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The Oroqen ethnic minority (2)

(People's Daily)

16:28, August 22, 2011

History

For generations the Oroqens had lived a life of hunting and fishing in the forests. They went on hunting expeditions in groups, and the game bagged was distributed equally not only to those taking part in the hunt, but also to the aged and infirm. The heads, entrails and bones of the animals killed were not distributed but were cooked and eaten by all. Later, deer antlers, which fetched a good price, were not distributed but went to the hunters who killed the animals.

On the eve of the founding of the PRC in 1949, polarization was quite marked in some localities where horses, on which Oroqens rode on hunting trips, belonged to individuals. The rich owned a large number of horses and the poor owned a few. Horses were hired out to those hunters who needed them, and payment took the form of game sent to horse owners. Such a practice gradually developed into rent and exploitation of man by man.

The Oroqens are an honest and friendly people who always treat their guests well. People who lodge in an Oroqen home would often hear the housewife say to the husband early in the morning: "I'm going to hunt some breakfast for our guests and you go to fetch water." When the guests have washed, the woman with gun slung over her shoulders would return with a roe back. The Oroqens are expert hunters. Both the males and females are sharp shooters on horseback. Boys usually start to go out on hunting trips with their parents or brothers at the age of seven or eight. And they would be stalking wild beasts in the deep forest all on their own at 17. A good hunter is respected by all and young maidens like to marry him.

Horses are indispensable to the Oroqens on their hunting expeditions. Hunters ride on horses, which also carry their family belongings and provisions as well as the game they killed over mountains and across marshes and rivers. The Oroqen horse is a very sturdy breed with extra-large hooves that prevent the animal from sinking into marshland.

Oroqen women, who also hunt, show marvelous skill in embroidering patterns of deer, bears and horses on pelts and cloth that go into the making of head gears, gloves, boots and garments. Oroqen women also make basins, bowls, boxes and other objects from birch barks. Engraved with various designs and dyed in color, these objects are artistic works that convey the idea of simplicity and beauty. Taught by their mothers while still very young to rub fur, dry meat and gather fruit in the forest, Oroqen girls start to do household work at 13 or 14. Pelts prepared by Oroqen women are soft, fluffy and light, and they are used in making garments, hats, gloves, socks and blankets as well as tents.

The Oroqens, who led a primitive life, used to have many taboos. One prohibited a woman from giving birth in the home. She had to do that in a little hut built outside the house in which she would be confined for a month before she could return home with her newborn.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:刘晓宁)

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