« 2020. № 1 (151)

The Ethnology Notebooks. 2020. № 1 (151), 15—20

UDK2-135: 2-144.4: 39: 7.016.4





Doctor of Arts (hab), Professor,

Head of the Design and Technology Department

in the Kyiv National Uneversity of Culture and Arts

36, Evgeni Konovalets str., 01133, Kyiv, Ukraine,

Contacts: e-mail:

Abstract. The urgency of the topic is that anthropomorphic motifs in the Ukrainian ornamentation are relatively rare and quite often connected with phito- and zoomorphic details. The dictionary of elements and motifs of Ukrainian ornamentation, compiled by the author according to their folk names, has about 1500 nests. Majority belongs to the «sceuomorphic» motifs, associated with man-made realities — more than 200 nests. Almost the same amount falls on the share of plant patterns, and half the number of zoomorphic motifs (about 100). The number of anthropomorphic images, even together with related mythological-folklore images, is slightly more than 60. They are found in all the kinds of art, primarily in Easter Eggs and embroidery.

The subject and the goal of article is to constitute a typology of such a designs, applying the method of juxtaposition graphical variants with their folk nominations. Author singled out eight basic types (having intermediate variants). Most of the anthropomorphic motifs are with obviously female features. The connection with the image of the Great Neolithic goddess is out of question.

The author concluded, that anthropomorphic motifs are filled with multilayer polysemantic meaning: protection from evil forces, magical stimulation of fertility, procreation etc. Folk ornamentation of Ukrainians has preserved many motifs inherited from primitive specimens, especially since the Neolithic period. But there are no nominations directly derived from the characters of pagan mythology, as well as from the names of demonic beings.

The only exception is the name «Bereginya», brought in the art history literature only since the late 1960s. Undoubtedly, «Bereginya» is a late mythology introduced into a wide speech turnover and even in vogue due to the sweetness of this word. In any case, our field research of the 1970s and 90s, the lexeme «Bereginya» as the name of the ornamental motif, has never been recorded. It is absent in publications devoted to folk ornament of the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. However, due to some writer-journalists, adherents of the national romantic, since the 1980s the image of the «Bereginya» not only spreads, but also becomes generally understood, generally accepted and generally acceptable. The original negative semantics of the lexeme, as the denomination of the demonic character, was replaced by a positive: a guardian, who protects her native land. This is а сase of transformation folklore notion into «fakelore».

Keywords: anthropomorphism, folk ornament, image, symbol, sign, mythologem, Ukraine, Berehynya, folklore, fakelore.

Received 3.01.2020


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