Traditional Lithuanian folk sculpture: from the collections 
of Lithuanian Art Museum



Akvile Mikenaite

Traditional Lithuanian folk sculpture called small idols, statuettes is a branch of the visual arts and takes an important place in Lithuanian folk art. It was widely spread in Lithuania in the nineteenth Pieta. Samogitian Museum ALKAcentury and in the beginning of the twentieth century. It remained up to now in Zemaitija (Samogitia) upon a large scale. The oldest examples of the sculpture are known from the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century. There are two different approaches as far as the origin of Lithuanian folk sculpture is concerned. Some investigators think that there had not been any gods in the form of idols worshiped by Lithuanians. Thus, folk sculpture is the result of Christianity. The opposite opinion is that Lithuanian folk sculpture is the result of paganism. P. Galaune and M. Vorobjovas were the first who evaluated statuettes as works of art. The choise of shrine makers' themes was set by historical conditions. Christian iconography was understood by a folk artist in his own way and it was interpreted according to his own perception, thinking and experiences. The culture inherited from our ancestors is related to the transformations of Christianity. The themes chosen were close to peasents' life and their experiences. Special attention was paid to the worship of Christ and St. Maria in Lithuania. St. John Nepomucene, St. John Chrysostom, St. Isidore, St. George, St. Casimir, St. Francis, Si Roch, St. Agatha, St. Catherine and others spread over all Lithuania. The theme of the mourning Christ (Rupintojelis) was wery close to Lithuania. Traditional Lithuanian folk sculpture is the top of Lithuanian shrine makers' creative work.


Old lithuanian sculpture, crosses and shrine