Bear stories at Helsinki University Museum

Helsinki University Museum takes us on a journey to Arctic cultures in bears’ footsteps.

Professor Juha Pentikäinen has compiled an exhibition on the bear myths of Arctic cultures. Professor Juha Pentikäinen, Department of Comparative Religion, has compiled an exhibition on the bear myths of Finnish and Finnic people and Siberian shamans he has encountered.

The exhibition, entitled In the Footsteps of the Bear, by the Ice Holes of the River Amur, is based on Professor Pentikäinen’s extensive field studies and explorations he has conducted since the 1960s.

“The bear vocabulary, epics, mythologies, fairytales and stories of Arctic cultures link the bear with mankind, stars and the cycle of life. They saw a special relationship, even a kinship, between people and bears,” Pentikäinen explains.

The exhibition also recounts how Finnic and other North Russian people fared under Soviet rule and how their circumstances have developed since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The exhibition will continue at the museum until 15 May 2005.

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Text and photo: Liisa Voutilainen

Translation: Valtasana Oy

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