Accepted paper:

Symbolic aspects of vernacular roof ridge decorations in the context of Lithuanian folk culture


Vytautas Tumenas (Lithuanian Institute of History)

Paper short abstract:

The apotropaic symbolism of the roof ridge adornments in Lithuania will be analyzed by comparing them with folklore and folk art data and other comparative material. The paper aims to reveal the semiotic interconnectivity of different elements of local culture with mythological archetypes.

Paper long abstract:

The double images of horses, horns and birds in the pole of the Lithuanian vernacular roof ridge decorations 'lėkiai' are quite similar to the elements of 'krikštai', wooden cemetery monuments in West Lithuania. Similar images are also present in traditional textile (band) decorations called 'žirgeliai' (horses) and in folklore motifs. The investigation in the symbolism of Lithuanian vernacular decorations is based on an analysis of various narrative and visual mythical-poetical images. It combines local ethnographic, folkloristic and linguistic data as well as comparative material from other regions. The paper aims to reveal the semiotic interconnectivity of different aspects of traditional culture and their links with regional and universal mythological archetypes. It unfolds the codic and intertextual aspects of this kind of metaphoric language which embraced most aspects of the human environment and associated daily life with the ideal world. The paper explains the meaning of these symbols as apotropaic manifestations of the Twin and World Tree mythology.

panel P009
Symbolism in vernacular architecture, vernacular architecture as symbol: new examples and perspectives