Dashi Namdakov is an outstanding Russian sculptor, graphic artist, and jeweler whose works create a fascinating connection between the ancient culture of the Eurasian steppes, Buddhist, and shamanic mythology. His sculptures of warriors, princesses, bulls, and mystical beings bring to life a world of mysteries and convey an ancient spiritual message.
Born on February 16, 1967, in Ukurik, a small village near the Russian-Chinese border in Siberia, Namdakov grew up in an artistic family. His father, Balzhin, was a talented craftsman who carved wooden statues and painted Buddhist Tangkas (icons) for monasteries. From him, Namdakov learned the art of keen observation and translating it into works of art. While all eight of his siblings were artistically gifted, only Dashi received professional training.
At the age of seven, Namdakov was sent to a boarding school in Mogzon, where he was the only ethnic Buryat among the students. At 15, he fell seriously ill, and it took years before he was healed by a shaman. The shaman told him that the "spirits" wanted him to become a shaman, but Namdakov felt that his destiny lay in becoming an artist. The shaman responded, "Your art is your shamanic practice."
Namdakov received his artistic education from 1986 to 1992 at various art schools, including the Krasnoyarsk State Fine Art Institute, where he was taught by renowned artists like Lev Golovnitsky, Yuri Ishkhanov, Azat Boyarlin, and Eduard Pakhomov.
After graduating, Namdakov moved to Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia, and initially focused on graphic art. Later, he turned to sculpture, creating works that blend historical images, mythological creatures, and totemic figures in a modern artistic language.
Namdakov's art is strongly influenced by the legacies of the ancient Asian nomadic empire and the Middle Ages. His sculptures of warriors, horses, and bulls, along with distinctive elements like helmets and twisted horns, reflect these historical influences. He uses a variety of materials, including bronze, silver, gold, copper, wood, mammoth ivory, leather, horsehair, and precious stones. His works range from monumental sculptures to miniatures that capture the intimacy and intricate detail of family heirlooms.
Despite a cultural taboo, Namdakov has also tackled the subject of Genghis Khan, sculpting the great Mongolian leader in bronze. He was admitted to the Russian Union of Artists and has received numerous awards, including the Silver Medal of the Russian Academy of Arts, the title of "Siberian of the Year," and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in the field of culture.
Namdakov's artworks can be found in prestigious museums in Russia and around the world, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Hermitage, and the Guangzhou Museum of Art. His pieces also grace private collections worldwide, from the United States and the United Kingdom to Japan and China.
The artist has been based in Moscow since 2004 and is currently involved in public art projects in various parts of the world. His unique artistic creations and their connection to the history and mythology of the Eurasian steppes have earned him worldwide recognition.