- Project Runeberg -  Through Siberia - the land of the future /
348

(1914) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Arthur G. Chater - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH SIBERIA
to the Chinese for as much as £2 a pound, an animal
being worth £50 ; but the horns of the Vladivostok deer
are said to be still more valuable.
The town museum was also visited, and there
Captain Arseniev showed me many interesting things
collected from the natives in these regions, whom he
has specially studied in the course of his travels. I
there saw long ski covered with hide, which were used by
the Oroches, and they seemed to be very like those of
the Samoyedes ; but shorter and broader ski, like the
ordinary Tungus ski, were also used where the snow
was loose. They were all covered with skin from the
legs of deer or elk. There were also various forms of
sledges, dog-sledges and reindeer-sledges, from the
Oroches, the Golds, the Gilyaks, the Chukchis and the
Kamchadales. I found to my great astonishment that
in many details—for instance, in the runners being bent
up behind and lashed to the longitudinal bars of the
sledge, which of course gives it increased strength—
several of the most eastern forms, though not the western
ones, bore a remarkable resemblance to the ski-sledge
which I constructed for the crossing of the Greenland
inland ice in 1888, and which has since become the type
of sledge used on all polar expeditions. As far as I
know, I can have had no knowledge of these forms at
that time ; but there are certain things which suggest
themselves.
In the port of the town, down on the bank of the
Amiir, I had the opportunity of making a brief acquaint
ance with the natives of these parts, the Golds ; they
lay there in their boats, in which they had come from
the Ussuri. In their features they looked very like
Tunguses, but in their dress they were entirely
Russian ; and as in addition one of them had absorbed
so much Russian vodka that he fell prostrate before us
348

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