Even reindeer herders, mannequin to left of photo
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Even: Reindeer Herders.
The costume worn by this woman was typical of the clothing worn by both sexes, decorated with Venetian beads and dyed reindeer and moose hair embroidery. A brass chest ornament provides protection against disease.
The costume would not be complete without the pipe and tobacco pouch, for the Even were renowned as avid smokers.

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Map of Siberia showing homeland of Even people
The interior part of the Siberian Pacific, rarely visited by coastal dwellers, is dominated by people of a different stock. The Russians called them Tungus. This general name covers a great number of Native tribes that populated central and eastern Siberia from the Pacific shore, through five time zones, deep into inner Asia. Their languages belong to the same linguistic stock as the Manchu people of northern China; this makes the Tungus distant relatives of nomadic Turkic and Mongolic nations, the herdsmen and fierce warriors of the Eurasian steppe.

The ancient Tungus originated somewhere on the northeastern fringe of the steppe, probably between Lake Baikal and the upper Amur River. From this region, they moved north into the Siberian forest (or taiga) to become its complete masters and most skilled users.

In their age-old move through the mountains and forests of inner Siberia, the Tungus tribes gradually split into three major clusters. Those who moved northward and westward formed the largest portion, today known as the Evenk (current population 30,000 in Russia and about 20,000 in northern China). Those who moved eastward - to eastern Yakutia, Kolyma River, and the northern Okhotsk Sea - called themselves Even (presently about 17,000). Migrants into the Amur River basin mixed with local tribes and formed a number of small fishing and hunting nations.

- Igor Krupnik
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