International Magic?

Finnish Folk Magic Objects in a European Context




folk magic, folk medicine, cross-cultural comparison, material culture, Finland, Europe


This paper explores international aspects of Finnish folk magic. Folk magic objects in two Finnish museum collections (the National Museum of Finland and Museum Centre Vapriikki) are compared to analogous objects in the Nordiska museet in Sweden and the Pitt Rivers Museum in the UK to reveal the collections’ resemblances and differences. The material in question dates to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many similar objects occur in these collections. Explanations for this are sought in historical networks between peoples. Yet a closer inspection also reveals variation in practices and beliefs. This reveals the dynamic nature of folk magic traditions, although collection and curation policies also play a role. Moreover, the complex connections between religion, medicine, and
magic are uncovered.

Author Biography

Sonja Hukantaival, Åbo Akademi University

is a postdoctoral researcher in Nordic folkloristics at Åbo
Akademi University, Finland.




How to Cite

Hukantaival, S. (2021). International Magic? : Finnish Folk Magic Objects in a European Context. Temenos - Nordic Journal for Study of Religion, 57(2), 155–80.