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    Household Utensils 565  
Animal Food 572
Vegetable Food 577  
Narcotics and Stimulants 580
Meals 584
Management of Food-Supplies 586

VIII.     HOUSEHOLD  UTENSILS AND  FOOD.

              565

         Household  Utensils.     The ancient method of making fire, by means of a   drill,   is   at   present   employed   only  in  religious ceremonies.     Since the fire-drill   is   esteemed   as   the   most important protector of the family,1 it may be concluded that the Koryak looked upon fire as a beneficent agent.     There are   sacrifices   in   honor of the  fire;  fire is also a mediator between  man and the   deities,   since   offerings   are   burned   in   it.2     At the present time the use of  sulphur   or   Swedish   matches   is   quite widespread.     Even  when obtaining the   sacred   fire,   some   Koryak   turn  the drill for a short time as a formality only,   and   the   fire   is   really   kindled   with   a match;  but they cannot always obtain   matches,   so   that   the   most   common   means   of  obtaining   fire   is  the strike-a-light.     Although  not much  used,  the strike-a-light seems to have been known to the  Koryak prior to their encounter with the Russians, having been introduced by the  Tungus,  who had received it from the Amur tribes.    Even now,   merchants   often   import   from   Vladivostok   steel   and   flint   of  Chinese origin.     Tinder   is   prepared   from   a    fungus   which   grows  on the stumps of birch-trees.     The   fungus   is   stripped   of  its   hard  outer layer, and the inner spongy   mass   is   boiled in  water.     Then it is dried;  and a light, brittle, and highly inflammable punk is thus obtained.

         Fire-making tools are more often needed by the nomadic Reindeer Koryak than by the sedentary Maritime people. A new fire need rarely be made in the underground houses of the Maritime Koryak. The women are very skilful in keeping up the fire of the hearth. They cover the embers with ashes; and when reviving the fire, they rake it up, put small chips of wood on the glowing embers, and fan them until they burst into flame. The Maritime Koryak need fire-tools only on journeys. However, when in posses- sion of matches, they are very fond of striking them to light their lamps or pipes, even when the fire is burning on the hearth. On the other hand, if the fire goes out entirely, and neither match nor tinder is on hand, the ancient method of obtaining fire by means of the drill-bow is resorted to. This, however, happens very rarely.

         For purposes of lighting, a stone lamp (E'ek) is used. It is made of sandstone, in the shape of a shallow basin. The lamp is placed on a wooden block or stand from 50 cm. to 60 cm. in height. Fig. 99 represents two of   these   lamps   and   stands,   which   I   obtained   from   the   Maritime   Koryak.


  1  See Part I, pp.  33-36; Figs.  2, 3; Plate VI, opp. p. 79.                   2 Ibid., p. 98.


566

 JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

 Among the Reindeer Koryak the stand is somewhat lower. On the upper side of the stand an excavation is made in which the bottom of the lamp rests, to give it stability. The lamp is so placed that the wick-edge is a little lower than the opposite edge, to allow the oil which is tried out of the tallow or blubber by the heat of the flame to run down to the wick. The wick   consists   of sphagnum   or   rotten-wood   in   the  form of a coarse  thread,

which is laid in the groove made along the wick-edge of the lamp. Nowadays wicks made of thread are frequently met with. The Maritime Koryak use seal-oil for lighting-purposes, while the Rein- deer Koryak use the hard white tallow which is obtained by thor- oughly boiling crushed reindeer-  bones, and which contains a high percentage of stearine. As the tallow is melted by the flame,  new pieces are put in. Seal-oilyields a poor yellow flame, pro- duces much soot, and gives off an offensive stench. Reindeer- tallow burns with a white flame, without soot or offensive odor. The wick is kept trimmed, and is snuffed with a stick or splinter of wood.     The lamp-stand of the

Fig. 99. Lamps and Lamp-Stands. Total height, 62 cm., 55 cm.

         Maritime Koryak is covered with a layer of grease and dirt caused by the oil trickling down from the lamp, and by pieces of wick and soot, dust, hair and dirt, which drop down and stick to it. Usually the lamp stands on the dirt floor near the threshold leading to the sleeping-rooms (see Plate XXXVII); and by its dim light the women work, sitting on the threshold or behind it on reindeer-skins.

          The Reindeer Koryak have the lamp in the inner sleeping-tent. To prevent drops of oil and pieces of wick from falling on the skins spread out for beds and seats, the lamp is placed on broad wooden troughs, just as is done by the Chukchee.1 The Reindeer Koryak often have no special stand, and the lamp with the trough is placed on the box in which the teacups and saucers are packed while the people are travelling with the herd. Among the   Reindeer  Koryak, stone lamps have gone out of use, just as among the


1  Compare Bogoras, The Chukchee, Vol. VII of this series, p. 185.


567

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK. 

Chukchee. They are replaced by round iron frying-pans without handles, which are imported by Russian merchants. The Maritime Koryak relate that in olden times they also made clay lamps (s'yek, "earthen or clay lamp:" from s, "earth or clay;" and e', "lamp") such as are still used by the Chukchee and Eskimo; but among the finds made in excavating  ancient underground houses, I did not come across a single clay lamp. In one house I found a lamp made of a whale-vertebra (yu'iteme'ek, i. e., "of bone of whale lamp").     It is represented in  Fig.   100.

         The lamp of the  Maritime Koryak serves for lighting exclusively.    Wood

is used for heating and cooking. The hearth has been described before.1 Driftwood is cut in summer and autumn for use as fuel. The wood is split into thin billets 50 cm. or 75 cm. long, which catch fire quickly and do not smoke much. It is stored away on the roof of the house." The fire is started twice every day, in the morning, on rising; and in the evening,   before   going  to bed, at the time of the two principal meals. The morning fire also warms the house for the day, the evening fire for the night. In the middle of the day the fire is rarely started. In general, the sedentary Koryak are saving of their fuel, even in settlements where there is no lack of wood. If guests arrive during the day, a fire is made to  make tea and to warm the house.

Fig. 100. Lamp made of the Vertebra of a Whale. Length, 14 cm.

         To a certain degree, the lamp of the Reindeer Koryak heats the sleeping-tent in which it burns; but food and tea are prepared on the hearth, in the outer tent.3 I have never seen food heated over the lamp in the sleeping- tent. Tea and boiled food are served by the women in the sleeping-tent. This, more than the lamp, aids in heating the sleeping-room. Over the lamp, however, wet footwear and mittens are hung to dry;  but generally the drying of wet clothes is done in front of the hearth in the outer tent, or by freezing them   out   of doors,  beating off the ice,  and then  warming them by the  fire.

         Properly speaking, the Koryak have no furniture whatever. The favorite position is sitting on the ground or on skins, with legs either crossed Turkish fashion or stretched out, or crouching. In the houses of the Maritime Koryak,  the low thresholds which divide the sleeping-places from the middle part of the house are always used as seats; and in the outer tents of the Reindeer Koryak the sledges, which are brought in, and on which lie the bags of  provisions,  are utilized  for this purpose.


1  See p. 458.                                          2   See p. 459.                                         3 See p. 450.

72JESUP   NORTH   PACIFIC  EXPED.,   VOL.  VI,   PART   2.


568 

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

         Fig. 101 shows a stool of the Reindeer Koryak. It is made of reindeer-antlers still attached to the frontal bone. The beams and two tines of the antlers serve as legs, and two boards are tied to them to make the seat. This chair seems to be an imitation of a Russian bench. Nowadays, however, it is often found with the Reindeer Koryak. The Maritime Koryak also use, instead of chairs, the boxes in which they keep the tea-dishes. On Plate XX a girl is shown sitting by the fireside on such a box, and the other one is sitting  in a crouching position.   The use of tables is unknown to the Koryak.

With the exception of the Russianized natives, they place a board or a trough-shaped dish on the skins on which they sit, and put the carved meat or fish, with seal-oil, on it. The people sit around and eat, taking up the pieces with their hands. Often the box in which the tea-dishes are kept serves as a table. Others have a table-board made of two or three planks,

which is put on the box when they are eating, or drinking tea. However, in some houses of the Maritime Koryak, very small low tables, 30 cm. or 40 cm. high, may be found, at which the guests eat; but the Russianized Koryak of North Kamchatka and of the villages of the Okhotsk Sea south of the Gishiga River, who live in log-cabins, also use benches, chairs, tables, and beds, like their Russian  neighbors.

         With the introduction of metal cooking-vessels, these entirely superseded clay pots, and the method of cooking food by means of red-hot stones went out of use. Nowadays cooking is done only in iron and copper kettles  imported by merchants. The Koryak prize copper kettles particularly, asthey are durable; but they are not easily obtained, owing to their high price, and only the wealthy reindeer-breeders or Koryak engaged in trade or barter  can afford to buy them. Such kettles last a very long time. Of course, the tin lining wears off very soon, but the Koryak continue to cook in them. The Koryak smiths of the villages Paren and Kuel have learned to make kettles from imported sheet-iron. In imitation of our metal waterpails, they give them the shape of a truncated cone, with a wire handle by which to suspend them over the fire. These kettles do not last long. The thin sheet- iron soon burns through, or is eaten through by rust in the damp summer.

        At present the teapot is another metal appurtanance of the household. The dealers import chiefly copper pots, but some are found of enamelled white iron.


  569

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.  

         A stone bone-breaking set is one of the indispensable belongings of every household. It consists of a large stone slab or anvil, called ilo'in ("board- stone") and a stone pestle (cip'iin) or hammer. Both are selected from among the water-worn pebbles on the banks of rivers. The Koryak them-  selves do not work them into shape. The board-stone must have one smootheven surface; and the hammer, an oblong shape, round at the ends. Two hammers are shown in Fig.   102.     On the board-stone, bones are crushed with

the hammer to extract the marrow or to boil out the tallow for lighting; hard dried fish is softened on it or pounded with berries; roots are pounded for cooking gruel and for making puddings; and meat with fat is pounded for cutlets.1

         Edible herbs, chiefly willow-herb (lbiu angustifolium), are chopped on the stone anvil by means of stone hatchets. Two of these are shown in Fig. 103. The cutting-edge is sharpened by chipping, just like the edges of stone arrows and knives.2 The handle of the hatchet a is made of a willow rod split in two and bent double, the hatchet being set between the two bent halves, the free ends of which are tied together with thongs. Another method  of hafting is shown in b. The wooden handle is placed on one side of the hatchet, while on the other a short stick is applied, the ends of which are tied firmly to the handle. The grooved stone axe is held firmly between the two sticks.

         The  Koryak drink  much  water.     They often get up in the night to take a   drink   of  cold   water,   of  which   they   always have a supply in wooden or


1 See p. 578.                                                                  2 See Chapter X.


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JOCHELSON, THE KORYAK.

skin pails. The Maritime Koryak carry a supply of fresh water when hunting in their skin boats. In order to avoid the necessity of melting snow and ice, in winter, water is generally taken from ice-holes. All the settlements of the Maritime Koryak are situated on the banks or at the mouths of rivers. The Reindeer Koryak, too, place their tents in river valleys. Plate xxx, Fig. I, represents   an   evening scene by an ice-hole in the village Big Itkana, where

girls and boys come with buckets to fetch water for the night. The water is poured into the bucket with a wooden scoop. Water-buckets are made of strong  thong- seal skin or of aspen or poplar wood. Fig. 104 shows a skin bucket. Among the Eskimo are found buckets of the same type, made of seal-skin and sewed together with sinew-thread.1 They are carried in a different man- ner however. The Eskimo bucket has a handle made of  a strip of leather, like a regular bucket-handle, while the Koryak bucket has two loops sewed on near the mouth. To these loops are tied the ends of a broad seal-skin carrying-strap, which is passed over the forehead, the bucket resting on the back, a method of carrying burdens employed by many Indian tribes.

         The thick wooden bucket is also cylindrical. The material is supplied by a part of a straight and solid trunk of an aspen or poplar tree, which is hollowed out by means of an adze, and finished with a simple knife. The   wooden   bottom   is   inserted   from   above.     Wooden buckets are carried by women in the same way as seal-skin buckets (see  Plate xxxv, Fig.  2).

         The wooden bucket is used for many purposes: when hunting sea-mam-mals, it serves as a receptacle for the harpoon-heads; in the house, seal-oil is kept in it; berries are also kept in both wooden and skin buckets; soup for feeding dogs is carried out of the house in wooden buckets.

         The material for spoons and ladles is furnished by the antlers of the reindeer and the horns of the mountain-sheep. Some are made of wood. Broth is sipped from deep ladles; thick porridge or gruel is eaten with spoons: therefore spoons are shallow (Fig. 105, a). Bone teaspoons (Fig. 105, b) are made in imitation of imported metal spoons. Wealthy Reindeer Koryak pur- chase metal table-spoons-, some of them even have silver spoons.

         Wooden plates, dishes, elongated platters and trays, and wooden and bone dippers,   are   of the   same   type   as   those   of the Chukchee,2 and I shall not


1 See, for exampje, Kroeber, The Eskimo of Smith Sound, Fig. 31, p. 288; and Boas, Baffin-Land Eskimo,
Fig   142, p. 99.

2 See Bogoras, The Chukchee, Vol. VII of this series, p.  189.


Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. VI.                                                                                             Plate XXX.

Fig.  i.    Women drawing Water.

 

Fig.   2.      WOMEN   CUTTING   SALMON.

 

The Koryak.


571

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

dwell   on   their   description.      Among   the   wealthy Koryak, imported  earthen-ware or enamelled  iron plates may be found.

         Fig. 106 represents a small wooden bucket with a lid, for picking ber-ries. It is hollowed out in the same way as the large water-buckets, but it is furnished with two alder hoops,  a lid,  and a carrying-strap.

The chamber-vessel (Fig. 107) is an indispen-sable part of the household goods. The Koryak do not go out of doors at night to void urine, whilechildren even go to stool indoors. The chamber- vessel is hollowed out of an aspen or poplar tree. It   is   usually   made   with   the   brim   bent   inward  to

 

 

 

Fig. 105. Spoon made of Horn of Mountain- Sheep (Length, 20 cm.), Bone Teaspoon (Length, 15 cm.)

 

prevent the contents from spilling when the vessel is carried up the ladder of the underground house. The Reindeer Koryak keep it in the corner of the inner sleep- ing-tent, and its shape prevents its being upset by sleepers. If the vessel  is full,  the mis-

  tress raises the edge of the front side of the tent and pours the contents out into the outer tent. In the morning the women carry it out ot doors and ur   the   urine   on   the   snow,   which   then attracts the reindeer.1    Instead of


1 See p. 483.


572    

                       JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

a wooden chamber-vessel, rich reindeer-breeders use imported brass wash-basins. Once when I had to remain over night at the tent of a wealthy reindeer-breeder, I had to sleep in the same tent with the proprietors. As soon as I entered the inner tent, and before I had had time to warm up and drink my tea, the host, as a special mark of courtesy, brought in the brass basin and placed it in the corner of the  tent.

         Animal Food. Animal food is the principal, if not the exclusive nourishment of the Koryak, particularly of the Reindeer Koryak, who use less vegetable food than do the Maritime people. Animal food consists of fish, sea-mammals, reindeer,  mountain-sheep, bears, birds,  and shell-fish.

         Fish, fresh and sun-dried, is the main food of the Maritime Koryak. During the summer and autumn, boiled fresh fish is eaten. The people are also fond of frying fresh fish on spits. Heads of fish are eaten raw, the cartilages being considered dainties. In winter, fish is eaten both cooked and raw. Raw fish is eaten frozen and sliced into thin chips. The eating of frozen fish is, however, much more widespread among the Arctic tribes west of the Stanovoi Ridge and among the  Russians.

         Dried fish (called by the Russian settlers "yukola") is prepared by the women on the river-bank or seashore during the summer fishing-season, and is preserved for winter use. Plate xxx, Fig. 2, shows how the women cut fresh dog-salmon for drying it in the sun. First the head is cut off, which is dried separately. Then the maw is ripped open with a knife, and the entrails are taken out. The roe is dried separately, and the flesh is cut in broad strips along both sides of the backbone. These strips remain joined at the tail, and are thus hung over the poles of the drying-frames. On sunny days the drying proceeds very fast. In three or four days the yukola is ready. In clear weather the preliminary drying is done on open drying-  frames, as shown on Plate XXXI. When dry, the yukola is taken off from the drying-frames and hung under the platform of the storehouse. In autumn, when the nights are cold, and there is no danger of rot being caused by dampness, the dried fish are piled up and placed in the storehouse. The sun-dried fish is covered with a dry crust, beneath which the flesh remains soft, and the fat is preserved; but the process of air-drying rarely goes on  without trouble. On hot days, in the absence of winds, numerous large flies settle on the fish, and lay their eggs. After two or three days, larvae come out, which  devour the juicy part of the yukola, and leave only a thin, dry, and tasteless layer on the skin. The preparation of the yukola fares still worse if foggy and rainy days prevail during the period of the main catch. Though hung up under special platforms or under the platform of the store- house, the sliced fish does not dry, but begins to decompose, and the decay- ing pieces become detached from the skin and fall to the ground; so that in  a wet summer, even  when the catch of fish has been excellent, the Koryak


Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. VI.                                                           Plate XXXI.

Drying Salmon.

The Koryak.


573

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK. 

may remain with a scanty supply for winter use, owing to their ignorance of other methods of preserving fish than by sun-drying. The weather most favorable for preparing the yukola is during clear cool days, with a strong wind that scatters the flies. In general, yukola made of dog-salmon seemed to me tasteless and dry; it cannot be compared with the fat juicy yukola made of the Coregonidce of the Arctic rivers. Hence the Koryak, when eating dog-salmon  yukola,  dip  it in  seal-oil. 

         After the strips of meat for yukola have been cut off, some flesh still remains on the skeleton of the fish. A portion of this is cut off in thin slices, and dried in the sun on the sand or gravel of the river-banks. The skeletons of the fish are hung up to dry on ordinary drying-frames, and in winter   serve as food for the dogs.

        It is interesting to note that in cutting up herring, the ancient bone knife only is used. Such a knife, made of the jaw-bone of a white whale, is   represented   in   Fig. 108.     All   other   fish is cut with modern iron knives.  This may be due to the con-venience of the bone knife, which is similarly still usedby the Koskimo of VancouverIsland for cutting herring, or it

Fig. 108.  Bone Herring-Knife. Length, 22 cm. 

may be a taboo pointing to the fact that in former times herring played a more important part in the food of the Koryak than it does now. With reference to other species of fish, a taboo is observed of not cutting them across the body, but length- wise only.

         I have already mentioned that in certain settlements, as in Itkana, where the catch of large salmon is small, the principal winter supply of fish consists of uyo'k (Salmo socialis). This small fish is dried on the sand or gravel of  the shore, on which it is spread in a thick layer. Heaps of fish are frequently turned over with rakes (Fig.   109) the teeth of which are made of

Fig. 109.  Fish- Rake. Length, 60 cm.

reindeer-antler. This fish, like the dried dog-salmon, is eaten in winter, dipped in seal-oil; or it is mixed with roots and boiled, and eaten as a gruel. If the summer is rainy, the heaps of Salmo socialis turn into one mal-odorous mass, which freezes with the advent of cold nights. In Itkana every  house- owner   stores   up   for   winter   two   or  three  storehouses full of this small  fish.


574

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

In settlements where dog-salmon is the main supply, this species of smelt is eaten by men only in the years when no dog-salmon has been caught. In years when there is plenty of dog-salmon, it is used only for making a soup for  the  dogs.

         Sea-mammals, mainly seals, occupy a prominent place in the household of the Maritime Koryak; but since the supplies do not hold out long, meat of sea-mammals is not eaten often. Towards spring, hardly any storehouse contains meat of sea-mammals. In summer and autumn their meat, parti- cularly that of young ones, is consumed in large quantities, and considered a more toothsome food than  fish.

         The meat of seals and other sea-mammals is principally eaten boiled. There is reason to think that in former times meat was cooked in clay pots. Late in autumn, when the killed seals freeze, the Koryak preserve them entire, if not wanted for immediate consumption. At other times they are cut up right after the hunt, lest they decay. The blubber is cut into pieces and tried out. Until cold weather sets in, the oil is kept in bags made of a seal's stomach or of bladders. For this purpose a wooden pipe is inserted in the opening of the bladder or bag. It serves as a neck to the soft bottle, and is closed with a wooden or bone stopper, the edges of the bladder or stomach being fastened tight to the pipe with a sinew thread. In winter, seal-oil is frozen and cut with a knife as needed. The meat of gutted seals is cut into small pieces and placed in the storehouse in troughs or buckets,   here it is preserved until cooking time. Seal-meat is sometimes dried in the sun in summer. It is cut into thin slices and hung up on the poles of drying-frames, or it is spread out on the ground. On journeys, seal-meat is also eaten raw, cut with a knife into small slices.

         The meat of the white whale, on account of its taste, is prized more highly than seal-meat, and its oil is particularly well liked. The white-whale oil is entirely free from the unpleasant smell of seal-oil. A single white whale yields between six hundred and twelve hundred pounds, or more, of a light-colored oil, which congeals at 40 or 50 C. The fried skin of the white whale, too,  is considered a dainty.

         In Bering-Sea the meat of walrus and sea-lions is highly valued; but both animals are becoming more and more scarce, owing to their pursuit by poaching schooners. Walrus used to be particularly numerous in Karagha Bay and in the coves of Karagha Island. Even now, Koryak hunters, not only from the villages of Oare'nin  and Kichin, but also from Alut, undertake walrussing-expedition to Karagha Island  in summer in their skin boats.

         The reindeer is the source of the principal foodsupply of the Reindeer Koryak. The marrow, kidney, liver, gristle, and tendons of the legs, which are torn off with the teeth, are eaten raw, after the reindeer is killed. The marrow  is  treated as a dainty.  It is obtained by breaking the bone with a


 


576

 JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

side of the Taigonos Peninsula, who wander with their herds near the Russian villages or near the main trail, and are often visited by Russians on their dog-sledges send out in summer several members of their families to prepare a supply of sun-dried fish for winter use, and for food for their guests and for their dogs, that they may not have to kill too many reindeer for this purpose. A whole small reindeer suffices for but a single feeding of a team of ten or twelve dogs.

         Generally speaking, the Reindeer Koryak are very fond of eating dried dog-salmon and "sea-morsels," (i. e., the meat and blubber of sea-mammals). They seek every opportunity to satisfy this craving, which is possibly a sur- vival from a period when the present nomadic reindeer-breeders were still maritime hunters. As soon as the snow is in good condition for driving, the Reindeer Koryak begin to appear on sledges in the villages of the Maritime Koryak to obtain "sea-food," and barter entire carcasses of frozen seal, oil, dog-salmon, and skin of the white whale.  Each Reindeer Koryak has among the Maritime people a friend who supplies him with sea-food, and who, in his turn, later on visits the nomad camp of the Reindeer Koryak to get reindeer-meat.

         With all the craving of the Reindeer Koryak for the "sea-morsels," they dislike subsisting long on sea-food. Thus a wealthy Taigonos reindeer-breeder told me that his sons had lived too long on the coast; subsisting on fish and seal alone, and had become completely worn out. He then went to his herd and killed a reindeer for them, that they might regain their strength. On the other hand, the Maritime Koryak like to obtain reindeer meat and fat, even when they have plenty of fish; while in winter, when fishing is poor, they often visit the nomad camp of the Reindeer Koryak either to buy rein- deer-meat or to obtain it by begging.

         In describing bird-hunting,1 I mentioned that its economic importance is slight. The Koryak do not like sea-gulls, and consider them tasteless; but when food is scarce, they do not disdain them. Early in summer, previous to the fishing-season, the Maritime Koryak eat all kinds of sea-fowl; but when fishing and sealing begin, bird-hunting ceases. The Koryak are very fond of birds' eggs. During the nesting-season they undertake expeditions  to the islands in skin boats to gather eggs, which are collected by hundreds and eaten boiled right after they have been gathered, or on the following  days.   They do not discriminate between new-laid and rotten eggs. Once I was present when some Koryak were eating boiled eggs which were so decomposed that a strong odor was noticeable a long way off. In many eggs there were already half-hatched birds, but this did not in the least prevent the Koryak  from relishing their food.


1   See p. 557.



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JOCHELSON, THE KORYAK.

the mice resort to suicide by hanging themselves in the crotches of branches. The following roots are dug out of mice-holes: bulbs of martagon (Frtil- laria sarana); Claytonia acutifolia Wild, called "sweet-root" by the Rus- sians, I'nat by the Koryak; roots of wild sorrel (Polygonum polymorphum) ; the root called me'tcn by the Koryak and "bitter-root" by the Russians;  and

the roots of sedge grass (called pa'lxo by the Kor- yak). All these roots are eaten both raw and cooked. \\ hen eaten raw, they are dipped in seal-oil or poun- ded with roe. They are cooked with fish and rein- deer-meat, either in the form of a porridge made of roots ground together with   fish,   or   by   cooking roots in seal or reindeer blood.

 

Fig. 111. Picks for gathering Roots. Greatest length, 56 cm., 37 cm.

         Willow-herb (Epilobium angustfolium; Koryak, me'nmet occupies the first place among edible herbs. The stems of willow- herb are dried in bunches in the sun or over the hearth, and are chopped with stone hatchets (see Fig. 103). Pieces of  seal-blubber or reindeer-fat are dipped into the powder thus obtained, and are thus eaten. The flour is also made into a pud- ding by grinding the crushed herb with berries and melted seal-oil. In Kamchatka the pith is taken from the split stems, dried in the sun, and stored away for winter use. The fresh leaves of willow-herb are used instead of tea, when the latter is lacking. In northern Kamchatka the Koryak use for food the stem of the sweet Heracleum spandilium.

         Berries as well as roots are used fresh, raw, or cooked in porridge made of blood, or of cooked fish or meat. Berries also form an ingredient in puddings made of ground fish-roe, fat, and pounded fish. A favorite dish is furnished by the pounded flesh of sun-dried dog-salmon mixed with seal-oil and blea- berries. This mixture is pounded in wooden trays or dishes with wooden or bone pestles. A bone pestle is represented in Fig. 112. The following is a list of the principal berries used: Empetrum nigrum,  Vaccinium uhginosum


579

JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

Vaccinium Vitis idcea, Rubus chamcemorus, and also Loniceva carulea and Prunus padus (in northern Kamchatka). Bleaberries (Vaccnium uliginosum) are considered the best. In Kamchatka the fruit of Prunus padus is crushed, and dried  in  the sun in  the form  of flat cakes.

         Puddings  made of crushed berries,  roe,  fish and seal oil, are frozen and then   eaten,    pieces   being   chopped   off  with   a   knife.     These   puddings   are considered a treat for visitors, and excellent travelling-provisions.

        Berries are picked in summer and autumn. The Reindeer Kor- yak have more opportunity than the Maritime Koryak to pick the cloudberry (Rubus chamamorus), which   prows   in   the   tundra:  but they do not store it, and they eat it right after picking.

Fig. 112. Bone Pestle. Length, 23 cm.

         Other food-plants are the fruit of the wild rose (Rosa alpina Pall.), the mountain ash, sea-colewort, cedarnuts, and willow-bark. Sea-colewort (Alaria esculanta; Koryak, me'cgomei) is eaten not only by the Maritime Koryak, but also by the Reindeer Koryak when hunting on the seacoast in summer. It is cut with a knife, and cooked with seal or reindeer blood, or also with reindeer-meat. Cedar-nuts are gathered late in autumn, extracted from their cones, and preserved in small skin bags. It is interesting to note that the Koryak eat the nuts with their shells on. The inner portion of willow-bark is also consumed. It is stripped off the trees, crushed with a stone hammer, and cooked with fish.     It is also  chewed raw.

         To the vegetable foods used by the Reindeer Koryak must also be added he contents of the reindeer's first stomach, which consists of reindeer-moss not completely digested. This greenish mass is cooked with reindeer-blood. This food, however, is now beginning to drop out of use. Wealthy reindeer- breeders usually throw away the contents of the reindeer stomach; but when other food is lacking, the herdsmen  eat them.

         The winter supplies of berries, roots, and other edible plants, are not large, and do not figure as an essential or constant ingredient of nourishment. Towards the middle of winter, hardly any supplies of vegetable food are left; and towards spring, when animal food is about to give out, all the vegetable food has been consumed.

        Flour and rice are sold by Russian dealers. These products may also be found at the government depot in Gishiga, where they are sold to the natives at cost price.

         The Koryak are very fond of these imported vegetable products, particu-larly of rice, of which gruel is cooked and eaten with seal-oil or reindeer-fat. They like wheat flour, but not rye flour.     It is mixed with water or blood, and


580 

  JOCHELSON, THE KORYAK.

boiled as a gruel. Most of the Koryak can rarely afford to have imported food, as they have no money with which to buy it. Biscuits and fresh bread also have the reputation of being good food; but these, too, very rarely come within their reach. In winter the cossaks and other Russian inhabitants take bread to the Koryak villages and camps, and exchange it for reindeer-meat and other products. Still the Koryak look upon biscuit and bread rather as a dainty, and not as a real food on which a human being can subsist. I have heard the Koryak say that when they eat too much bread, they suffer from stomach-ache.

         Tea came to be known after the people had come into contact with the Russians. At present its use is wide-spread everywhere. Most of the Koryak, however, have no tea in summer, as they lack the means to buy large supplies. The kind of tea used is brick-tea. To make tea, the brick is heated by the hearth, as a result of which it becomes soft and can be minced with a knife. The minced tea is boiled in a tea-pot. The tea decoction is strong, and almost black in color. Brick-tea is inferior to leaf-tea as a stimul- ant. The Koryak drink much tea, ten and more cups in succession, and do so several times a day, provided they find any one willing to treat them. Usually the Koryak drink tea after meals; but when guests are feasted, a light side-dish, like sun-dried fish, marrow from reindeer-legs, or berry-pudding, is served first, then tea, and finally meat dishes. Tea is served in the same  order by the other inhabitants of northeastern Siberia; for instance, by the Yakut, Tungus, and Yukaghir. A teapot and two or three cups of crockery or enamelled ware, with saucers, are found in nearly every house. They are preserved as treasures, in special boxes with holes chiselled out for the cups; or they are wrapped in soft rags. In the absence of a sufficient number of cups, they drink tea by turns, the women and children after the older people. Visitors usually bring their own cups with them. The Koryak also have home-made cups made of deer-antler and horn of the mountain-sheep. The  small tin cans in which our condensed milk was put up were very cleverly turned into cups with tin handles. The Koryak drink the hottest tea from them without burning their lips.

         Narcotics and Stimulants. The Koryak have also learned the use of tobacco from the Russians, and, like all other Siberian natives, they are passion- ately fond of it. But while others, the Chukchee among them, mainly smoke tobacco, very few smokers are found among the Koryak. Generally they chew it, more rarely they snuff it, or they use it in both ways. They use strong Russian leaf-tobacco, imported from the south of European Russia, in bunches of about two pounds each.

         For both chewing and snuffing, the tobacco is ground with ashes. Fig. 113 shows a wooden mortar with a pestle for grinding tobacco. W hen grinding   the   tobacco,   dried   leaves of cudweed (Gnaphalium  uliginosum  L.)


 


582

 JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

aspen-bark. Though the Koryak are not such passionate tobacco-consumers as the Yakut, Tungus, Yukaghir, and other Siberian natives, hardly a man is to be found who does not use tobacco in one form or another. Many of the women, however, hardly use tobacco at all; while among the tribes men- tioned above, not only every woman and adult girl, but even girls in their early teens, have their own pipes and tobacco-pouches; and the lack of tobacco is considered to be worse than  hunger.

         The Koryak are most passionate consumers of the poisonous crimson fly-garic, even more so than the related Kamchadal and Chukchee, probably because the fungus is most common in their territory. Some travellers, as Krasheninnikoff and Dittmar, were of the opinion that the fly-agaric was bought by the Koryak from Kamchatka. Thus, Dittmar says that there is no fly- agaric on the Taigonos Peninsula,1   and that it is brought there from Kam- chatka; while Krashennikoff 2  asserts that in general the Koryak have no fly-agaric, and that they get it from the Kamchadal. My own observations, however, have convinced me that not only is fly-agaric abundant all over the Koryak territory, but that the Koryak supply the Chukchee with it. In the middle of the month of August I saw in the valley of the Varkhalam River, not far from its mouth, an extensive field dotted with the characteristic crimson caps of the fly-agaric, with their white spots. In the villages of the Maritime Koryak, along the whole western coast of Penshina Bay, I knew individuals who were engaged in gathering and drying fly-agaric, and who carried on a very profitable trade in it. One Koryak from Alutorsk, who dealt in fly- agaric, is mentioned by Slunin.3

         The Koryak do not eat the fly-agaric fresh. The poison is then more effective, and kills more speedily. The Koryak say that three fresh fungi suffice to kill a person. Accordingly, fly-agaric is dried in the sun or over the hearth after it has been gathered. It is eaten by men only; at least, I never saw a woman drugged by it.4 The method of using it varies. As far as I could see, in the villages of Penshina Bay, the men, before eating it, first let the women chew it, and then swallow it. Bogoras 5   says that the Chukchee tear the fungus into pieces, chew it, and then drink water. Slunin  describesin the same way6 the Koryak method of using fly-agaric. In describing the use of fly-agaric by the Chukchee and Koryak, Dittmar 7  says that they chew it, and keep the quid in their mouths for a long time without swallowing it. Krasheninnikoff 8  says that the Kamchadal roll the dried fungus up in the form of a tube, and swallow it unchewed, or soak it in a decoction of willow-herb and drink the tincture.


1 Dittmar, p. 451.        2 Krasheniinikoff, II, p.150.          :3  Slunin, I, p. 654.

4  Krasheninnikoff (II,  p. 150) says  that  the  Kamchadal  women  do not eat fly-agaric, but Dittmar (p.106)
cites the case of a Koryak woman (a shaman) who was intoxicated by it.
5  Bogoras, The Chukchee, Vol. VII of this series, p. 205.
6  Slunin, I, p. 655.               
7 Dittmar, p. 506.                 8 Krasheninnikoff, II. p.  147.



584

 JOCHELSON, THE  KORYAK.

afterwards.     I   was told  of two  old  men who also drank their own urine when intoxicated  by brandy,  and  that the  intoxication  was thus kept up.

         From three to ten dried fungi can be eaten without deadly effect. Some individuals are intoxicated after consuming three. Cases of death rarely occur. I was told of a case in which a Koryak swallowed ten mushrooms without feeling their effect. When he swallowed one more, vomiting set in, and he died. In the opinion of the Koryak, the spirits of the fly-agaric had choked him.1  They related that these spirits had come out with the matter vomited, in the shape of worms, and that they vanished underground.

         The Koryak were made acquainted with brandy by the Russians and by American whalers. Despite the prohibition issued by the Russian Government against the importation of brandy, it often finds its way in winter into the Koryak villages and camps, being taken there on trading-trips by Russian merchants. Whalers take it to the coast settlements in summer. Like all other primitive tribes, the Koryak are passionate consumers of brandy, and dealers often obtain an arctic or red fox in exchange for one wineglassful of brandy. To my question as to which they preferred, brandy or fly-agaric, many Koryak answered, "Fly-agaric." Intoxication from the latter is considered more pleasurable, and the reaction is  less painful, than that following brandy.Like fly-agaric, brandy is drunk chiefly by elderly men. Old people do not give it to the young, that they themselves may not be deprived of the pleasure; and if young people or women happen to obtain brandy, they frequently give it up to the older members of the family. Two herd-owners whom I met on the Palpal were entirely unacquainted with this drink. Some Koryak in the coast villages have learned from the Russian Cossacks how to make brandy of bleaberries. They subject the berries to fermentation, and by means of a pipe distil the liquid from one iron kettle into another, the  latter serving as a refrigerator. The result is a rather strong liquor of such disgusting taste and odor that the mere attempt to taste it nauseated me. Krasheninnikoff 2  says that the Cossacks in Kamchatka and, following their example, the Kamchadal, distilled brandy from "sweet grass" (Heracleum sphandilium).

         Meals. The Koryak are rather moderate in their use of food. Such gluttons as are seen among the Yakut are rarely found among them. They eat twice a day in the morning, soon after rising; and at night, before going to bed. If the food-supply is abundant, they take a light third meal in the middle of the day. The Reindeer Koryak usually eat reindeer-meat both morning and evening; while the Maritime Koryak generally eat sun-dried fish in the morning, and seal-meat, if there be any on hand, in the evening. In general, the principal meal is taken in the evening. The habit of eating heartily before bedtime is widespread throughout northern Siberia.


1 On the religious attitude towards fly-agaric, see Part I, p.  120.               2  Krasheninnikoff, II, p. 406.


 


586

 JOCHELSON, THE KORYAK.

Kamchadal   ports   Tigil and  Petropavlovsk,  and  that are  used  for  clothing by the  Kamchadal and  the  Russians in  Kamchatka.

         Management of Food-Supplies.   I  have had occasion to observe many cases    of   lack    of   foresight   in   northern   Siberia.    Thus   the   Yukaghir,   in the   early   part   of  winter,   squander   their   supplies   of  fish,   and   regale their Yakut   visitors   liberally,   while towards spring they go hungry.  The lack of restraint   or foresight also hinders the growth of the Tungus herds.   A poor Tungus will kill his riding-reindeer for meat more readily than will a wealthy Koryak   kill one that has not been  broken.     On this abstinence is based the increase of the Koryak herds.     A herd-owner, like the simple herdsman, while tending the herd far from home, will feed on carrion or will go hungry rather than   kill   a   reindeer   for   himself.     Some   travellers   have   complained of the stinginess of the Reindeer Koryak and of their reluctance to kill reindeer for their   guests,   to   whom   they   serve   the   meat of animals fallen from disease. Notwithstanding   all   his abstemiousness,  the owner of a herd, as I  have said above,   may   kill   reindeer for actually starving people, and at times becomes recklessly extravagant in order to show off his wealth.

         The Maritime Koryak consume the provisions laid up in their storehouses economically, and hide them from visitors, lest they might ask for some. In the village Kamenskoye, where the main supply of fish consists of dog-salmon, I was told that for years at a time full storehouses of dried uyo'k (Salmo socialis) are kept for the contingency of a poor catch of dog-salmon.

         Thanks to such foresight, and to the relative abundance of fish and sea-mammals in Koryak waters, actual famines are very rare among the Maritime Koryak. However, a great famine occurred in the late seventies along the coasts of Penshina Bay. I did not succeed in learning the exact date. During that summer almost no fish entered the rivers. As a result of this, there were almost no sea-mammals, either, near the coast. Therefore there was not enough food for the winter; and in spring a genuine famine set in, especially when the snow began to melt, and communication with the Reindeer Koryak and the Russians became impossible. I was told that during that  famine nearly half of the population of the Itkana villages and a part of the Paren people died. Since then no such disastrous summer has recurred, although toward spring food  has been  scanty every year.

         Thanks to their herds, the Reindeer Koryak are secure against such famine. P oor people usually keep near the herd of a wealthy kinsman, or follow him and avail themselves of his gifts when in need. Murrain, which frequently appears among the reindeer, naturally undermines the prosperity of the herd-owners; but during the epidemic there can be no famine, as the Koryak eat the fallen  reindeer.



Jesup North Pacific Expedition, Vol. VI.                                                                 Plate XXXII.

FIG. 1.  MAN IN WINTER COSTUME

FIG. 2 WOMAN IN COMBINATION-SUIT

The Koryak.