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NEW BOOK! The Flying Tiger

By Kira Van Deusen

Storytelling bridges culture, history, and spirituality. In The Flying Tiger Kira Van Deusen takes us into the world of the female shamans of the Amur, presenting over fifty traditional stories she recorded in the 1990s from the people of the taiga forest in the Russian Far East. More than a collection of tales, the reader learns about the lives of the story-tellers and their history, their spiritual traditions, adaptation to the environment, relationships with animals, and sense of humor.

Outsiders to the culture have long focused on the physical artifacts of shamanism - like the costume and drum - and on ritual healing practices, but far less is known about the images shamans and storytellers use to entertain, heal, and educate. Van Deusen describes the lives of the people of the Amur during a period of dramatic transition, as they attempt to find some way to relate ancient traditions to an uncertain future. She emphasizes the contributions of women - often overlooked in the literature on shamanism - in traditional and contemporary society, and their concerns with ecology and the education of children. Their magnificent embroidery, illustrated by the author's photographs, echoes these women's stories.

The Flying Tiger will appeal to anyone interested in shamanism, storytelling and folklore, Russia, indigenous people, women's studies, and spirituality.

About the Author

Kira Van Deusen, a storyteller/folklorist in Vancouver, B.C.


NEW BOOK! Singing Story, Healing Drum

Explores the shamanic practices, worldview, oral traditions, and music of the Turkic peoples of Tuva and Khakassia (south Siberia), past and present. It is based on the author's fieldwork since 1993, conducting interviews, recording stories, participating in rituals and everyday life. Set in the context of social change in the post-Soviet period, it includes conversations, folktales, legends, and shamanic poems that illuminate spiritual traditions, and introduces ethnographic literature in Russian, mostly unavailable in the West. Wherever possible, the material comes through the voices of indigenous people: scholars, practitioners, and participants in cultural review.

Kira Van Deusen presents an integrated, holistic picture of Turkic spiritual culture, exploring the inner world shamans and other visionaries describe and the ways they cross the boundaries between ordinary and non-ordinary reality. Since nomadic life is never static, its traditional expression comes through performing arts—music and oral poetry—more than visual representation. Most of these arts involve sound and the processes are equally as important as the results. They involve the whole community and are vital in the revival of indigenous culture today.

About the Author
Kira Van Deusen, a storyteller/folklorist in Vancouver, B.C.


Shyaan am! Tuvan Folk Tales

Storyteller Kira Van Deusen brings the oral traditions of Tuva to English speaking audiences in this special book of eight Tuvan favorites.  Illustrated by Tuvan artist Alexei Sedipkov.  47 pages.

Table of Contents:


Tales of Tuva

Includes four stories from Shyaan am! Tuvan Folk Tales, including The Camel, Boraldai, Khan with the Donkey's Ears, and Which One to Choose.  Read by Kira Van Deusen, accompanied by Kaigal-ool Khovalyg, Kongar-ool Ondar, and Anatolii Kuular.  28 minutes.

Hear The Camel in RealAudio!

    $10.00  CD

Woman of Steel: A Tuvan Epic 

Translated and retold by Kira Van Deusen.  Long before the days of Genghis Khan, women warriors were fighting battles on the Asian steppes to protect family and friends.  The warrior's spiritual path leads to an opening of the heart, allowing the bold and compassionate heroine to defeat her enemies, restore peace and prosperity to the land, find her life's partner, and bring her father back to life.  This is one of Tuva's best-loved epics.  38 page paperback with illustrations by Alexei Sedipkov.


Mountain Spirits -- Khakass Stories 

Since time beyond memory mountain spirits have appeared in the mountains and steppe of Khakassia, Tuva's neighbor to the northwest. The sixteen tales in this book were told in the 19th and mid 20th centuries. They are published here in the original Turkic language (similar to Tuvan) and in English. Compiled by Kira Van Deusen in collaboration with Galina Kazachinova, head of the Khakass Writer's Union and a great authority on the culture of her people.


Tuvan Constitution, Flag Code & Anthem -- a very cool 54 page book details (in Russian) the Tuvan Constitution of 1993, the Coat of Arms and flag code and specifications, and the National Anthem with lyrics and musical notation. 


Tuva: Russia's Tibet or the Next Lithuania? by Ron McMullen. Reprint of European Security Volume 2 Number 3 (August 1993) pages 451-460. Required reading for those asking "Will Tuva be independent again?"


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Shamans. Published by the Humanitarian Center of Kyzyl. 44 page booklet in English, Russian, and Tuvan, including one chapter ("Shamans") of Manchen-Helfen's Journey to Tuva. Nicely illustrated with Tuvan block prints.


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On the Music of Shamanism in the Tuvinian Culture. A ten page article by Dr. Zoya Kyrgys.


The Postal History and Stamps of Tuva.  Blekhman's seminal work on Tuvan postal history is now available in English.  This book, originally published in Russian, details the history of Tuva's postal system from antiquity to the 1970's.  All of Tuva's stamps and postal cancels are illustrated along with fine examples of covers and postal stationery.  A must have for any collector!  104 pages.  Translated by Ron Hogg, edited and illustrated by J. Eric Slone.

Table of Contents:


Tuva: Znaki Pochtovoi Oplaty [Tuva: Means of Postal Payment], by Vadim Nikolayevich Ustinovskii (Moscow: 2000).  Probably the most knowledgeable Tuvan philatelist on the planet, has published a major new handbook on Tuvan philately. Here are the details:

  • In Russian, with a three-page English summary. The Table of Contents is in English, too.
  • 204 pp. Extremely well printed, on high-quality glossy paper. (A gorgeous production!)
  • Soft (paperback) cover
  • Whatchamacallit binding (where the individual pages are glued to the spine).
  • 21.6 x 14.5 x 1.43 cm
  • Weight: 527g
  • Fold-out map of Tuva at the turn of the 19/20th centuries
  • 100 numbered figures (photographs, covers, diagrams, sketch map), and at least two unnumbered photographs (a stone man, and a historical photograph of a crowd assembled before the Tuvan Government building in Kyzyl on the day of Tuva's absorption into the USSR).
  • Errata sheet (incomplete)
  • Every main type of stamp is illustrated in color (some perforation varieties are only in black/white; other perforation varieties, as well as color shades, etc., are not illustrated). All known Tuvan cancels (including many forgeries) are illustrated.
  • Many perforation varieties (missing or double perfs, etc.), overprint varieties, rare stamps, etc., are illustrated in the colorful end papers.

Price: EUR 37.00 plus postage
For information, please email Alan Leighton

The Mongolian Chess Sets Reflecting the Culture of the Steppes by Rodolfo Pozzi.  Limited printing of 1000 numbered copies, 45 pages, in full color.  Printed by Chess Collectors International in 2002.  Beautiful embossed cover, with text in Italian and English.  Details the history of Tuvan and Mongolian chess sets, unique rules to the region and much more. 


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