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Sacred to the Touch : Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving - Thomas A. DuBois

Sacred to the Touch

Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving

By: Thomas A. DuBois

Paperback | 1 January 2018

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With near-mythical forests of birch and pine, the Nordic and Baltic countries boast a rich tradition of religious wood carving that is in many ways emblematic of their cultures.

Sacred to the Touch examines the spiritual and intellectual projects of six twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists who have adapted and revitalized this tradition. Through interviews and analyses, folklorist Thomas A. DuBois explores the notions of continuity with the past that these artists seek to express through their art, examining the forest church of late Finnish artist Eva Ryynanen, the carvings of Norwegian Americans Phillip Odden and Else Bigton that decorate a planned replica of a stave church in Southern California, the medieval Catholic-rooted work of Lutheran Sister Lydia Mariadotter (Swedish), the grave markers and roadside figures of Algimantas Sakalauskas (Lithuanian), and the merging of Lutheran and pre-Christian traditions by Lars Levi Sunna (Sami).

With color photographs and detailed descriptions, Sacred to the Touch reveals the interplay of tradition with personal and communal identity that characterize modern religious carving in Northern Europe.

About the Author

Thomas A. DuBois is the Halls-Bascom Professor of Scandinavian Studies, Folklore, and Religious Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is the author of Lyric, Meaning and Audience in the Oral Tradition of Northern Europe and Nordic Religions in the Viking Age.

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