Anasyrma in the Finnish Tradition

  • Teppo Korhonen, PhD, Docent National Board of Antiquites
Keywords: anasyrma, evil eye


In scholarly usage, the Greek term anasyrma or anasyrmus refers to a gesture in which a female bares her genitalia to a viewer. The male form anasyrmos is a construct of the 1950s. Traditionally, anasyrma means the baring of the vulva - not the phallos. As a mute expression, i.e. a gesture, the reception of the message expressed by the anasyrma may vary, and may even be completely contrary to the original intention of the person performing the gesture. We should also note that this gesture is not meant to reinforce one's opponent and it has nothing to do with amorous intentions. The baring of genitalia for the purpose of exciting a loved one is not covered by the concept of anasyrma.

How to Cite
Korhonen, T. (1). Anasyrma in the Finnish Tradition. Ethnologia Fennica, 24, 13-30. Retrieved from