Yesterday the main price of the Berlinale, one of the international film festivals went to the chinese director Bai ri yan huo’s movie Black coal, Thin ice.
I havent watched the movie and I expect it to be great but at the same time I think that yesterday’s deer herder’s competition deserves to be filmed and shown at Berlinale as well.
This was the first annual deer herder’s competition and that unique chance to be in the place where more khanty then slavic people were present. In spite of the fact that Khanty-Mansiysk is names after two local tribes that lived on this land way before the slavic people came here, the ‘Nationals’ and that’s how they are called here are a rare thing to see in a big city. You need to go into the will ages which are not that far but without proper roads feel a bit isolated from the main land. That’s why such competitions are not only a chance for the city inhabitants to see the people who live in some hundred kilometers from them but also for khanty from different regions to meet each other.
Khanty and mansi are just 2% of the population of the region and it’s always pleasant to see how much is done for them. Most of khanty and mansi do not rush to move to a big cities still preferring their traditional way of life, with man breeding the deer and hunting the animals and birds in the forest and woman taking care of the family and making clothes.
And yesterday they were able to show how good are they in what they do.
To tell you the truth it does seem like a difficult job as the beautiful animals were not always in the mood to compete and were trying to turn back. The the skillful knaty used a long stick, (a heavy one I may say) to coordinate the direction in which the animal was supposed to run.
All khanty woman were dressed beautifully in the traditional clothes which they still make manually. One fur overcoat with the traditional ornament might take up to 5 years to make. The cloth one with the beads ornament takes several month.
I bet every western fashionist would love to posses an overcoat like this and guess what? I know the prices and places where you can order one! The unique thing is that there’s never two overcoat that looks alike because even if the same lady makes them she always takes into account who is she making it for and a deep ancient meaning is embroider into the ornaments that she uses.
For example Fyokla Semyonovna from the village Agan still wears the overcoat that she got from her grandmother. The beads that are used on her coat were brought to this region from Europe and are more then 150 years old. She would have never sold this coat but makes the traditional clothes for sale. An overcoat like she has with some fur decoration costs 1000 $ and without the fur just 700 $.
Fyokla Semyonovna saw me in my wolfskin skiing jacket and took a pity on me saying ‘You people do not know how to dress on the mainland’ and invited me over to the chum, the traditional khanty house for a cup of tea.
Khanty man smoke way too much, even myself, a chain smoker, was amazed with them. Every time they were not busy with smth they had a cigarette in their hands. And the khanty kids and youth are adorably cute
3 hours spent with khanty is obviously not enough to get to learn and understand their beautiful culture and traditions. I hope someone some day will take more time and create some amazing movie showing the world a mysterious world of khanty.