Hunting with eagles

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Hunting with eagles is a traditional form of falconry found throughout the Eurasian steppe, practiced by Kazakh and Kyrgyz people in contemporary Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as diasporas in Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia, and Xinjiang, China. Though these Turkic people are most famous for hunting with golden eagles, they have been known to train northern goshawks, peregrine falcons, saker falcons, and more.[1]

Terminology[edit]

In both Kazakh and Kyrgyz, the two primary languages of Central Asian falconry, there are separate terms for those who hunt with birds of prey in general, and those who hunt with eagles.

In Kazakh, there are two general terms for people who capture, train, and hunt with various birds of prey: "qusbegi" and "sayatshy". Qusbegi comes from the words "qus", meaning "bird", and "bek", meaning "lord", the title thus literally translating as "lord of birds." In Old Turkic, "kush begi" was a title used for the khan's most respected advisors, reflecting the valued role of a ruler's court falconer.[2] "Sayat" is a noun used to describe falconry in general, and the word for "falconer" is formed by adding the ending -shy, a suffix used for professional titles in Turkic languages. Similarly, the Kazakh word for golden eagle is "bürkit", and the word for "hunter with eagles" is bürtkitshi. By analogy, the word for "hunter with goshawks" is qarshyghashy, from the word for goshawk, qarshygha.

In Kyrgyz, the general word for people who capture, train, and hunt with various birds of prey is "münüshkör". A falconer who specifically hunts with eagles is a "bürkütchü", from the Kyrgyz word for golden eagle, "bürküt".

History[edit]

Khitans eagle hunters on horse, (Song Dynasty).

Khitans[edit]

In 936-45 AD the Khitans, a nomadic people from Manchuria, conquered part of north China.[3] In 960 AD China was conquered by the Song dynasty.[4] From its beginnings, the Song dynasty was unable to completely control the Khitan who had already assimilated much of Chinese culture. Throughout its 300-year rule of China, the Song had to pay tribute to the Khitan to keep them from conquering additional Song territory.[5] Despite the fact that the Khitans assimilated Chinese culture, they retained many nomadic traditions, including eagle hunting[6] (see the unknown Chinese painting from Song dynasty).

Jurchen[edit]

The hai dong qing was an important breed of hunting eagle for Jurchen tribes. The Khitan extorted this kind of eagle from Jurchen but ended in revolt.

Kyrgyz[edit]

In 1207, the Kyrgyz nomads surrendered to Genghis Khan's son Jochi. Under Mongol rule, the Kyrgyz preserved their nomadic culture as well as eagle falconry tradition until the 1990s.[7][8] Archaeologists trace back falconry in Central Asia to the first or second millennium BC.[9] [10]

Kazakhs[edit]

During the communist period in Kazakhstan, many Kazakhs fled for Mongolia,[11] settling down in Bayan Ulgii, an area that has been designated for the Kazakhs of Mongolia today. Kazakhs (Altaic Kazakhs or Altai-Kazakhs) living in Bayan-Ölgii Province of Mongolia continue to hunt with eagles today. There are an estimated 250 eagle hunters in the Western Mongolian province.[12][13][14] Their falconry custom, so-called 'horse-riding eagle falconry', is unique in practice only with trained Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos daphanea) on horseback. Their hunting target is almost limited to Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) or Corsac Fox (Vulpes corsac).[15] In the first week of October, 70 eagle hunters gather for the annual Golden Eagle Festival of Mongolia [16][17] They use eagles to hunt foxes and hare during the cold winter months when it is easier to see the gold colored foxes against the snow.[18][19] Many Kazakh traditions have been preserved by the Kazakhs in Mongolia, eagle hunting being amongst them. Although the Kazakh government has made efforts to lure the practitioners of these Kazakh traditions back to Kazakhstan, most Kazakhs have remained in Mongolia.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Keen, Dennis. 2014. 'The Central Asian Falconry Project'. [2]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2012. ‘Contemporary Falconry in Altai-Kazakh in Western Mongolia’The International Journal of Intangible Heritage (vol.7), pp. 103–111. [3]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2012. ‘Ethnoarhchaeology of Horse-Riding Falconry’, The Asian Conference on the Social Sciences 2012 - Official Conference Proceedings, pp. 167–182. [4]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2012. ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Arts and Knowledge for Coexisting with Golden Eagles: Ethnographic Studies in “Horseback Eagle-Hunting” of Altai-Kazakh Falconers’, The International Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences Research, pp. 307–316. [5]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2012. ‘The Art of Horse-Riding Falconry by Altai-Kazakh Falconers’. In HERITAGE 2012 (vol.2) - Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, edited by Rogério Amoêda, Sérgio Lira, & Cristina Pinheiro, pp. 1499–1506. Porto: Green Line Institute for Sustainable Development. ISBN 978-989-95671-8-4.
  • Soma, Takuya. 2012. ‘Horse-Riding Falconry in Altai-Kazakh Nomadic Society: Anthropological Researches in Summertime Activities of Falconers and Golden Eagle’. Japanese Journal of Human and Animal Relation 32: pp. 38–47 (written in Japanese).
  • Soma, Takuya. 2013. ‘Ethnographic Study of Altaic Kazakh Falconers’, Falco: The Newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group 41, pp. 10–14. [6]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2013. ‘Ethnoarchaeology of Ancient Falconry in East Asia’, The Asian Conference on Cultural Studies 2013 - Official Conference Proceedings, pp. 81–95. [7]
  • Soma, Takuya. 2013. ‘Hunting Arts of Eagle Falconers in the Altai-Kazakhs: Contemporary Operations of Horse-Riding Falconry in Sagsai County, Western Mongolia’. Japanese Journal of Human and Animal Relation 35: pp. 58–66 (written in Japanese).
  • Soma, Takuya & Battulga, Sukhee. 2014. 'Altai Kazakh Falconry as Heritage Tourism: “The Golden Eagle Festival” of Western Mongolia', "The International Journal of Intangible Heritage vol. 9", edited by Alissandra Cummins, pp. 135–148. Seoul: The National Folk Museum of Korea. [8]
  • Takuya Soma. 2014. ‘Eagle Hunters in Action: hunting practice of Altaic Kazakh falconers in Western Mongolia’, Falco: The Newsletter of the Middle East Falcon Research Group 44, pp. 16–20. [9]
  • Takuya Soma. 2014. Human and Raptor Interactions in the Context of a Nomadic Society: Anthropological and Ethno-Ornithological Studies of Altaic Kazakh Falconry and its Cultural Sustainability in Western Mongolia (PhD Thesis submitted to University of Kassel, 20 August 2014)
  • 相馬拓也 2008 「形象なき文化遺産としての狩猟技術: キルギス共和国イシク・クル湖岸における鷹狩猟のエスノグラフィ」, 『国士舘大学地理学報告2007(第16号)』: pp. 99–106. [10]
  • 相馬拓也 2012「アルタイ=カザフ鷹匠による騎馬鷹狩猟: イヌワシと鷹匠の夏季生活誌についての基礎調査」『ヒトと動物の関係学会誌(vol. 32)』: pp. 38–47.
  • 相馬拓也 2013「アルタイ=カザフ鷹匠たちの狩猟誌: モンゴル西部サグサイ村における騎馬鷹狩猟の実践と技法の現在」『ヒトと動物の関係学会誌(vol.35)』: pp. 58–66.
  • 相馬拓也 2014 「イヌワシと鷲使いにみる「ヒトと動物の調和遺産」の可能性:モンゴル西部アルタイ系カザフ鷹狩文化の伝統知とその持続性の現場から」『日本地理学会発表要旨集 (2014年度日本地理学会春季学術大会)』[11]
  • 日本放送協会(NHK). 2003. 『地球に好奇心:大草原にイヌワシが舞う~モンゴル・カザフ族 鷹匠の親子~』: NHKエンタープライズ(co-produced by 群像舎), (on air: 10:05-10:57, 13 December 2003), NHK-BS2 Television.
  • 日本放送協会(NHK). 2010. 『アジアンスマイル: 僕とイヌワシの冬物語~モンゴル・サグサイ村~』: NHKエンタープライズ(co-produced by 株式会社グループ現代), (on air: 18:30-18:50, 16 January 2010), NHK BS1 Television.
  • 日本放送協会(NHK). 2015. 『地球イチバン: 地球最古のイーグルハンター』: NHK文化福祉部制作, (on air: 22:00-22:50, 29 January 2015), NHK総合.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Keen, Dennis. "Kyrgyz Falconers Use Falcons, Too". The Central Asian Falconry Project. Retrieved 30 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Gibb, Sir H. A. R. The Encyclopaedia of Islam. p. 18. 
  3. ^ The Art of War by Sun Tzu - Special Edition by Sun Tzu and Lionel Giles (2005) p.170
  4. ^ China: Its History and Culture (4th Edition) by W. Scott Morton, Charlton M. Lewis, and Charlton Lewis (2004) p.100
  5. ^ 5 Steps to a 5: AP World History (5 Steps to a 5) by Peggy Martin (2004) p.115
  6. ^ Eagle Dreams: Searching for Legends in Wild Mongolia by Stephen J. Bodio (2003) p. 26
  7. ^ Soma, Takuya. 2007. ‘Kyrgyz Falconry & Falconers and its Transition’. In Proceedings of Great Silk Road Conference, Culture and Traditions, Then and Now 2006. 130-139. Tashkent: Academy of Uzbekistan/ UNESCO
  8. ^ 相馬拓也 2008「形象なき文化遺産としての狩猟技術: キルギス共和国イシク・クル湖岸における鷹狩猟のエスノグラフィ」『国士舘大学地理学報告2007(第16号)』: pp.99-106 [1]
  9. ^ http://www.firstscience.com/home/articles/origins/ancient-falconry_1381.html
  10. ^ http://iafor.org/offprints/acss2012-offprints/ACSS2012_offprint_0271.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/kz.htm
  12. ^ http://www.ijih.org/volumeMgr.ijih?cmd=volumeView&volNo=7&manuType=02
  13. ^ http://www.analytrics.org/Documents/HSS_Actes_Proceedings_2012.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.mefrg.org/images/falco/falco41.pdf
  15. ^ http://matadornetwork.com/trips/photo-essay-hanging-with-eaglehunters-in-western-mongolia
  16. ^ http://www.mongoliatourism.gov.mn/newsView/113
  17. ^ http://www.ijih.org/volumeMgr.ijih?cmd=volumeView&volNo=9&manuType=02
  18. ^ http://discover-bayanolgii.com/
  19. ^ https://ja.scribd.com/doc/248703715/Takuya-Soma-2014-Eagle-Hunters-in-Action-hunting-practice-of-Altaic-Kazakh-falconers-in-Western-Mongolia-Falco-No-44