Sabira Ståhlberg and Ingvar Svanberg: Wildmen in Central Asia

Abstract. – Central Asian wildmen traditions can be divided into two main lines: Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, which as well as Chinese Central Asia seem to belong to the same tradition. This line is close to Tibetan and Chinese wildmen beliefs. Tajikistan and the Pamir Mountains belong to another cultural area, which is connected to Iranian and Indian folklore. We focus here on the wildmen in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, describing and analysing wildmen stories from three points of view: emic, etic, and mixed perspectives. These points of view should be seen as dimensions of understanding which complement each other. [Central Asia, Kazaks, Mongolians, Kyrgyz, local knowledge, mythology, nomads, wildmen]