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Viktor Sandzhiev, about my family relics and folk healing methods

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Many Kalmyks use family relics as healing implements. Viktor says that in his family they have several relics, including a statue of Buddha, a gold coin, a rosary and a wooden cup with a silver rim. The statue is old, at least 100 years old. The family kept the statue in a corner and bowed to it even in Soviet times. The gold coin was used for healing people inside the family. The famous healer Namka, who was Viktor’s maternal relative, used the gold coin to cure sick members of Viktor’s family. Namka himself practiced Tibetan medicine and collected medicinal herbs in autumn. Viktor also says that Kalmyks cure frightened children with the help of a ritual whereby they pour hot lead into water to determine what the patient was scared by. In Viktor’s family they used hot wax instead of lead for this ritual. He says that his neighbors use dog meat in the treatment of tuberculosis. Viktor’s grandmother had a ‘snake’s horn’ to heal sick people.



Relics, healing

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Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge

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