Above own photos taken at the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, Ulan Bator, Mongolia.
“This Shaman’s costume (pictures above) is one of a series of elements which allowed a shaman’s body to transform into a ‘vessel’ that received different spirits. Among the Imin Numinchen, shamans were primarily concerned with healing, prediction and with people’s relations with their ancestors. This costume belonged to a young female shaman who died in the 1930s, aged 25. No two costumes are identical. They are assembled and added to as a shaman becomes more experienced, incorporating materials from different sources. The brass mirrors came from Chinese merchants. The heavy shaman’s mirrors act in a double capacity – they protect the shaman by deflecting harm, while revealing what is normally invisible to the human eye. The number of mirrors on the costume indicates the shaman’s powers and maps a geographical cosmos. By wearing the costume, the shaman is located in the centre of this cosmos. During performance, a shaman is seized by one or more ancestral spirits, so that what is inside the mirror-costume is the spirits, rather than the shaman’s body. Here, the body is something open to forces that can control it, inhabit its form and shape its physical features.”
Photo by Lee Marshall (boristhegreat)
There are also some great photographs of Mongolian Shamans on Donna Todd’s site.