Buriats, the collective name of nomadic Mongolian tribes scattered over the S. part of the province of Irkutsk, Siberia, from the Chinese boundary northward toward the upper Lena region, and westward from the Onon to the Oka, a tributary of the Angara. In Transbaikalia they number nearly 200,000, and in other parts about 20,000, and are chiefly agricultural. They have been under Russian domination since the middle of the 17th century, though retaining their local administration under princes and elders of their own selection. They live in yurts or huts, covered with leather in summer and with felt in winter. They are Buddhists, and their idols are made of wood and other materials. Women are regarded as unclean, and are not allowed to approach the altar where the images are placed. The men resemble the Calmucks, and are good horsemen and archers. Agriculture and the chase are the chief means of subsistence; but several trades, especially that of forging iron, are carried on. Their language is a branch of the Mongolian, and though there is no distinct literature, several native Buriats, as Dorji Bansaroif and Galsang Gomboyeff, have recently acquired eminence in science.

Schiefner has prepared from the literary remains of Cas-tren a grammar and a dictionary of the Buriat language (St. Petersburg, 1857).