Mordvinian Ethnology

Sisem iet’ paly tol pultasso,

Sisem iet’ chude ved’ chudesse

This page is devoted to Mordvinian (Mordva) ethnology. I spent three years at the department of Baltic and Volgaic Studies of the Russian Ethnographic Museum (REM) in St. Petersburg researching and exhibiting Finno-Ugric cultures. In 1996-1997, with my ex-wife, I spent two summers among the Erzya Mordvinians of the Samara province. I was sponsored by the historico-eco-cultural association “Povolzhye” led by two highly motivated archaeologists, Sergei A. Agapov and Valentina I. Pestrikova, dedicated to the “preservation and revival” of traditional cultures of the Samara province. I posted some of the fruits of my bygone involvement in the study of the culture of the Mordvinians. Sometimes, I miss those days… Years later I would still feel a yearning for Mordvinian steppes and forests, for their desolate helmets and unswerving hospitality, and for their endless witchcraft stories.


My special focus on Mordvinian wedding, as their central lyfe-cycle ritual, together with my general interest in transculturation, ethnic revival and the anthropology of anthropology are combined in this curious recent photograph of the Finnish scholar of Moksha Mordvinian language and culture, Jack Reuter, dressed as a traditional Mordvinian bridegroom (from: Rogachev, V. I. Svad’ba mordvy Povolzh’ia. Saransk, 2004).


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