Problems of Archaeology, Ethnography, Anthropology of
Siberia and Neighboring Territories

ISSN 2658-6193 (Online)

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2021 Volume XXVII

doi: 10.17746/2658-6193.2021.27.0861-0868

УДК 391.98

Symbolic Expression of the Heavenly Eden Image in the Traditional Culture of the Uimon Old-Believers

Shitova N.I.

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The work was carried out in order to identify patterns for the preservation and updating of some images and symbols expressed in the embroidery ornament. The research is based on materials of the Uimon Old-Believers culture, which is represented in the Uimon Valley of the Altai Mountains. We carried out a comprehensive analysis of the author’s field ethnographic materials of different years, unpublished archival folklore records and museum samples. It has been established that using images of Eden-related birds and plants (grapes, roses, and other flowers), folk ideas about Heavenly Eden are expressed in spiritual verses. These ideas correspond to the symbolic meaning of some ornamental patterns in women’s needlework. A composition on a wall towel consisting of grape and flower vine and paradise birds was interpreted as a folk image of Heavenly Eden. The author performs a comparative analysis of images of Heavenly Eden in the culture of the Uimon Old-Believers and materials of the ornament of women’s needlework in Altai Mountains. Based on the materials of women’s needlework in Altai Mountains, the floristic ornament significantly prevailing among all others more often contains motifs with a vine and a rosevine, as well as a flower vine with the images of other flowers. When combining these varieties of ornament into a semantically unified ornamental group “plant vines”, the fact of a significant predominance of this group among other fixed ornamental groups of motifs is obvious. The ideas of the plants as attributes of Heavenly Eden, the semantic correlation of Heavenly Eden and the garden of the earth probably played a special role in the prevalence of images of grapes, roses, and other flowers as well as their stable presence in ornamentation in women’s needlework. Culture bearers could use the motif of the plant vine as an expression of spiritual aspirations, which are also manifested in perception and aesthetic value of the ornament.


the Russian, Old-Believers, Christian symbols, women’s needlework, spiritual verses, grapevine, flower vine, Altai Mountains

Chief Editor
Academician A.P. Derevyanko

Deputy Chief Editor
Academician V.I. Molodin

17, Аkademika Lavrentieva prosp., Novosibirsk, 630090, Russia
Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

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