The Hungarian (Székely) Gábor Bálint of Szentkatolna (1844–1913) was one of the first researchers of Kalmyk and Khalkha vernacular language, folklore and ethnography. His valuable records are written in a very accurate transcription and include the specimens of Kalmyk and Khalkha spoken languages, folklore material and ethnographic narratives, and a comparative grammar of western and eastern Mongolian languages. Bálint’s manuscripts had not been released until recent years when Ágnes Birtalan published his Comparative Grammar in 2009 and the Kalmyk corpus with a comprehensive analysis in 2011.
The present article aims to give an introduction to Bálint’s ethnographic materials recorded among the Kalmyks (1871–1872) and Khalkhas (1873). Despite the similar economic and cultural milieu the two ethnic groups lived in, there is considerable difference between the Kalmyk and Khalkha text corpora. Besides presenting and systematising Bálint’s ethnographic material, I shall try to clarify the reason why this significant divergence emerges between the two text corpora. Specimens of a particular phase of the wedding ceremony are represented as examples from both text corpora.
According to the oldest tradition of the Inner Asian steppe, the nomadic empires legitimised their rules by ethnogenetic myths, in which the zoomorphic phenomena played a determinative role. The Chinggisid Empire followed the traditional wolf-deer ancestorship as means for strengthening their power over the Inner-Asian nomads. At the time of the decline of the Eastern Mongolian (Chinggisid) empire the Western Mongolian tribal confederation came to power and tried to extend its power over the whole traditional Mongolian territory. The attempt to turn the political rule required a new mythical ideological background, which, in the case of the Oirats, also roots in an ancient Inner-Asian tradition. The motives of the myth of the Coros (Cors), the Junghar ruling clan spread in the folklore as well and became a common Oirat ethnogenetic tradition. The paper discusses different literary and lore variants of the myth and its main motives, indicating the possible political role of them.
For a study of the mythological and religious role of historical persons of the Mongolian ethnic groups a large amount of different sources can be utilised. In addition to the data in contemporary and earlier historical sources, primarily in the chronicles, a considerable quantity of folklore material of different genres contains information on this topic. Historical persons appear in different mythological and ritual roles in the folk religion and the folk belief system. In the toponymic myths and legends (Khal. domog) usually the most venerated historical heroes of a region are connected to a certain place name, and in the aetiological myths they act as the creators of certain customs. The present article surveys only the mythological and religious role of the Mongolian great khans. It offers a typology of the main motives connected to the above-mentioned aspects of the worship of a historical person.
The Hungarian — Mongolian Joint Expedition aiming to investigate the languages and folk culture of West-and North-Mongolian ethnic groups started its research in 1991. Taking part in the activity of the expedition I had the opportunity to observe the renewed activity of the monks’ communities that became possible due to the political changes in 1990. In this article I will present a few folksongs with Buddhist content recorded from old Dsakhchin monks. This noteworthy new source material substantially contributes to the study of the Buddhist culture among the Mongols. A short description of genre analysis will be attached to each song.
The present article pays homage to Professor Louis Ligeti, founder of Mongolian Studies at the University of Budapest, who passed away twenty-five years ago. He has been known also as one of the first scholars who carried our stationary filed research in Inner Mongolia. His disciples followed this tradition of fieldwork and often visited Mongolia in order to collect written and oral materials among the Mongolian ethnic groups. Since the early nineties a joint expedition — organised by the Department of Inner Asian Studies of the University of Budapest, in collaboration with the institutions of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences — has been working among the various ethnic groups of Mongolia. During the twenty years of fieldwork a large amount of records concerning the dialects, folklore, religious systems, material culture, etc. of these ethnic groups has been accumulated in the archives of the Expedition. The results of the field research have been published in different academic journals and conference proceedings. This time some of the Darkhad shamanic texts, recorded by the author and her research team during several study trips, will be presented in the investigation-frame of the sacral communication.
In the present paper, one chapter of the Jangar epic, chanted by the famous storyteller, khuurch Rinchin of Inner-Mongolian Baarin origin, is discussed from two main points of view: (1) the spread of Jangar among Mongols not belonging to Oirats and Kalmyks, and (2) how contemporary social circumstances transform the traditional heroic epic into another folkloric genre, i.e. the so-called khuuriin ülger. The chapter ‘Minggan, the Beauty of the World’ told by khuurch Rinchin—discussed here—is well known from other Jangar publications like the ‘Mingyan the Beauty of the World’ (published in the Thirteen Chapters Jangar/Jinggar: Takil ǰula qaγan-u üledel Tangsuγ bumba qaγan-u ači Üǰüng aldar qaγan-u köbegün üye-in önöčin Jingγar-un tuγuǰi arban γurban bölög). The life story of Rinchin and his creative innovation in traditional folklore genres are typical phenomena of the contemporary transitional period in preserving and sustaining folklore genres and performance.