Religious Objects

Many Kalmyk families have domestic altars laid with religious objects. Given that Buddhism was forbidden in the Soviet period and many people had to hide their religious possessions, objects passed down the generations bear special sentimental value and significance for their owners. Many family relics were also irreversibly lost or destroyed during the anti-religious campaigns of the 1930s and the subsequent deportation of the Kalmyk nation in 1943 to Siberia and Central Asia. This collection hosts videos about various religious objects, both new and old, including thangkas (Buddhist paintings on cotton or silk), statues, talismans (bu), amulets, as well as instruments used by the clergy such as bells, vajras, and others.

Alena Lidzhieva, Amulets, Talismans and Other Religious Objects

Alena says that amulets for personal use should not come from laypeople but be requested from monks in Buddhist temples. Amulets given by laypeople bring nothing good. Amulets are small bags that hold paper prayers inside. It is forbidden to sew amulets into bags using red, orange or yellow threads. Amulets should be worn around one’s neck. All religious objects, including amulets, altars, etc. should be consecrated by monks.


Sanan Matvenov, How to Organize a Home Altar


Telo Tulku Rinpoche, About Altars


Telo Tulku Rinpoche, About Amulets and Holy Objects