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The Finno-Ugric Triptych

A travelling exhibition in Russia, October 2009

THE FINNO-UGRIC TRIPTYCH, a travelling exhibition, is currently on show at the Udmurtian National Museum in Izhevsk. This exhibition has been realized by the National Museum of Mari, The Mordovian Art Museum, The Mordovian Museum of Local History and Culture, and The Udmurtian National Museum, all from Russia, and the Museum of Cultures from Finland. The exhibition is part of a huge project funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation to preserve the linguistic and cultural heritage of the Finno-Ugric peoples.
The aim of the tree-year project is to present and emphasize the importance of multicultural and cultural heritage education offered by the museum in the Russian Finno-Ugric regions. A multicultural and multilingual museum will strengthen the local identity and encourage the people to appreciate their own culture.

The exhibition is composed of three independent parts. The Mari exhibition THE THREE TOTEMS / KUM TOTEM highlights the meaning of the animistic religion as a part of their ethnic identity. The Mordovian museums present FOLK COSTUMES THROUGH THE AGES / PINGON SJORMATKST PINGEN VIKSHNEVKST showcasing the colorful Mordovian national dress in life-size prints. The Mordovian women have been an important theme for the local artists since the 1840s. These works of art have been turned into a series of pictures that are reflected into a golden frame on the wall. The Udmurtian National Museum's contribution THREE WEDDISNGS / KUIN SJUAN GURJOS juxtaposes the life-cycle celebrations in the past and the present.

Students from Mari, Mordovian and Udmurt backgrounds have participated in setting up the exhibition. Events for school-children are organized in connection with the multilingual exhibition. The exhibition catalog printed at the Udmurtian National Museum Press is published in Mari, Erzya, Moksha, Udmurt and Russian languages.

THE FINNO-UGRIG TRIPTYCH will move to the Mordovian Art Museum in Saransk in March 2010 and then continue to the National Museum of Mari in Joshkar-Ola during the summer.

Thanks to this exhibition the teachers of the ethnic language can refer to the everyday usage of the Udmurt, Mari or Mordvinic languages also in the urban context.