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Polina Fedorova, About Talismans and My Family Relics

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Terbish, Baasanjav 
Churyumova, Elvira 


Polina talks about talismans and her family relics. She says that in the past mird was a talisman that only men could wear. Each such amulet was consecrated by up to 9 lamas who read mantras on the new moon. Polina relays a story of an amulet made from glass. This glass amulet belonged to her mother’s older brother who was called Nyamn. His descendants are known today under the surname of Naminov. People who had glass amulets were not supposed to lie, steal, or kill, but to lead a righteous life. In 1937 when Nyamn was arrested, his prosecutors asked him to hand over his precious amulet. When he refused, soldiers fired at him to kill him, but to no avail. It was Nyamn himself who in the end took off the amulet from his neck and asked the soldiers to deliver it to his family. Later he was exiled to Kazakhstan. Polina says that she is from the clan of Bagud, originally from Astrakhan. She travels sometimes to her native place to perform a ritual to worship the land. Her natal house was in the village of Shar Luuzn which, as she recalls, was surrounded by water. The water level would go up and down depending on lunar phases. In 1956 there was a camel farm in her village. In the end Polina talks about her family relics, about who among her relatives keeps which relics, including a silver candle holder and various statues and thangkas of Buddha.



Talismans, family relics, mantras, lamas, Bagud, clan

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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.