Raven (Tsam figure)

  • Хэрээ / Xeree
  • Keriy-e
  • bya rog / khwa gdong
  • n.e.
  • Tsam figure
  • begin 20th century
  • Wood
  • Height: not filled / Width: not filled / Depth: not filled
  • Collection: Hans Leder, Inv. Nr.: 74720
  • Weltmuseum Wien
  • © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM
Several small wooden figures depicting expressively characters of the Tsam dance ceremony (T. ´cham), one of the most important Buddhist festivities, form an extraordinary group within the Leder collections. Twelve figures are housed in the Weltmuseum Wien (the former Museum für Völkerkunde Wien).During theTsam performance the Raven tries to touch and desecrate the offering (Sor), which is placed in the innermost circle of the dance field. Flapping its wings, it circles around the Sor. It is prevented from coming too close to the Sor by the Lords of the Cemetery and the two Heroes, who continuously chase it away. Another task of the Raven together with the Lords of the Cemetery was (is) to keep the crowd of spectators at a suitable distance. It was believed that a blow from the sticks of the Lords of the Cemetery or the wings of the Raven meant misfortune. The actor of the Raven wore a raven-head mask and a dark costume with appliquéd feathers. In the revived Tsam dance the heroes, Büüwei baatar or Beil baatar and Shijir baatar, wearing armour and helmets also use their lances to protect the Sor offering from the Raven. (Lang 2013: 66, Forman and Rintschen 1967: 75-76, Majer 2008: 109).
© M.-K. Lang
Raven (Tsam figure)
/ Mongolia / begin 20th century / Weltmuseum Wien / © KHM mit MVK und ÖTM