Traditional utensils do not have much variety, which reflects the simplicity and practicality of the nomadic lifestyle. Materials used are mainly those that are locally available, including skin, wood, metals, and bones. A utensil that stood in the middle of every nomadic yurt was the cast iron kettle, called khyasn, of various volumes and mounted on tripods that were used to cook meals, brew tea, and distil milk vodka. Utensils made of skin can be divided into two types according to their purpose: (1) Utensils used for eating food, and (2) for storing food and beverages. Cups, plates, spoons, containers and furniture were usually made from wood.

Today a complete set of traditional utensils can only be seen in museums. Many old and interesting utensils, especially those passed down the generations, are also kept by Kalmyk families as relics.

Aleksandr Koshevoi, Donzhik

Donzhik is a vessel to keep water and other liquids. Aleksandr displays a donzhik from brass that he made for the occasion of the 550th anniversary of the epos Jangar. The donzhik is conical in shape, and it has various traditional signs and symbols engraved on it. The handle is made in the shape of a dragon.

Aleksandr says that in the past donzhiks were made from wood or silver. It has a lid. The description of this vessel can be found in the diaries of Zhitetsky, at the Ethnographic Museum in St Petersburg, as well as in Mongolian sources.


Badma Amulakova, Drink Containers Made From Skin