« 2020. № 1 (151)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 1 (151), 109—116


DOI https://doi.org/10.15407/nz2020.01.109



ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9181-7208

master of Lithuanian philology, master of art history

senior museologist worker,

Lithuanian national museum,

Department of the Ethnic culture,

Arsenalo g.~1, Vilnius 01143

Abstract. Introduction. I suppose that the birds are the mediators of heaven and earth. The prophetic chanting of birds, the ability to fly in the sky, the ability to land on plants, the particular behavior of the human senses were associated with the rhythm of nature and its eternal change, the dynamism of space, the continuity of life. In folk art, birds are depicted on both sides of trees and flowers, crosses or roof poles, and if one at the top. Birds are depicted with wheels, concentric circles. They land on either side of the circle or within the circle itself. Folk art continues the millennial tradition of giving importance to birds. Still, one of the most important birds in Lithuanian folklore, especially the singing cuckoo, the destiny maker, the prophet of death, the «ancestor» of the goddess Laima, the fate bird.

Problem statement. Obviously, the image of the bird, which carries various symbolic meanings, is very important in Lithuanian, or rather Baltic, folklore and iconography. Birds in folklore, religion, perform many functions related to all stages of human life (birth, marriage, death), transformation, and accompany throughout human life. Birds are also mediators between heaven and earth, between the living and the dead. The purpose of this work is to discuss and summarize the symbolism of the bird phenomenon in Baltic folklore and iconography. There will also be a comparative study of Slavic folklore and iconography.

The purpose of this work is to discuss and summarize the symbolism of the bird phenomenon in Baltic folklore and iconography. There will also be a comparative study of Slavic folklore and iconography.

Methods. Complex interdisciplinary research is used — ethnographic, iconographic methods, as well as folklore (both singing and narrative), folk art and ethnolinguistic material.

Keywords: the birds, iconography, folk art, Baltic folklore, the Cuckoo, goddess Laima, incarnation, birds-psychopomps, sacredness, the World Tree, structural-semantic analysis.

Received 20.01.2020


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