The snake and zig-zag motifs in Finnish rock paintings and Saami drums
Sami (European people)
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AbstractIn articles about Finnish rock paintings particular attention has been paid to the significance of shamanism. The emphasis on shamanism leads in practice to the conclusion that a composition in which there is a man and a snake, or a snake like zig-zag figure, depicts a shaman and his helping animal. The explanation follows the traditional concept of arctic shamanism. However, the use of shamanism as the most significant basis for interpretation does not lead to plausible results in the study of pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings). There are other possibilities besides shamanism for constructing an interpretation of the rock painting - ancient man did not resort only to the shaman but to magic and to the cults of fertility and ancestors.