Bigfoot Encounters

Old Literary Evidence for the Existence of the "Snow Man"
in Tibet and the Mongolian "Wildman"
By Emanuel Vlcek

Published in "Man," Volume 59 (August 1959) Pages 133-134 (JSTOR)

In 1958 the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences sent an expedition to Mongolia, which started its first research project in co-operation with the Scientific Committee of Mongolia. The first task of the Czechoslovak - Mongolian expedition was the investigation of ancient Turkish memorials on the River Orkhon, dating from the first half of the eighth century. The expedition led by the Czechoslovak archaeologist Dr. L. Jisl and the Mongolian archaeologist Serojub, further included, on the Czechoslovak side, a physician and anthropologist (E. Vlcek), a technical assistant, a surveyor, a photographer, a driver and an administrative worker, and on the Mongolian side, archaeologists Perlé and Navan and ethnographer Badamkhatam. Twenty-five students of Choibalsan University, Ulanbator, worked at the locality investigated.

In addition to the main task of investigating the memorial of Prince Kulteghine, the Czechoslovak - Mongolian archaeological expedition also had a secondary anthropological task - to establish conditions for anthropological research in Mongolia.

The anthropological program included in principle three main questions: in the first place, the characterizations of the main population of Mongolia, the Khalkha, from the viewpoint of physical anthropology; secondly, to find out the presence and percentage of the Red Indian component in this Khalkha population which reached as far as Central Europe during the proto-historical and historical periods, especially the Hun and Tatar elements.

The expedition succeeded in ascertaining important facts and in gathering material on all three points. This subject will be discussed elsewhere.

The results of fieldwork were also intended to be supplemented by anthropological, anatomical and other medical data from Tibetan and Mongolian literary sources, which might have contributed to the history of anthropological investigations in Mongolia and Tibet.

While investigating Tibetan books in the library of a former lamaistic university of Gandan, I found a book, by Lovsan-Yondon and Tsend-Otcher, entitled in free translation "Anatomical Dictionary for Recognizing Various Diseases." This illustration shows a biped primate standing erect on a rock, with one arm stretched upwards. The head with the face and the whole body, except for the hands and feet proper, are covered with long hair. The illustration is realistic only stylized according to the conception of lamaistic art.

Trilingual captions 'samdja' in Tibetan, 'bitchun' in Chinese and Kumchun gördosu in Mongolian, denote this creature in translation as "man-animal." The book was published as a so-called Peking edition at the end of the eighteenth century in Peking.

While studying the literature in the central library of the Scientific Committee in Mongolia I found, in the Tibetan department, another more recent edition of the above book printed a century later in Urga (now Ulan Bator, the Mongol Capital). The author of this edition was Jambaldorje. An illustration of the bipedal primate shown, along with monkeys appears in this book also as a part of a systematic discussion of Tibetan natural history on page 119.

The tri-lingual names are moreover, supplemented with explanatory notes in Tibetan. Here, the creature is called 'osodrashin' in Tibetan, 'peeyi' in Chinese and 'zerleg-khoon' in Mongolian, which in translation means 'wildman.' The illustration of the wild man from the thematic viewpoint is absolutely identical with the 100 years older copy of the Peking edition, though it is effected in less stylized and far more credible manner. Again, the upright position of the figure on the rock is identical, even the upraised arm and the slightly bended knees. The head is covered with hair and the face with a full beard and the rest of the body, excepting the hands and feet proper, with short fur that does not conceal the proportions of the body, such as the configuration of the large thoracic muscles.

Left of the picture there is a Tibetan text which in free translation runs: "The wild man lives in the mountains, his origin is close to that of the bear, his body resembles that of man and he has enormous strength. His meat may be eaten to treat mental diseases and his gall cures jaundice."

Both illustrations of the wildman document in a remarkable way the existence of this creature known for at least two centuries to the natives of Tibet and to the monks who used to meet him from Tibet to the present Mongolia and therefore included him in a kind of standard textbook of the natural history of Tibet applied in Buddhist medicine. The Mongols themselves no longer knew this illustration, so that our search was the first to reveal these interesting documents of the ancient knowledge of the natives and monks of Central Asia, concerning the still obscure wildman in Mongolia and the rest of Central Asia.

The authenticity of these illustrations of the wild man is supported by the fact that among tens of illustrations of animals of various classes (reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals) there is not a single case of fantastic or mythological animal such as those known from mediaeval European books (dragons, water monsters, demons etc).

These creatures mentioned here are actually living animals observed in nature. If this illustration is so realistic that is may be zoologically exactly determined up to the species even without reading the texts; there is no reason to disbelieve in the authenticity (except for the above mentioned stylizations, of course) of the illustration of the wildman.

An interesting detail which even further supports the ecological characteristics of the creature described consists in its being placed on a rock, which indicates the environment in which the animals lives, in contrast, for instance, to the arboreal habit of the monkeys shown on the right.

On Mongolian territory, the question of the occurrence of wildman called here almas or alboosty, is being studied by the Mongolian scientist, Dr. B. Rinchen. He has already gathered a number of testimonies of encounters with this almas. (Sovremennaya Mongolia, 1958, No. 5, pp. 34-38).

It is not yet possible to say what the relation of the wildman of Mongolia, almas, to the so-called snowman from the Himalayas may be, -but in view of the fact that he has spread over the vast area of the whole "Roof of the World", the existence of certain relations must be anticipated.
- ---
Copyright **Emanuel Vlcek from "Man" (JSTOR)
Credit Source: Anthropologist Kenneth Joholske in Maryland.

- - --
From the database: **Vlček, Emmanuel Dr., he was a Czech physician and anthropologist; member Czechoslovakian Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Scientific Committee of Mongolia: (1959) “Old Literary Evidence for the existence of the Snowman in Tibet and Mongolia,” Man, 59, 133 – 4. Additional comments on translations were given in Man Volume 60 October 1960, 153-155, "Man" (JSTOR),
_____1950 “Diagnosis of the Wildman according to Buddhist Literary Sources from Tibet, Mongolia and China;” Man 60(10):153-154; two old anthropological and anatomical works held in the library of the Gandan Monastery in what is now Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s Capital city. ...Bobbie Short
- ---

- ---
Rinchen, Yöng-siyebiü
. (also erroneously published as J. R. Rinchen and B. Rinchen and Rincen; he was a distinguished Mongolian scholar and professor; “The Mirror of Medicine” was written by a Mongol savant called Dondubjaltsan (1792-1855). To my knowledge there are only 3 copies known to exist: 1) an Inner Mongolian edition, 2) the edition of the Tibetan Gumbum monastery, which the monks in their flight from Maoists occupation of Tibet, fled into India with and 3) the Mongol edition of the Pandita Geuguen Monastery which reproduces the old manuscript with additions in Tibetan, Mongolian, Manchu and Chinese. The first Alma drawing published by Vlček came from the old Inner Mongolian edition.
Regarding the spelling of his name, - different books give Rinchen different initials: Tchernine called him J.R. Rinchen; Emmanuel Vlček (1959 -1960) gave his name as B. Rinchen. The definitive work of R. A. Ruper (1964) “Mongols of the 20 th Century,” Bloomington, Indiana, lists his known work and gives Rinchen’s last name as Rincen, although his true name is listed in Mongolian Pandita Monastery manuscripts as Yöng-siyebiü Rinchen. The latter is correct. (from Bobbie Short's database, 2003)
_____1958 “Almas, Mongolian relative of the Snow Man?” Contemporary Mongolia Magazine #5 p 34 - 38
- ---

Back to Bigfoot Encounters Main page
Back to Newspaper & Magazine Articles
Back to Bigfoot Encounters "What's New" page

Portions of this website are reprinted under the Fair Use Doctrine of International Copyright Law as educational material without benefit of financial gain. This proviso is applicable throughout the entire website at Bigfoot Encounters