Extinct Dreamhunters’ Fish

Image: Goda Palekaitė, 2018

Recently, this ancient taimen — a fish from the salmon family — was discovered in a special container buried in the saltiest part of the Caspian Sea. Between the 7th and the 10th century, the nomadic Khazars ruled the territory between the Caspian and the Black Seas, the vast steppes stretching from Central Asia to the Caucasus, Crimea, southern Ukraine, and the upper Volga. The people there possibly lived by the laws of ethnic and religious diversity and the wisdom encoded in dreams, with dreamhunting — an advanced religious practice — being cultivated by a sect guided by the most talented and respected dreamhunter and poet Princess Ateh. Yet, the entire kingdom with its towns and settlements disappeared just as the taimen did. Its human and non-human inhabitants were dispersed under the most enigmatic circumstances. The fish portrayed here remained almost undamaged because of a special fermentation technique, which the Khazars called ‘1000 years of fish’. It assured them that their food would be preserved in case of a global disaster and the extinction of the species. In fact, the taimen has been extinct since 1946. Even this fermentation technique has become extinct. However, we know that the container in which this fish was found was kept for the wedding dinner of Princess Ateh. Unfortunately, the princess got lost in history before she got married.

Last modified: August 24, 2020