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  • Author: Art Leete x
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The purpose of this article is to examine Khanty spatial ritual behaviour in the context of the simultaneous application of different ideas about sacred landscape. I aim to demonstrate the functional pattern behind handling seemingly ambivalent characteristics of cosmological models in the tangible ritual performance of the Khanty, an indigenous people inhabiting the taiga and forest taiga zone of Western Siberia. I explore three cases in which the concept of sacred topography is applied among the Khanty by exploring two public ceremonies of reindeer sacrifice and one episode of a post-funeral rite. It appeared that the spatial conceptualisation is different in different rituals. During sacrificial ceremonies, the Khanty position the Upper World in the southern direction, while in the case of death rituals, the Upper World is projected towards upstream of a river, even if it remains in the north. Studying different spatial orientations during rituals provides a methodological key for approaching other concepts of vernacular belief among Siberian indigenous communities.


On the basis of ethnographic fieldwork, conducted between 2007 and 2013, the authors analyse the communities of male artisans that have had the most significant impact on the development of contemporary Estonian handicraft. A wide range of artisans were surveyed in the course of this research, from professionals who earn a living from handicraft to amateurs, small enterprises and handicraft instructors. The authors concentrate on the motifs and background of different categories of handicraft agent. Details of handicraft practice such as mastering specific items, local peculiarities and materials used will be also explored. The analysis is predominantly based on the artisans’ views on proper ways of making handicraft items, their marketing strategies and the needs of developing their skills. The study* demonstrates that artisanal initiatives support the material reproduction of cultural locations through constant renewal of heritage ideology and practice.