
  • Istoriya Zolotoj imperii [The History of the Golden Empire]. Ed. by V. E. Larichev. Novosibirsk: Publishing house of the Institute of History and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences Publ., 1998. (In Russian).
  • Jordan P. Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia: Аn Introduction. Landscape and Culture in Northern Eurasia. Ed. by P. Jordan. London: Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 2011, pp. 17–48. (In English).
  • Kalinina G. N., Tikunova S. V. [The concept and methodology of the study of the cultural landscape]. Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta kul’tury i iskusstv [Bulletin of the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts], 2018, no. 5 (85), pp. 10–18. (In Russian).
  • Kalutskov V. N. [Ethnocultural landscape studies and the concept of a cultural landscape]. Kul’turnyi landshaft: voprosy teorii i metodologii issledovanii [Cultural landscape: questions of theory and methodology of research]. Ed. by V. N. Kalutskov. Smolensk: Publishing house of SSU, 1998, pp. 6–13. (In Russian).
  • Kalutskov V. N. Etnokul’turnoe landshaftovedenie [Ethnocultural landscape studies]. Moscow: Geographical Faculty of Moscow State University Publ., 2011. (In Russian).
  • Kreinovich E. A. [An essay on cosmogonic representations of Gilyak Island of Sakhalin]. Ethnography [Etnografia], 1929, book 7, no. 1, pp. 78–102. (In Russian). Kul’turnyi landshaft kak obekt naslediia [Cultural landscape as a heritage object]. Ed. by Yu. A. Vedenin, M. E. Kuleshova. St. Petersburg: Institute of Heritage Publ., 2004. (In Russian).
  • Landscape and culture in Northern Eurasia. Ed. by P. Jordan. London: Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 2011. (In English).
  • Lapshina Z. S. [Sacred in the primitive culture of the Amur region]. Rossia i ATR [Russia and the Asia-Pacific region], 2005, no. 3, pp. 84–88. (In Russian).
  • Laskin A. R., Devlet E. G., Babaev A. L., Sudakov A. I. [Petroglyphs of Sikachi-Alyan — a unique monument of ancient rock art on the Lower Amur (problems of conservation and use)].
  • Mir naskal’nogo iskusstva [World of Rock art]. Ed. by E. G. Devlet. Moscow, 2005, pp. 154– 162. (In Russian).
  • Laskin A. R., Devlet E. G., Grinko A. E., Svoiskiy Yu. M., Romanenko E. V. [New results of documenting petroglyphs and modeling sacred landscapes of rock art monuments of the Far East]. Problemy istorii, filologii, kul’tury [Problems of History, Philology, Culture], 2018, no. 2, pp. 244–255. (In Russian).
  • Latushko Yu. V., Samar A. P., Belaya E. G., Levchenko A. V. [Historical and cultural landscapes of the Amur in modern Nanai culture (based on the materials of a field study in 2019)]. Oikumena. Regionovedcheskie issledovaniia [Oikumena. Regional studies], 2019, no. 4, pp. 106– 121. (In Russian).
  • Lavrillier A. The creation and persistence of cultural landscapes among the Siberian Evenkis: Two conceptions of ‘‘sacred’’ space. Landscape and culture in Northern Eurasia. Ed. by P. Jordan. London: Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, Publications of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, 2011, pp. 215–231. (In English).
  • Lavrillier A., Gabyshev S. An Arctic Indigenous Knowledge System of Landscape, Climate, and Human In-teractions: Evenki Reindeer Herdersand Hunters. Fürstenberg; Havel: Verlag der Kulturstiftung Sibirien Publ., 2017. (In English).
  • Lidov A. M. Ierotopiia. Prostranstvennye ikony i obraztsy paradigmy v vizantiiskoi kul’ture [Hierotopia. Spatial icons and paradigm patterns in Byzantine culture]. Moscow: Design. Information. Cartography Publ., 2009. (In Russian).
  • Lukina O. R., Pakhomova L. S. [Zoning of sacred landscapes of Yakutia]. Uspekhi sovremennogo estestvoznaniia [Successes of modern natural science], 2019, no. 12, pp. 83–88. (In Russian).
  • Maltseva O. V. [Nanaytsy in the industrial area of the Amur region: a model of space development and the search for identity]. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie [Ethnographic review], 2018, no. 1, pp. 161–177. (In Russian).
  • Mamontova N. A. [The snowy landscape of the Evenk Taiga: Traditional ecological knowledge vs Scientific discourse]. Sibirskie istoricheskie issledovaniia [Siberian Historical Reserch], 2017, no. 4, pp. 230–243. (In Russian).
  • Mark D. M., Turk A. G., Stea D. Ethnophysiography of arid land: Categories for landscape features. Landscape ethnoecology: Concepts of biotic and physical space. Ed. L. M. Johnson, E. S. Hunn. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books Publ., 2010, pp. 27–45. (In English).
  • Mastenitsa E. N. [Cultural landscape as a heritage object: approaches to studying and problems of preservation in open-air museums]. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Kul’turologiia i iskusstvovedenie [Bulletin of the Tomsk State University. Cultural studies and art history], 2015, no. 2 (18), pp. 42–51. (In Russian).
  • Mazin A. I., Okladnikov A. P. Pisanitsy basseina reki Aldan [Pisanitsy of the Aldan River basin]. Novosibirsk: Nauka Publ., 1979. (In Russian).
  • Medvedev V. E. [Some results of research of settlements and settlements of the Jurchen epoch of the Amur region (8–13 centuries)]. Srednevekovye drevnosti Primor’ia [Medieval antiquities of Primorye]. Vladivostok: Dalnauka Publ., 2012, vol. 2, pp. 56–66. (In Russian).
  • Medvedev V. E. Voskhod i rastsvet Zolotoi imperii Chzhurchzhenei [The Rise and Rise of the Golden Empire of the Jurchens]. [Science from the first hands], 2015, no. 5–6 (65–66), pp. 172–195. (In Russian).
  • Medvedev V. E. Kul’tura amurskikh chzhurchzhenei: konets 10–11 vv. (po materialam gruntovykh mogil’nikov) [Culture of the Amur Jurchens: the end of the 10–11 centuries (based on the materials of ground burial grounds)]. Novosibirsk: Nauka Publ., 1977. (In Russian).
  • Nikitina M. I. Drevniaia koreiskaia poeziia v sviazi s ritualom i mifom [Ancient Korean poetry in connection with ritual and myth]. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 1982. (In Russian). Okladnikov A. P. [Ancient Amur petroglyphs and modern ornamentation of the peoples of the Amur region]. Sovietskaya ethnographya [Soviet ethnography], 1959, no. 2, pp. 38–47. (In Russian).
  • Okladnikov A. P. Liki drevnego Amura: Petroglify Sakachi-Aliana [Faces of the ancient Amur: Petroglyphs of Sakachi-Alyan]. Novosibirsk: Zapadno-Sibirskoe knighnoe izdatelstvo Publ., 1968. (In Russian).
  • Okladnikov A. P. Petroglify Nizhnego Amura [Petroglyphs of the Lower Amur]. Leningrad: Nauka Publ., 1971. (In Russian).
  • Okladnikova E. A. Sakral’nyi landshaft: teoriia i empiricheskie issledovaniia [Sacred landscape: theory and empirical research]. Moscow; Berlin: Direct-Media Publ., 2014. (In Russian).
  • Pakhomova L. S., Lukina O. R. [Sacred landscapes of the Olekminsky and Lensky districts]. Vestnik Severo-Vostochnogo Federal’nogo universiteta [Bulletin of the North-Eastern Federal University. The series “Earth Sciences”], 2018, no. 4 (12), pp. 72–80. (In Russian).
  • Podmaskin V. V. [Ancient ideas about the tiger and the leopard among the indigenous peoples of the Lower Amur and Sakhalin as a historical and ethnographic source]. Manuscript [Manuscript], 2020, vol. 13, № 12, pp. 120–126. (In Russian).
  • Povoroznyuk O. A. [Cultural landscape and adaptation in modern conditions of the Russian North (on the example of the Chita Evenks)]. Rasy i narody: sovremennye etnicheskie i rasovye problemy [Races and peoples: modern ethnic and racial problems]. Ed. by D. A. Funk. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 2007, vol. 33, pp. 188–208. (In Russian).
  • Povoroznyuk O. A. [Review of the collection of articles] “Landscape and culture in Northern Eurasia”. Ed. by Р. Jordan. 2011. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press, Inc., 2011. 358 p. Sibirskie istoricheskie issledovaniia [Siberian Historical Reserch], 2016, no. 4, pp. 310–317. (In Russian).
  • Sauer K. Morphology of Landscape. University of California Publications in Geography. 1925, vol. 2, no 2, pp. 19–53. (In English).
  • Sem T. Yu. [The Amur solar myth: genesis and ethno-cultural connections]. Lingvisticheskie voprosy severovedeniia [Linguistic issues of Northern Studies]: Abstracts of reports and reports of the Herzen readings 1993/1994. St. Petersburg: “Education” Publ., 1997, pp. 66–67. (In Russian).
  • Sem T. Yu., Okladnikova E. A. [“The Myth of the Three Suns”: semantics and visual representation in the monumental art of Ancient Eurasia]. Severo-Vostochnyi gumanitarnyi vestnik [North-Eastern Humanitarian Bulletin], 2021, no. 1, pp. 8–17. (In Russian).
  • Stepanov A. V. [About the place. Ethnophenomenological essay]. Antropologicheskii forum [Forum for Anthropology and Culture], 2016, no. 28, pp. 199–220. (In Russian).
  • Taksami Ch. M. [Representations of nature and man among the Nivkhs]. Priroda i chelovek v religioznykh predstavleniiakh narodov Sibiri i Severa (vtoraia polovina 19 — nachalo 20 v.) [Nature and man in the religious representations of the peoples of Siberia and the North (the second half of the 19 — beginning of the 20 century)]. Ed. by I. S. Vdovin. Leningrad: Nauka Publ., 1976, pp. 203–217. (In Russian).
  • Taksami Ch. M. Osnovnye problemy etnografii i istorii nivkhov (seredina 19 — nachalo 20 v.) [The main problems of ethnography and history of the Nivkhs (mid-19 — early 20 century)]. Leningrad: Nauka Publ., 1975. (In Russian).
  • Toporov V. N. [On the concept of a place, its internal connections, its context (meaning, meaning, etymology)]. Iazyk kul’tury: semantika i grammatika [Language of culture: semantics and grammar. To the 80th anniversary of the birth of Academician Nikita Ilyich Tolstoy (1923–1996)]. Moscow: Indrik Publ., 2004, pp. 12–106. (In Russian).
  • Vedenin Yu. A., Kuleshova M. E. [Cultural landscapes as a category of heritage]. Kul’turnye landshafty kak ob”ekt naslediia [Cultural landscapes as a heritage object]. Ed. by Yu. A. Vedenin, M. E. Kuleshova. Moscow: Institute of Heritage; St. Petersburg: Dmitry Bulanin Publ., 2004, pp. 13–36. (In Russian).
  • Volovik V. N. [Categories of the sacred landscape]. Geograficheskii vestnik [Geographical Bulletin], 2013, no. 4 (27), pp. 26–34. (In Russian).
  • Yanshina E. M. Formirovanie i razvitie drevnekitaiskoi mifologii [Formation and development of ancient Chinese mythology]. Moscow: Nauka Publ., 1984. (In Russian).
  • Zabiyako A. P. [The early Jurchen text of rock carvings on the Argali River in the Amur region (history, research results and new data)]. Arkheologiia, etnografiia i antropologiia Evrazii [Archeology, Ethnography and Anthropology of Eurasia], 2019, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 94–103. (In Russian).