It is with great sadness that we announce the passing on February 10, 2022 of the Foundation’s first Living Treasure, Dr. Professor Mongush Borakhovich Kenin-Lopsan. After a serious illness, Professor Kenin-Lopsan passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his beloved family.

Mongush B. Kenin-Lopsan was a man of integrity and courage, science and spirit. In the words of our colleagues at the FSS Europe, “Kenin-Lopsan has passed away. But he left a legacy preserving the soul of Tuva for his people, a legacy that is known far beyond the borders of his country.”

Our profound gratitude, appreciation, and deepest respect go with Dr. Professor Mongush B. Kenin-Lopsan on his final journey.

Susan Mokelke, President
Sandra Harner, FSS Founder and Vice President
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Shamanic Studies


Photo by Aldynai Seden-Khuurak

The Foundation had a long relationship with the esteemed Professor Kenin-Lopsan. He was present at the Foundation’s first expedition to Tuva in 1993 (read the article; view the video clip), and at three subsequent expeditions. In 1994, he was named by the Foundation as a Living Treasure of Shamanism for his work, at great personal risk, in preserving shamanism in his country under the Soviets.

The Professor was a writer, scholar, folklorist, ethnographer-shamanologist, a doctor of historical studies, and a shaman. He founded the Dungur (Drum) Shaman Society to promote Tuvan shamanism and preserve it for future generations. He was the author of many books and papers that advanced Tuvan literature and language. Professor Kenin-Lopsan collected myths, legends and songs in connection with Tuvan shamanism for more than 50 years, traveled throughout Tuva, met with elder shamans, and was friends with people who remembered the old Tuvan customs. For more about the Professor, see this article from Tuva Online, written on the occasion of his 86th birthday in April 2011.

Read about the remarkable accomplishments of Professor Kenin-Lopsan on the Living Treasure page on this website. Several of his books are listed. There are also references to his scholarly work on the fundamentals of Tuvan shamanism and the structure of the kamlanie, the shamanic séance.

A compilation of algyshes, songs of shamans, in English: “Algyshes from Tuva,” by Mongush Kenin-Lopsan (©Shamanism Annual, December 2008, Issue 21)

For more from Tuva about Professor Kenin-Lopsan see this article about his life in his own words. See also the Tuva Online website. A search of Mongush Kenin-Lopsan will provide additional articles about him.