The Handwork of Folkloristic-Ethnological Knowledge

The Viewpoint of Samuli Paulaharju's Drawings

  • Kari Tapio Korolainen University of Eastern Finland


Drawing is discussed here, both from the historical and from the contemporary folklore and material culture stance. Folklore collector Samuli Paulaharju’s (1875–1944) drawings serve as a point of departure; again, cultural studies constitute the background, as the notion of representation and the construction of folkloristic-ethnologic knowledge are stressed. Material and visual culture comprises yet other central viewpoints. The research material consists of Paulaharju’s folkloristic descriptions (at the SKS) of the interlacements, as knots and lattices. The materials are discussed in the context of magic and belief, at first, and of folk games and plays further back. The research question is: how Paulaharju constructs the meanings of the interlacements by means of drawings? The method of membership categorization analysis (MCA) is combined with multimodal analysis, since the drawing–texts relations are analysed in detail. Thus, the examination demonstrates, that not only several drawing methods are utilised, but also the contexts, as agrarian life, appear diversified when the drawings are concerned. Then, by applying drawing innovatively and experimenting with it, Paulaharju operated between distinct viewpoints, and also challenged the established folkloristic practises. Accordingly, wide interestedness and learning-by-drawing are emphasised more than drawing as a restricted – or restrictive – orientation.

Keywords: drawings, ethnology, folkloristics, interlacements, methodology
Dec 31, 2017
How to Cite
Korolainen, K. (2017). The Handwork of Folkloristic-Ethnological Knowledge. Ethnologia Fennica, 44, 35-51.