How babies live in the raw-hide tents in the Far North

We were puzzled by the question of how babies live in the raw-hide tents in the Far North, and the Taimyr Museum of Local Lore helped us find the answer. At one of his expositions dedicated to the Nganasans, there is one interesting exhibit, a children's cradle "lapsa", reminiscent of modern carrying bags for children.

Such cradles are made by the father of the family from larch boards, the bottom is made of plywood, the headboard is covered with cloth. Metal arches are attached to the headboard on which a cloak is fastened and protects the baby from mosquitoes and midges in the summer and serves to pserve heat in winter. Everything is very convenient and functional. On the arcs, which are called Kaptysy, there is an ornament consisting of notches. If a metal object is held along these notches, then they emit a certain melodic sound, under which the child falls asleep well. Various pendants were also hung on the arches: copper buttons, plaques, chains and other objects that the baby could occupy.

Moms put their children in fur "envelopes". Instead of diapers and nappies there is moss laid on the bottom of the cradle, rot of rotten wood or straw. The child, wrapped in skins, is tied to the cradle with straps and removed only when it is necessary to replace the plant diaper. When feeding, the mother picks up the baby in her arms with the cradle so as not to freeze, it’s not hot in the raw-hide tents. When the baby is sleeping, the cradle is hung higher.

Photo by Alexander Khimushin, the Taimyr Museum and an unknown author.

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