Conical chym (in Siberia and in the north-east of the European part of Russia: a portable dwelling in the form of a tent of the conical form covered with skins, bark, felt, etc.) – dyu


The skeleton of the dwelling -

Choram dyu - cylindroconical

            At the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th centuries, Evens are settled in camps of reindeer herders and hunters, settlements of settled residents and borrowings. 

            Camps (stoybisha) - this type of settlement is typical mainly for nomadic Evenks, whose main occupation was reindeer herding, additional - land-hunting in the taiga, mountains and fishing. Thus, in the camps lived the evepients of the northeastern regions of Yakutia until the 20s of the 20th century. Usually the elders, and the place of chym - the head of the family, chose the location of the camp. The place for the camp was flat, on the bank of the river, next to the hill. In places with swamps and ravines or with dried up trees, camps were never built. It was believe that evil spirits, illnesses and death came to the surface of the earth through such places. After moving to a new place, the Evena were first treated to the spirit of fire - the protector and keeper of man, and slaughtered the deer to honor the spirit of the area and the spirit of fire. In addition, the yurt was never put in the place of the former location of the hearth of another's family. Such small temporary settlements were usually located on the routes of reindeer herding nomads. Two or three families inhabited each of them. The place for the camp was changed according to the seasons, according to which it was called or named after a river or mountain. Usually Evens families stayed at the same place for several days or weeks. Long stops (for one or two months) depended on the time of rutting, calving of deer or especially severe frosts.

           The camps of the Kolyma Evens, which consisted of one yurt or chym, from November to January, when hunters hunted squirrels, changed their location almost daily. The coldest months of the year (December-January), the Tomponian Evens preferred to be hold in one large camp, where they lived by fishing and domestic reindeer. In February, with the beginning of wild deer hunting, the association was divided into small settlements.

           With the onset of spring, when reindeer calving began, the Evenas usually had their camps on the sunny side of the mountain slopes, where there was many reindeer, and stayed for a long time. With the onset of heat, reindeer herders began to migrate to the upper reaches of the rivers, and it was necessary to reach the planned sites before the mass appearance of mosquitoes (until mid-June).

It should be note that the migration of Evens in the summer period (up to 10 times) depended on the state of pastures, which were rapidly depleted. Staying at the camp for 4-5 days, again migrated for about 10-15 km. Summer camps were located on the banks of rivers, tributaries, in high treeless places, where due to constant winds it was cool and few mosquitoes and midges. At this time of year, the Evens were busy caring for deer. In July, the hunting of cloven hooves began.

           In August, the Evens tried to enter the areas of permanent camps, near which the annual deer race took place. The race continued for a month from the beginning of September. In addition, this autumn period, reindeer herders spent in one place, usually in an area enclosed by impregnable mountains or rocks. After a long half-life, two to three families settled in houses arranged in places convenient for fishing for fish or sea animals, as well as near existing settlements. In the Kolyma and its tributaries, the common borrowings of the Russian and local population of the Nizhnekolymsky district were distributed. The capture was transfer to another place when the whole forest was cut down.

Three types of Even's dwellings are known: ilumu (chym) - a conical structure of poles covered  from deer skins or birch bark; Holomo Tungu type - a conical dwelling similar to a chym; choram-du (yurt) - Evensk cylindrical condominium. The Evens chym is called Ilumu, and the common name of the dwelling in all Even dialects sounds the same - dyu.

             Ilumu, unlike the choram dyu, is considered an older traditional dwelling. Thanks to the lightweight design, the installation of the Ilum did not require much effort, and it was installed by women.

             Installation du passed strictly according to the rules. At first, they found the center of the dwelling - a place for the hearth. The diameter of the dwelling was usually 5-6 m. The central poles of the core were stuck into the ground at an angle of 45 °, and their upper ends were tied with a loop. Then, the remaining 25-30 poles were set around the circumference. After installing the skeleton, household utensils and everything necessary were brought in, and then they just started to cover the chym, leaving a hole for the chimney at the top. Depending on the season, birch bark, rovdug, and skins were used for coating. The installation of the home took 30-40 minutes.

Two more types of primitive dwellings of the conical type are known: measles and pole chym, similar to ilum. As the name implies, the cover for measles chym was deciduous or pine bark. he cone of pole chyms, which the Evens called holom, was all lined with poles that fit tightly together. In the fall they were covered with earth, and in winter they threw snow. The chym was holom specially built for a woman in labor before childbirth.

              Since the end of the XIX century. Among the Evens, the cylindrical-conical type of habitation is spread - choram dyu. Dwellings of this type, known to other indigenous peoples of the North, southern nomadic peoples, in turn, are lattice, non-lattice, portable and non-portable. Non-lattice portable dwellings that have a round plan and a cylindrical-conical shape include the Yaranga of the Chukchi, Koryak and Eskimos, Choram dyu Evens, as well as yurts of the southern nomadic peoples (Altai, Khakass, Buryats, Tuvans). They differ among themselves in the number and in the ways of connecting the main pillars (vertically, often in the form of tripods - yaranga, chory dyu), wall structures, internal interior (in the yarangs they place the fur canopies in which they live), according to the functional purpose: yaranga - permanent stationary dwelling, choram dyu - permanent portable.

            The center of the choram dyu was the hearth - the one whose site was fenced with stones. A bar with hooks for a kettle and boilers was installed above the hearth, and next to it was another one for drying things. A thick layer of larch branches laid on the floor.

From the earliest times, inside the home, the established order of things and finding people adhered to, strictly regulated behavior of family members. For example, to the left of the front door was a place to store dishes and food. The head of the mistress’s bed was heading toward him; her husband was sleeping from its opposite edge. To the right of the entrance were the children. The place opposite the entrance, behind the hearth where the guests slept and spent the day, was considered honorable. There was also a second door through which hunting prey was brought. Things that were not used constantly were placed in sledges or on a pole made of poles outside.

             Labases - Evens outbuildings in the field of fishing for the storage of meat obtained by hunters. Labases arranged on the trunks of three or four closely standing trees. The upper part of the tree was sawn so that the trunk was 1.5–2 m long. Such a storehouse had a log floor, and it usually covered a much larger space than the gap between the trees. The protruding ends of the trees did not give access to the warehouse of predators climbing trees. From above it was covered with bark, branches, protecting from wind and birds. The trunks were thoroughly cleaned of bark so that rodents could not get into the storehouse. The Evens also built sheds on stilts, arranging a gable hut covered with larch bark and branches on the site.

             Near the dwelling, the Evens arranged temporary storehouses - poles laid transversely on two logs, where they stored things and products during the move. Settled Evens in the 18th century lived in dugouts with a flat roof and entrance through a smoke hole. Later there were log cabin 4-coal dwellings. The Evens used pile log cabins, scaffolds, etc. as farm buildings.


Evens life

 Источники: Алексеев, А.А. Эвены Верхоянья: история и культура (конец XIX – 80-е гг.ХХ в.) / А.А. Алексеев. – СПб: ВВМ, 2006.

Алексеева, Е.К. Очерки по материальной культуре эвенов Якутии (конец XIX – начало ХХ вв.) / Е.К. Алексеева. – Новосибирск: Наука, 2003.