LECTURE № 2

The Oldest population in the territory of Ukraine and its culture.

 

   The Trypillian period coincided with the transition from the boreal to the milder Atlantic climate: “the level of groundwater fell, the coniferous forests were replaced by leafy woods, cold-loving animals disappeared, humus began to form, the Black Sea - once a lake - became connected to the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosphorus strait, and water covered a significant part of the land on north-western Prychornomoria” (Chmykov, 2004). Not surprisingly, in an age where environmental change was linked to astronomical phenomena, the sun, dawn and everything connected to it was revered as much as life; whilst the night, evening and obscuring of the sun or moon (i.e. an eclipse) was feared with dread. Related to nature worship was the concept of ancestor worship. No doubt in times of fear and unease, people would turn to the spirits of their departed ancestors, seeking their care from the supernatural realm. One particular relevant ritual referring to ancestor worship, pre-dating but common to the Trypillian period, included the sacrificial burning of a home or even a complete settlement. “They contained beautiful vessels, tools, meat or animals, which became a rich offering to the spirits of their ancestors. It was necessary to burn out such houses, as well as leaving the old fields to the ancestors, as these houses of the dead would become shelters for the souls of their ancestors” (Videiko, The Trypillian Culture: Introduction).  Much of the reverence to the spiritual world can be read from the text of the ornamented items. For example, the fear of a solar eclipse is symbolized graphically on a vessel: “drawn on a piece of pottery was the sun that collided with the horns of the moon” (Chmykov, 2004). This is one example, but there are literally hundreds of signs used artistically with specific meanings, and Taras Tkachuk estimates that some “12% of these are related to Sumerian words (for example, star, plant, house)” (Videiko, Trypillian Civilisation in the Prehistory of Europe). Below I have constructed a list of some examples of ornament-symbols and their meanings. By no means exhaustive, these are those which occur frequently in relevant literature:

   Snake – wisdom; dragon snakes twined around the throne (where female figurine is seated) represent the motifs of holy marriage (Chmykov); a strip of carpet on the floor imitates a striped snake – the protector (Umansky); personification of river of life – eternal movement (Umansky); a moon deity (Burdo).

 Rhombus – the magic crossed rhombus symbolizes a fertile field (Umansky).

 Helix – represents heaven (Umansky).

 Marriage – is signified by the two signs (helix and rhombus) together: the marriage of heaven-father and earth-mother (Umansky).

 Wolves – a symbol of the eclipse. It was believed that the world would come to an end when the sun or moon fell into the maw of a beast (wolf, dog). In another legend, at the end of the world, one wolf will swallow the sun and another will clutch at the moon with its teeth (Chmykov).

 Spiral - depict the mystical journey to the centre, where illumination, wisdom and insight will be found (Goodman, p.122); protective against evil (Umansky),

 Tree-flower -  symbolizes the fertility Goddess ‘the tree of life’ (Umansky). The flower Goddess sanctifies the most important thing in the house – the fire or the stove (Umansky). Often a luxuriant flower is painted in her honor, against the white-washed wall just above the family hearth, to invoke the goddess’s protection.

 Circle  - Symbolizes spirit. Describes the whole cosmos – everything which is spiritual, everything that is embraced by the vast realm of the heavens (Goodman, p.17). A ditch is dug around a village or field to protect his crops and ward off evil (Umansky).

 Concentric circles – magic concentration symbol of sacral space (Burdo).

 Cross/Square - We should observe that the cross, or the square (both of which consist essentially of 4 elements) symbolize the heavy realm of matter, the four directions of space, the four elements and so on” (Goodman, p.38); representative of the four elements (Fire, Air, Earth and Water) which were once believed to form the basic material of the physical world (Goodman, p.17)

 Fish - The two fishes represent the soul and the spirit swimming in the sea which symbolize the body (Goodman, p.120)

 River – Souls of dead grandparents flow in the river towards the Goddess of Fertility, who sends them to the wombs of mothers to be reborn as the bodies of their grandchildren (Umansky).

 Vertical Lines: - Symbolizes spirit. Describes movement from above (Heaven) to below (Earth) or Heaven to Hell (Goodman, p,17).

 Horizontal Lines -  Symbolizes matter. Describes movement from west to east. It describes movement in time, as well as the direction from past to future (Goodman, p.17). As well as using ornamentation for protective reasons, it was also used to invoke good wishes for fertility, a characteristic (whether linked with bringing forth life either with people or with the land) which was much revered: thus women as keepers of the secrets of fertility (the archetypal earth mother) were highly regarded. Amongst the excavations, many goddess statuettes were recovered, often sitting on thrones. This essentially points to an egalitarian type of society, that honored both male and female deities, in the context of their religious worship. It also correlates to the proposal that Shlain makes about the role of women in Neolithic communities: “during a long period of prehistory and early history both men and women worshipped goddesses, women functioned as priests, and property commonly passed through the mother’s lineage” (Introduction, 1998).

From the 1980’s onward, Kyiv based archaeologist Nataliya Burdo assisted in the identification of Goddess statuettes that reflected the three stages of life (Madonna – Goddess with Child, Goddess-Cortex, Goddess-Matron), as well as anthropomorphic statuettes that the Great Goddess is associated with: the Moon Goddess, the Cow Goddess and the Bird Goddess. The fertility-Goddess cult is further expanded by the location of cave temples, where silhouettes of the naked Goddess were impregnated into the stone-wall (Bilche Zolote, see Appendix 2, under related entry).

hata Mokosh is universally accepted as the goddess of fertility in all the regions now defined by Slavic populations. The origins of the name stem from the words: mother + earth. This links in with “an old poetic concept of fertility of our soil – the mother syra (soggy) soil, and as it happens, the seed can only grow in the soggy soil” (Umansky). Shlain describes that Trypillian attitudes were similar to contemporary communities: “in the emerging civilizations, a mother Goddess was the principal deity: in Sumer she was Inanna, in Egypt she was Isis, in Canaan her name was Asherah, in Syria she was Astarte, in Greece, Demeter, in Cyprus, Aphrodite. They all recognized her as the Creatrix of life, nurturer of young, protector of children, and the source of milk, herds, vegetables, and grain. Since she presided over the great mystery of birth, people of this period presumed She must also hold sway over the great bedeviler of human thought – death. ( p.6, 1998). saray

The personification of Mokosh in ancient Trypillia – via these goddess statuettes – were used in a variety of rituals. Kochkin (2004) says that there are several known processes in which goddess statues were used. Firstly they were associated with magical rites including initiation ceremonies. There is evidence that others were used in seasonal land farming rituals, which seemed to correlate with fertility festivities. Others were deigned to assist and protect women who were pregnant and giving birth. The last category were in the role of  protector of children. These goddess statues were found in the graves of children – they were part of the family’s property and it was considered that the goddess will look after the child during the passage into the next world.

 Speculations on the fate of the Trypilska Kultura At the peak of its civilization, it is estimated that the Trypiltsi numbered close to 1,000,000 people in an area of 190,000 km2 (see Appendix 3). This population of agriculturalists, potters, blacksmiths, weavers had continued a fairly peaceful existence for close to 3000 years, and suddenly they disappeared. What happened to this civilization, and what was its legacy? The first question is difficult to answer, and there are several alternative hypotheses.

Vikentiy Khvoika’s original hypothesis was that the Trypillian settlements of the Middle Naddnipryanschyna had been the ancient motherland of all Slavs. This has provoked a lot of debate, and people have tried to classify the Trypillians variously as Proto-Slavs (V. Khvoika), Trako-Frigians (R. Schtern and others), Celts (K. Schugardt), and Tocharians (O.Mengin and others). T. Passek, M. Biliashevkiyi, O. Spytssyn and V. Horodtsov are convinced that the highly developed culture of the Trypillians “came from the south across the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara from the Asian coast, or across the Mediterranean Sea from Finikia of Egypt, as the ornamented ceramics suggest some oriental influence” (Susloparov, 2004). M. Marr (1921) conforms to this theory: “relatives of the South Caucasus Etruscans, the Lasgs and the Pelasgs, moved by the Northern Way, across the Black Sea, or along its Northern coast, and arrived at the Balkan Peninsular” (Susloparov, 2004). Marija Gimbutas is in agreement, as  “recent research shows that proto Indo-Europeans embarked on an enormous expansion into Europe and the Near East from the Steppes of Eurasia. The first movement from South Russia to Ukraine and the lower Danube basin occurred some time before 4000 BC” (Gimbutas, p.17, 1972). This correlates with the theory of movement from the Causcasus region across the Black Sea, and then northward into the territory that is now Ukraine.

Зображення:Tripolye 01.jpgO. Sobolevskyi defined their probable identity: “If we see the ancient Pelasgs as ancestors of Kimers and Scythians-Hellenes, and if we recognize Scythian-Hellenes as descendants of the early Greek colonists who got mixed with Kimers at their Dnipro and Dnistro-adjacent territories, we may see the representatives of the Trypilska Culture as Herodotus’ Kimers[6]” (Susloparov, 2004). In Book 4 of the Histories, Herodotus describes a peaceful nation of Kimers-Cimmerians, but who were hostile to the imposition of foreign customs, and who were eventually pushed back to the coast of the Black Sea and Crimea. It is possible these people were the distant relatives of our Trypiltsi.

Anthropologist Marija Gimbutas talks about the conflict of two types of cultures in the period around 3,000 BC. She notes (p.19, 1971) that with the coming of the Kurgan Proto-Indo-Europeans, who were semi-nomadic pastoralists with patrilineal and patriarchal social systems, the great Neolithic civilizations of the 4-5th millennia disintegrated. They included:

        Cucuteni-Tripolye civilizations in Western Ukraine and Moldova;

        Gumelnitsa in Southern Rumania, Bulgaria and Eastern Macedonia;

        Vinca in the Central Balkans;

        Butmir in Bosnia;

        Bodrogkeresztur in the Tisza Region;

    Lengyel in the middle Danube Basin.

She states that “typical kurgan elements that derived from the steppes include: pastoralism with some agriculture, hills/forts, small villages with small rectangular houses, specific burial rites in house-like structures, and simple unpainted pottery decorated with cord impressions, stabbing or incisions. Their economy, habitation patterns, social structure, architecture, and the lack of interest in art were in sharp contrast to the local Cucuteni-Tripoye and Funnel-Necked Beaker cultural elements” (p.20, 1971).   Shlain describes the social change that coincided with the disappearance of  Trypillian and other Neolithic communities: “the Great Goddess began to lose power. Systematic political and economic subjugation of women followed; coincidentally, slavery became commonplace. Around 1500 BC there were hundreds of goddess-based sects. By the 5th century AD they had been almost completely eradicated, by which time women were also prohibited from conducting a single major Western sacrament” (p.10, 1998). Shlain hypothesizes that it was with the advent of literacy, social change leant to a hierarchical, patriarchal outlook, embracing a male, monotheistic god in all major world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). He proposes that image-based Neolithic communities which were more egalitarian, were in direct conflict with the patriarchy of literate communities. He quotes anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in support of his argument, who challenged literacy’s worth: “the only phenomenon which, always and in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing… is the establishment of hierarchical societies, consisting of masters and slaves, and where one part of the population is made to work for the other part” (Shlain, p.12, 1998).   Was the Trypillian civilization a matriarchal state? There is no evidence to say that it was or it wasn’t. It is typical of many Neolithic cultures that were characterized by their settled, agricultural economy, egalitarian attitudes, respect of nature, love of art. It did not feature a hierarchical structure, and therefore in this sort of society, slave-owning was unheard of. Unfortunately the embracing of a patriarchal administration lead to many superficial and structural social changes. The religious iconography completely censored women: the Goddess of Fertility was supplanted by a flower, and then later by a more masculine ‘tree-of-life’ symbol, the concept of God and his helpers were all male, religious ornamentation favored male oriented symbols (such as the cross indicating the four elements of earth, sky, water, fire) as opposed to the feminine symbols (eternal circle, river of life). Anthropologists talk about the Fertility Goddess figure being rehabilitated into the iconography of the Madonna, Mother of Christ, but unlike her original role, she plays a secondary and passive role.  

Trypillian Motifs in Contemporary Ukrainian Culture:

posudA long time ago, the Trypiltsi had joined their ancestors in the next world, however many of their ideas, attitudes and symbols have been preserved to the times of contemporary Ukraine, even though the worlds we inhabit, are so vastly different from each other. Art has been preserved in many forms and is a common thread linking the past to the present. Many features of the Trypilska Kultura can be easily found in the practice of  today’s contemporary folklore both in Ukraine and in the diaspora; through this we can trace a definitive and identifying line right back to the cultural influence the Trypiltsi exerted on us – as our ancestors.   Reminiscent of ancient nature worship, many traditional Ukrainian folk-songs contain specific references and opening sequences illustrating the natural world. In these sort of songs, the opening lines draw a picture of a natural setting with all the features of mountains or roads, trees, running water, little animals or birds twittering nearby.  It is as if to pay respect to nature, and then to move on and tell the story of the romance, or the parting, or the philosophical thoughts one is having. Examples of such songs are Oy u Hayu Pry Dunayu, Viye Viter, Teche Voda Kalamutna, Po Toy Bik Hora.   Sometimes an element of nature is used as the central allegory in the whole song. In Chotyry Rozhy, a woman indicates how the four colors of the roses reflect the fortunes of love in her life (pink-romance, red-love, yellow-disagreement, white-parting). In Zorya Moya Vechirnaya (taken from a poem by Taras Shevchenko), a princess finds herself in a foreign land, and she sees in her conversation with the evening star, memories of her far away home, and her only moments of release from her melancholy.   Lastly, they can be classified with respect to the seasonal cycle. Zhenchychok is a song originating in springtime, indicating the lively playfulness of a prancing grasshopper. Hahilky are songs inspired by nature and the rebirth of spring that are sung and danced after the traditional Easter Sunday service. Oy Na Hori, Tam Zhentzi Zhnut’ is really a song that introduces an army of Cossacks who will be passing through the village. But is starts off by saying, ‘hey look up there, the zhentsi are cutting the wheat (in the old days with scythes)’. This was a job normally done as part of the harvesting season, so it is clearly a song originating in the summer part of the cycle. U Karpatakh Hodyt’ Osyn, relates to autumn, and interestingly personifies non-human elements – it is as if autumn is walking around himself. Metelytsya is an instrumental dance that is played at a very fast tempo to imitate the fury of the snowstorm that it is named after. Shchedrivky are New Year season songs, celebrating the Ukrainian New Year on the 14th January. Shchedryk is the most well-known of these songs.   Folk dancing, khorovod and hahilky are all forms of Ukrainian dance (the latter two accompanied by the participants’ singing). “Ritual dance symbols reproduce the magic signs of the circle, parallel bee-lines, meandering labyrinth, and wavy line snake. These figures, which are among Trypillian ornamental magic symbolism are elements of ritual dances” (Burdo, 2004).   In the religious festivals which seemingly have supplanted the old traditions, there seems to be echoes of Trypillia. The internal chamber of the church is dressed in the ancient embroideries painstakingly made for them by members of the sisterhood. The men might produce beautiful woodcuts, or as in the case at Homebush-Flemington, a beautiful wooden model of the Church exterior architecture. At Easter time, women furiously bake pasky, and prepare a beautiful basket of food, which symbolizes all the gifts on the new Spring season, and those from which they would be fasting, or which would be in low supply. People design multi-colored pysanky, invoking ancient symbols, only to give them away as gifts as a sign of friendship and love. Before midnight on Easter Saturday everybody leaves the church and make a circular procession around the church. Having left the church largely draped in black, when it is re-entered precisely after midnight, it is a display of light lit candles, bright embroideries, beautiful flowers and joyful singing. It seems reminiscent of the symbolism of the magic circle, and its rebirth and life-affirming rituals.   Just as the church is adorned with traditional ornamentation, contemporary houses in Ukraine evidently have followed the unique habit of colorfully adorning the exterior borders of the house walls. In many villages as you drive by, wavy patterns meander along the borders of the house walls. And inside the house, the luxuriant flower Goddess is painted on the serving spoons, and perhaps also on some dishes and ceramic vases as well. Perhaps in that house you will also find some books; perhaps there is at least one by Mykola Hohol. In his short stories, where he illustrates the fantasy and rich folklore of Ukrainians, he draws on the source of ancient Trypillian symbolism  – In Viy, a story about a confrontation with a terrible beast, the young seminarist Khota defends himself, by drawing the magic circle around himself, which protects him from the onslaughts of the evil witch. Drawing on the mythology behind the end of the world, Hohol describes, how the devil disguised as a wolf, one night comes to steal the moon in Nich Proty Rizdva.   6. Closing Comments

 hram2 For most people, the Trypilska Kultura is something that is familiar, but yet at the same time they will conclude that they do not know much about it. However, its artistic expression, its mysterious symbols, its vibrant colors render it simultaneously attractive and full of mystique. Much of the symbolism of the ancient Trypillia is alive and well in the ornamentation of our embroidered shirts, implements, ceramics and souvenirs, tablecloths, rugs and blankets, our houses, schools and churches. Umansky recognized the comfortable yet paradoxical relationship between the paganism of Ancient Trypillia and the modern Christian Church: “both home and church icons are decorated with embroidered rushnyks. The relation between orthodoxy and paganism is quite noticeable here: the Christian Church respects the remains of ancient naпve faith. It understands the deep feelings for nature, native land, old customs and national culture beneath the surface. Christianity had once defeated the faith of early ploughmen. Now however, the Church consecrates the ancient original Ukrainian art that depicts the nation’s own face and civilization – distinctive from those of other Indo-European nations” (2004). There leaves no doubt, that the starting point of Ancient Trypillia is indeed the spiritual and cultural birthplace of Ukraine, and all that is Ukrainian.

 

 

Керносівський ідол.  Дніпропетровський історичний музей2. The Oldest population in the territory of Ukraine and its culture.

                 

Study of the subject Ukrainian and foreign culture is of great importance as far as it deals with the question of genesis and development of the human civilization and analysis of the national cultures and their contribution to the world one. So, the course is directed at enriching of knowledge and expansion of outlook of students in the field of the cultural heritage of the mankind, establishing of their aesthetic and cultural background, acquaintance with the cultural achievements of different historical epochs and nations, so that it will enable students to develop sense of beauty and harmony in their life and career. Speaking about the notion of culture we should emphasize that this concept is of a complex character. The term culture is originated from a Latin word cultura – education, development. An attempt to define this notion was made at the world conference on the cultural policy, which was held under UNESCO in 1982, so that it was declared: “ Culture is a complex of special material, spiritual, intellectual and emotional lineaments of the human society ”. In other words we can determine culture as the social heritage: the total body of material artifacts (tools, weapons, houses, places of work, worship, government, recreation, works of art, etc.), of collective mental and spiritual artifacts (system of symbols, ideas, beliefs, aesthetic perceptions, values, etc.), and of distinctive forms of behavior (institutions, groupings, rituals, modes of organization, etc.) created by people in their ongoing activities within their particular life – conditions, and transmitted from generation to generation. Speaking about the structure of culture we can say that it can be represented either by the material means or spiritually. The material aspect of culture includes productive means and results of the human activity on each stage of the development of the mankind. The spiritual aspect is realized through religious, intellectual, moral, legal, artistic and pedagogic cultural constituents. In terms of geographic regions we distinguish the world and the national culture. The world culture is determined as the system of human values, which constitute the best lines of the cultures of different nations. The national culture is an aggregate of ecological, political, domestic, ritual, moral factors typical for a separate nation. Depending on the level of development of the human society the elite, folk and mass cultures can be distinguished. The elite culture is a result of the activity of the higher social strata, however it should not be considered separately from other cultural constituents. The folk culture is a part of the social heritage – customs, institutions, conventions, skills, arts that is typical of a group of people feeling themselves members of a closely bound community and sharing a deep – rooted attachment to it. It is predominantly non – literate, and so closely knit as to be transmitted from generation to generation by oral means and by ritual and behavioral habituation. The notion of the mass culture is often linked to the concept of the mass society and connected with development of the market relations and the process of globalization. Its use became common in cultural criticism in 1930 – 1950 – s to describe the typical products of the commercially – driven mass communication industries – films, radio, records, advertising, the popular press and television.

Historically, depending on certain geographic and ethnic factors, such cultural regions as European, Far – East, Indian, Arab – Muslim, African and LatinoAmerican were formed, each of them having its own peculiar features. To study the system of culture of separate regions and of the world in general we should apply a historical – comparative method (the synchronic approach – analysis of the same problem in different periods of time and the diachronic approach – comparison of the stated problem in different regions at the same period of time) and a method of the structural – functional analysis, so that it will enable us to better understand and comprehend the notion of culture, its complex character and interconnection of its constituent elements. Зображення:Pantikapey.jpg

The concept of culture is closely connected with the notion of civilization, although they should not be mixed, as far as the first reflects the level of each stage of either material or spiritual development of the human society.

The primeval culture of primitive societies is one of the most important periods in development of the mankind as far as it established its material and spiritual background that in further epochs was only improved by the human civilization. The first people started their existence two million years ago. The term primitive is usually associated with something plain and simple. However, it can be hardly stated about the primitive society art. Depending on tools used by the ancient people, the history of the primeval world is divided into the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods), the Copper Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.

The first pieces of art appeared during the late Paleolithic period (40000 – 8000 BC). People of this period were, first of all hunters. Their creative activity was inspired by a surrounding nature, a rich animal world and dedicated mostly to hunting. The Lascaux Caves in the South of France and some other regions are considered among the most exquisite and well – preserved examples of prehistoric culture still available to modern eyes (remember that the term prehistoric simply means before historical documentation, and carries with it no intrinsic value judgment). Inside the impressive tunnel complex there remains a vast array of drawings, which date back 20000 – 25000 years. It appears that these images served some function relating to the hunt. The Paleolithic peoples were essentially migratory; their very existence relied on the success of the hunt. Two consequences follow on from such a basic level of survival: the first is a reverence for the food supply (together with a respect for the natural order of things and a giving of thanks for the coming of the herds) and the second is the necessity of moving to find food. It is within this context that Paleolithic communities first produced visual expressions.      The hunt was most likely a central focus in these early communities, since agriculture had not been developed yet. Given these severe conditions, it seems quite appropriate that beasts of prey, like other natural objects and events, should become the focus of enormous attention and admiration in the human communities – particularly since their very lives depended on them. It is from these conditions that religion and art evolve. Religion explains and orders the universe around a set of collectively adopted

and assumed principles of reality, and if the reality of 20000 BC was survival through the hunting of wildebeest or some such delight, then one can assume that the animal in question had a vital role in the continuation of the universe. Part of the anticipation of the hunt would, then, be the necessary contemplation and appeasement of the animal’s spirit through some form of ritual or ceremonial activity. The probable result was the production of visual expressions to serve as surrogates and objects of contemplation for the most basic experiences of life. The first pieces of the prehistoric art were schematic and static. Gradually, images of animals became more dynamic and vivid. In 15000 – 8000 the first three – dimension images of bulls and mammoths appeared (Alta Mira Caves in Spain, Nio Caves in France).

Зображення:Chernyakhov 01.jpgThe ancient people initiated the development of all the trends of Fine Arts: graphics (images and silhouettes), painting (images made by means of color mineral paints), sculpture (figures either cut of stone or made of clay). The so – called Venus of Willendorf, perhaps the oldest surviving three – dimensional depiction of a human body, is approximately 25000 years old and it exhibits notably different characteristics. The Venus figure is portrayed in the round, possessing volume and interacting with real space – the same features the modern culture has come to recognize as essential characteristics of the art of sculpture. Of over 200 surviving Paleolithic figurines, there has yet to emerge a single male statuette, thus the mystery of childbirth elevated the status of the woman. This statuette is most likely a fertile symbol. The massive breasts and stomach suggest the life-giving qualities of the woman as a child – bearer, so that emphasis was placed on creating images that appeared as embodiments of power and mystery. The scale seems to appear as such: as the depicted forms move from animal life, through humans, to cult figures and godheads, their visual identities become increasingly abstract, with certain features accentuated and other diminished.

         During The Mesolithic and Neolithic periods people, alongside with hunting and fishing started breeding cattle and cultivating soil, what made them improve their stone tools and invent new devices like bows, arrows, pottery, etc. Besides, development of agriculture required establishment of some kind of a calendar and improvement of a system of the astronomic knowledge. The first calendars were based on the phases of the Moon. Later on, the Sun calendar was invented. Cattle breeding made the ancient people deal with counting and exchange, so that it later resulted into establishment of a system of figures and counting. The Bronze and Iron Age were marked by spread of the first metal tools (primitive axes and knives).

Gradually, people mastered different building materials, so that to solve the questions of the house – planning. This put the beginning of architecture. The painting of that time is characterized by intention to express some scenes from hunting or war actions. Ornament as a technique of decorating became wide – spread, especially, in the territory of Ukraine and was typical for the culture of Trypillia (3000 – 2000 BC the Western Ukraine and the region of the Dnieper River). A Trypillia settlement consisted of houses placed on a circle. The red and black paints were mostly in use. Trypillian people had the cults of bull, goat, snake and heathen ceremonies. The ceramic production is one of the best manifestations of the material and cultural development of Trypillian people. The plastic art was developed as well. The labor implements were made from stone, bones and horns. Taking into consideration the content, role and significance of Trypillia culture in the history of Ukraine and the world one, we can state that Ukrainian nation is a heir of the cultural legacy of Trypillia people as far as they are direct ancestors of Ukrainians. It should be emphasized that all the elements of Trypillia culture – the system of economy, topography of settlements, decorative house painting, a mode of life, cooking, clothes and character of ornamental ceramics constitute the organic part of the Ukrainian culture. New architectural constructions – primitive fortresses and burials - appeared in the late Neolithic period and founded the monumental stone architecture. To some extent, war actions contributed to development of surgery and primitive medicine that empirically came to the practice of injections against catching diseases. Besides, megalithic (made of huge stones) buildings were wide – spread as well. Among them we can point out dolmens (round – formed graves covered with a placid stone) and cromlechs  (cult structures in the form of a round fence made of huge stones). Out of the most famous surviving Neolithic building structures is Stonehenge in southern England. Most likely constructed as a shrine, the outer of its two concentric rings has the interesting distinction of being laid out in exact accordance with the directional path of the sun at the summer solstice. This celestial consideration is indicative of the Neolithic community’s growing awareness of natural phenomena and the cycle of seasons. But perhaps its most important attribute is its very survival; Stonehenge remains one of the earliest examples of public architecture in Northern Europe to survive to this day. Manufacturing of silver and gold decorations, bone carvings, application of bronze and iron tools in every – day life (invention of a plough) marked the late period of the ancient society. The analysis of the social aspect of the culture of the ancient society enables us to point out its peculiar features.  The culture of the prehistoric times was homogeneous. Initially, the first people appeared only in one region of the Earth (North Africa and Middle East) and, gradually, they moved to other continents, so that in the prehistoric period these people were representatives of one race, their mode of life was the same including their outlook, beliefs and other elements of the culture of that time. The primeval culture was a complex system of taboos (prohibitions). As far as ancient people could not find explanation for many things that are considered obvious nowadays, they were simply prohibited even to think about. The outlook of the primeval culture was of a mythological – sacred character. Its main constituent was a ritual. The ritual activity of ancient people was grounded on the principle of taking after natural phenomena that greatly influenced all the spheres of life in the prehistoric times and resulted into establishment of the system of beliefs among which we can point out Animism, Fetishism, and Totems.

         Animism (from Latin  - anima – spirit, soul) is a term first used by E. B. Tylor for belief based on the universal human experiences of dreams and visions, in “ spiritual beings ”, comprising the souls of individual creatures and other spirits. It terms of sheer quantity, ancient people thought natural phenomena to possess the human features. This belief grew into the idea of spirit and soul embodied in every animal and plant, so that it resulted into creation of myths (Greek – a word). Their main function was to accumulate knowledge about the surrounding world. Fetishism was a belief into supernatural abilities of things to help people. An object to worship could

be either a stone, a tree, means of labor or a talisman. People thought that these things or their depiction could satisfy all their needs. A totem belief is a kind of belief into a tight connection of people with its totem – a kind of animals or, sometimes, plants. A tribe was called after the name of its totem and its members believed into their origin from it. A totem was not worshiped. Mostly, it was considered to be “ Father ” or a “ senior brother ” that helped a tribe. This belief was a kind of the ideological reflection of connection of a tribe with the surrounding nature.

         The culture of the prehistoric times formed a background for establishment of the world culture and development of new civilizations (Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Iran, etc.). The process of study of the primeval epoch is not finished yet as far as archeologist all the time discover new amazing and beautiful artifacts of the culture of ancient people.

During the Miocene Period in Tertiary Age of Cenozoic Era, some 12 million years ago, most of Ukraine was covered by sea. At the end of this period the seas receded to the approximately present day coasts of Black, Azov and Caspian seas to form one big sea. The climate was very hot and humid, lush vegetation covered the ground and there were all kinds of large animals and birds.

 

Then, during the Pliocene period, some 6 million years ago, the climate began to cool. Many plants and animals disappeared and only those, which could adapt to lower temperatures, such as fury mammoths and rhinoceroses, remained. Later the ground froze up and soon ice sheets covered most of the northern part of Ukraine. That was the Pleistocene Period in Quaternary Age of Cenozoic Era, about 1 million years ago,

Commonly known as the Ice Age.

When the ice retreated, life started to reappear. Traces of human habitation in Ukraine, dating back at least 30 thousand years, became evident during geological excavations. Primitive stone tools, carvings from mammoth tusks, arrow heads made from flint stone, earthenware, bronze tools and weapons and gold jewelry found in different layers of earth enabled geologists to

reconstruct the way of life of early man.

At first, during Old Stone Age (Paleolithic Age), humans did not have domestic animals, could not make utensils and relied exclusively on hunting and fishing. Then, gradually, during Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic Age) they began to make stone tools and weapons.

Later, during Late Stone Age (Neolithic Age), they began to make utensils from earth, kept domestic animals for milk and meat, constructed dwellings and cultivated the soil.

During the Bronze Age, about 3000 BC, and Iron Age, about 1000 BC, metal agricultural implements and weapons came into use; crafts and commerce began to develop.

From 7th century BC Greeks started to colonize the coast of the Black Sea. They traded wine, oil, and textiles, silver and gold wares and utensils with local tribes for grain and hides but they also engaged in slave trade. They introduced Greek Culture and many tribes adopted Greek customs and religion. The Greek historian Herodotus documented information about Ukraine of this period.

There were numerous tribes in Ukraine, some nomadic, some agricultural; most of the time at war with each other. The oldest known main inhabitants of Ukraine were Cimmerians. They were replaced in 5th century BC by Scythians, who ruled till 2nd century BC; Sarmatian tribes then replaced them. Later in 1st century AD the tribesmen of the dominant horde were called Alanis.

These tribes, mainly of Iranian origin, were conquered in 2nd century AD by German tribe called Goths from Baltic region. About 370 AD, the first Asian horde of Huns, on their way to western Europe, defeated and expelled Goths from Ukraine. They were followed in 5th-6th centuries by the Bulgars and Avars.

The exact origin of Slav people is unknown, but it can be assumed that they existed for a long time before they were mentioned in historical records by Romans in 1st century AD. A very strong Slav tribe called Wends developed in 4th century; their settlements extended from central Ukraine up to Baltic Sea. When in the 6th century they moved to Southwest Germany, Antes became the dominant tribe in Ukraine.Зображення:Zbruch Idol LG.jpg

In 1897, archaeologist Vikentiy Khvoika discovered the Trypillian civilization, and hypothesised that they might be the original ancestors of all Slavs. While this theory is in dispute, the Trypiltsi, located in central and south-western Ukraine, certainly influenced Ukrainian religious and artistic culture. The Trypillian civilization came to it's final stages in 2400BC, by which time, it began merging with other, newer communities, such as the Cimmerians and the Scythians. I propose the Trypillian Civilization as the spiritual birthplace of today's Ukraine, because of the profound impact it had on developing the psyche and identity of the country in relation to its spirituality, respect of nature, and admiration for the arts being able to express this highest communion between people, their natural and supernatural worlds.

In this research paper dedicated to the ancient archaeology of Ukraine, I will attempt to illustrate the spiritual life of the Trypillian civilization at its height,  to identify the religious motifs contained within the artistic records left behind for us, connecting their time with ours. I hope to also show how the form of Trypillian symbolic art has been retained and repeated to this current day in contemporary religious and secular material culture and rituals, creating a long uninterrupted cultural connection between today’s Ukraine and her spiritual birthplace, the world of our ancestors – the Trypiltsi.

This ancient civilization, also known as Cucuteni in Moldova and Rumania, was named eponymously after the town where finds were first excavated. In 1896-1899 Czech born Vicentiy Khvoika conducted a series of excavations near the town of Trypillia, in Obukhivskiy district, Kyiv region. These excavations unearthed an incredible array of monuments, statuettes, ceramics, day-to-day implements and tools, graves, housing, even complete proto-city settlements, indicating an ongoing, settled, traditional agrarian culture. V. Khvoika documented "this discovery to the 11th Congress of Archaeologists in 1897, which is now considered the official date of the discovery of the Trypillian culture" (E-Museum, 2004). Dr. M. Videiko, a leading archaeologist-academic at the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences wrote that "carbon dating of these settlements placed them at 4200-2750 BC" (Trypillian Civilization in the Prehistory of Europe, 2004).

There is agreement amongst archaeologists that this land has been tilled continuously. Umansky believes this suggests "that the local population sustained the achievements of the material and spiritual culture of the Trypillians" (2004). Importantly, this indicates that while the material evidence of the Trypiltsi had been preserved under the earth that they so revered, their attitudes, symbols, and art have been preserved in the living successive cultures with whom the Trypiltsi merged. Since Vikentiy's discoveries more than a hundred years ago, the Ukrainian earth has revealed many of its well-kept secrets. Dr Videiko has documented some 1,200 settlements that have been explored over the course of the 19th-20th centuries: these are summarized in Appendix 2. From these treasures hidden and preserved by earth for so many years, we are able to interpret the important aspects of the Trypillians' inner spiritual life, and how they codified these within their art.

Thinking about the information revealed by excavations, perhaps I am close in my offbeat interpretation of the word. ‘Artefacts’ comes from the Latin arte factum, from ars skill + facere to make. In a modern sense, artifacts are ‘something made or given shape by man, such as a tool or work of art, especially an object of archaeological interest’ (Collins, p.61, 1998). However, it is the meanings (the facts, or the text) embedded in the forms that give context to that society and its belief system.  Ornamentation of everyday use items seemed to be an obligatory component of their creation. Earthenware, ceramics, pottery, tools, vessels, dishes, pottery moulds, internal walls of houses (as shown by clay models) all exhibit a compulsory ornamentation: painted in varying earth-colours, such as white, red, ochre and black, and sometimes carved with incisions or encrusted. The decoration of items or spaces are geometrical incorporating symbols of nature (sun, moon, stars, rain, birds, trees, branches, seeds, flowers, water) and with magical symbols of the supernatural world (the eternal circle, teeth, rhombus, crosses, endless meanders, snake-patterns, lines) are so universal and repeated, that it is unlikely that the decorations were random or coincidental. Umansky believes that these ornament-symbols are of two types: “those aiding to find food and to grow crops, and those protecting people and the results of their labour”. He notes that “some items carried both the symbols of fertility and of protection, intertwined in an integral picture of the cosmos”. Videiko also supports the idea of using ornamentation as a form of protection: “the floor and the walls were painted with red and white colours and decorated with geometrical ornamental patterns to protect the inhabitants from evil spirits” (The Trypillian Culture: Introduction).

   It is not surprising that cosmic protection was so integral to Trypillian beliefs. The triangular interrelationship of man/woman, the life-bringing earth, and the cosmic forces all affected and depended on each other. Lockyer comments that the people who would first observe the heavenly bodies, and apply this knowledge, “would succeed best in knowing when to plough and sow, and when to reap and mow” (p. 2, 1964). It would be natural, considering the awe, fear and wonder with which these ancient peoples lived, to infer a supernatural quality on these all-controlling elements: the sun, the dawn, the moon, fire, thunder, and storm all were deified in the religion of this old form of nature worship.

   The Trypillian period coincided with the transition from the boreal to the milder Atlantic climate: “the level of groundwater fell, the coniferous forests were replaced by leafy woods, cold-loving animals disappeared, humus began to form, the Black Sea - once a lake - became connected to the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosphorus strait, and water covered a significant part of the land on north-western Prychornomoria” (Chmykov, 2004). Not surprisingly, in an age where environmental change was linked to astronomical phenomena, the sun, dawn and everything connected to it was revered as much as life; whilst the night, evening and obscuring of the sun or moon (i.e. an eclipse) was feared with dread. Related to nature worship was the concept of ancestor worship. No doubt in times of fear and unease, people would turn to the spirits of their departed ancestors, seeking their care from the supernatural realm. One particular relevant ritual referring to ancestor worship, pre-dating but common to the Trypillian period, included the sacrificial burning of a home or even a complete settlement. “They contained beautiful vessels, tools, meat or animals, which became a rich offering to the spirits of their ancestors. It was necessary to burn out such houses, as well as leaving the old fields to the ancestors, as these houses of the dead would become shelters for the souls of their ancestors” (Videiko, The Trypillian Culture: Introduction).  Much of the reverence to the spiritual world can be read from the text of the ornamented items. For example, the fear of a solar eclipse is symbolized graphically on a vessel: “drawn on a piece of pottery was the sun that collided with the horns of the moon” (Chmykov, 2004). This is one example, but there are literally hundreds of signs used artistically with specific meanings, and Taras Tkachuk estimates that some “12% of these are related to Sumerian words (for example, star, plant, house)” (Videiko, Trypillian Civilisation in the Prehistory of Europe). Below I have constructed a list of some examples of ornament-symbols and their meanings. By no means exhaustive, these are those which occur frequently in relevant literature:

   Snake – wisdom; dragon snakes twined around the throne (where female figurine is seated) represent the motifs of holy marriage (Chmykov); a strip of carpet on the floor imitates a striped snake – the protector (Umansky); personification of river of life – eternal movement (Umansky); a moon deity (Burdo).

 Rhombus – the magic crossed rhombus symbolizes a fertile field (Umansky).

 Helix – represents heaven (Umansky).

 Marriage – is signified by the two signs (helix and rhombus) together: the marriage of heaven-father and earth-mother (Umansky).

 Wolves – a symbol of the eclipse. It was believed that the world would come to an end when the sun or moon fell into the maw of a beast (wolf, dog). In another legend, at the end of the world, one wolf will swallow the sun and another will clutch at the moon with its teeth (Chmykov).

 Spiral - depict the mystical journey to the centre, where illumination, wisdom and insight will be found (Goodman, p.122); protective against evil (Umansky),

 Tree-flower -  symbolizes the fertility Goddess ‘the tree of life’ (Umansky). The flower Goddess sanctifies the most important thing in the house – the fire or the stove (Umansky). Often a luxuriant flower is painted in her honor, against the white-washed wall just above the family hearth, to invoke the goddess’s protection.

 Circle  - Symbolizes spirit. Describes the whole cosmos – everything which is spiritual, everything that is embraced by the vast realm of the heavens (Goodman, p.17). A ditch is dug around a village or field to protect his crops and ward off evil (Umansky).

 Concentric circles – magic concentration symbol of sacral space (Burdo).

 Cross/Square - We should observe that the cross, or the square (both of which consist essentially of 4 elements) symbolize the heavy realm of matter, the four directions of space, the four elements and so on” (Goodman, p.38); representative of the four elements (Fire, Air, Earth and Water) which were once believed to form the basic material of the physical world (Goodman, p.17)

 Fish - The two fishes represent the soul and the spirit swimming in the sea which symbolize the body (Goodman, p.120)

 River – Souls of dead grandparents flow in the river towards the Goddess of Fertility, who sends them to the wombs of mothers to be reborn as the bodies of their grandchildren (Umansky).

 Vertical Lines: - Symbolizes spirit. Describes movement from above (Heaven) to below (Earth) or Heaven to Hell (Goodman, p,17).

 Horizontal Lines -  Symbolizes matter. Describes movement from west to east. It describes movement in time, as well as the direction from past to future (Goodman, p.17). As well as using ornamentation for protective reasons, it was also used to invoke good wishes for fertility, a characteristic (whether linked with bringing forth life either with people or with the land) which was much revered: thus women as keepers of the secrets of fertility (the archetypal earth mother) were highly regarded. Amongst the excavations, many goddess[5] statuettes were recovered, often sitting on thrones. This essentially points to an egalitarian type of society, that honored both male and female deities, in the context of their religious worship. It also correlates to the proposal that Shlain makes about the role of women in Neolithic communities: “during a long period of prehistory and early history both men and women worshipped goddesses, women functioned as priests, and property commonly passed through the mother’s lineage” (Introduction, 1998).

From the 1980’s onward, Kyiv based archaeologist Nataliya Burdo assisted in the identification of Goddess statuettes that reflected the three stages of life (Madonna – Goddess with Child, Goddess-Cortex, Goddess-Matron), as well as anthropomorphic statuettes that the Great Goddess is associated with: the Moon Goddess, the Cow Goddess and the Bird Goddess. The fertility-Goddess cult is further expanded by the location of cave temples, where silhouettes of the naked Goddess were impregnated into the stone-wall (Bilche Zolote, see Appendix 2, under related entry).

 Mokosh is universally accepted as the goddess of fertility in all the regions now defined by Slavic populations. The origins of the name stem from the words: mother + earth. This links in with “an old poetic concept of fertility of our soil – the mother syra (soggy) soil, and as it happens, the seed can only grow in the soggy soil” (Umansky). Shlain describes that Trypillian attitudes were similar to contemporary communities: “in the emerging civilizations, a mother Goddess was the principal deity: in Sumer she was Inanna, in Egypt she was Isis, in Canaan her name was Asherah, in Syria she was Astarte, in Greece, Demeter, in Cyprus, Aphrodite. They all recognized her as the Creatrix of life, nurturer of young, protector of children, and the source of milk, herds, vegetables, and grain. Since she presided over the great mystery of birth, people of this period presumed She must also hold sway over the great bedeviler of human thought – death. ( p.6, 1998).

The personification of Mokosh in ancient Trypillia – via these goddess statuettes – were used in a variety of rituals. Kochkin (2004) says that there are several known processes in which goddess statues were used. Firstly they were associated with magical rites including initiation ceremonies. There is evidence that others were used in seasonal land farming rituals, which seemed to correlate with fertility festivities. Others were deigned to assist and protect women who were pregnant and giving birth. The last category were in the role of  protector of children. These goddess statues were found in the graves of children – they were part of the family’s property and it was considered that the goddess will look after the child during the passage into the next world.

 Speculations on the fate of the Trypilska Kultura At the peak of its civilization, it is estimated that the Trypiltsi numbered close to 1,000,000 people in an area of 190,000 km2 (see Appendix 3). This population of agriculturalists, potters, blacksmiths, weavers had continued a fairly peaceful existence for close to 3000 years, and suddenly they disappeared. What happened to this civilization, and what was its legacy? The first question is difficult to answer, and there are several alternative hypotheses.

Vikentiy Khvoika’s original hypothesis was that the Trypillian settlements of the Middle Naddnipryanschyna had been the ancient motherland of all Slavs. This has provoked a lot of debate, and people have tried to classify the Trypillians variously as Proto-Slavs (V. Khvoika), Trako-Frigians (R. Schtern and others), Celts (K. Schugardt), and Tocharians (O.Mengin and others). T. Passek, M. Biliashevkiyi, O. Spytssyn and V. Horodtsov are convinced that the highly developed culture of the Trypillians “came from the south across the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara from the Asian coast, or across the Mediterranean Sea from Finikia of Egypt, as the ornamented ceramics suggest some oriental influence” (Susloparov, 2004). M. Marr (1921) conforms to this theory: “relatives of the South Caucasus Etruscans, the Lasgs and the Pelasgs, moved by the Northern Way, across the Black Sea, or along its Northern coast, and arrived at the Balkan Peninsular” (Susloparov, 2004). Marija Gimbutas is in agreement, as  “recent research shows that proto Indo-Europeans embarked on an enormous expansion into Europe and the Near East from the Steppes of Eurasia. The first movement from South Russia to Ukraine and the lower Danube basin occurred some time before 4000 BC” (Gimbutas, p.17, 1972). This correlates with the theory of movement from the Causcasus region across the Black Sea, and then northward into the territory that is now Ukraine.

O. Sobolevskyi defined their probable identity: “If we see the ancient Pelasgs as ancestors of Kimers and Scythians-Hellenes, and if we recognize Scythian-Hellenes as descendants of the early Greek colonists who got mixed with Kimers at their Dnipro and Dnistro-adjacent territories, we may see the representatives of the Trypilska Culture as Herodotus’ Kimers[6]” (Susloparov, 2004). In Book 4 of the Histories, Herodotus describes a peaceful nation of Kimers-Cimmerians, but who were hostile to the imposition of foreign customs, and who were eventually pushed back to the coast of the Black Sea and Crimea. It is possible these people were the distant relatives of our Trypiltsi.

Anthropologist Marija Gimbutas talks about the conflict of two types of cultures in the period around 3,000 BC. She notes (p.19, 1971) that with the coming of the Kurgan Proto-Indo-Europeans, who were semi-nomadic pastoralists with patrilineal and patriarchal social systems, the great Neolithic civilizations of the 4-5th millennia disintegrated. They included:

 

        Cucuteni-Tripolye civilizations in Western Ukraine and Moldova;

        Gumelnitsa in Southern Rumania, Bulgaria and Eastern Macedonia;

        Vinca in the Central Balkans;

        Butmir in Bosnia;

        Bodrogkeresztur in the Tisza Region;

    Lengyel in the middle Danube Basin.

She states that “typical kurgan elements that derived from the steppes include: pastoralism with some agriculture, hills/forts, small villages with small rectangular houses, specific burial rites in house-like structures, and simple unpainted pottery decorated with cord impressions, stabbing or incisions. Their economy, habitation patterns, social structure, architecture, and the lack of interest in art were in sharp contrast to the local Cucuteni-Tripoye and Funnel-Necked Beaker cultural elements” (p.20, 1971).   Shlain describes the social change that coincided with the disappearance of  Trypillian and other Neolithic communities: “the Great Goddess began to lose power. Systematic political and economic subjugation of women followed; coincidentally, slavery became commonplace. Around 1500 BC there were hundreds of goddess-based sects. By the 5th century AD they had been almost completely eradicated, by which time women were also prohibited from conducting a single major Western sacrament” (p.10, 1998). Shlain hypothesizes that it was with the advent of literacy, social change leant to a hierarchical, patriarchal outlook, embracing a male, monotheistic god in all major world religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam). He proposes that image-based Neolithic communities which were more egalitarian, were in direct conflict with the patriarchy of literate communities. He quotes anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss in support of his argument, who challenged literacy’s worth: “the only phenomenon which, always and in all parts of the world, seems to be linked with the appearance of writing… is the establishment of hierarchical societies, consisting of masters and slaves, and where one part of the population is made to work for the other part” (Shlain, p.12, 1998).   Was the Trypillian civilization a matriarchal state? There is no evidence to say that it was or it wasn’t. It is typical of many Neolithic cultures that were characterized by their settled, agricultural economy, egalitarian attitudes, respect of nature, love of art. It did not feature a hierarchical structure, and therefore in this sort of society, slave-owning was unheard of. Unfortunately the embracing of a patriarchal administration lead to many superficial and structural social changes. The religious iconography completely censored women: the Goddess of Fertility was supplanted by a flower, and then later by a more masculine ‘tree-of-life’ symbol, the concept of God and his helpers were all male, religious ornamentation favored male oriented symbols (such as the cross indicating the four elements of earth, sky, water, fire) as opposed to the feminine symbols (eternal circle, river of life). Anthropologists talk about the Fertility Goddess figure being rehabilitated into the iconography of the Madonna, Mother of Christ, but unlike her original role, she plays a secondary and passive role.  

Trypillian Motifs in Contemporary Ukrainian Culture:

A long time ago, the Trypiltsi had joined their ancestors in the next world, however many of their ideas, attitudes and symbols have been preserved to the times of contemporary Ukraine, even though the worlds we inhabit, are so vastly different from each other. Art has been preserved in many forms and is a common thread linking the past to the present. Many features of the Trypilska Kultura can be easily found in the practice of  today’s contemporary folklore both in Ukraine and in the diaspora; through this we can trace a definitive and identifying line right back to the cultural influence the Trypiltsi exerted on us – as our ancestors.   Reminiscent of ancient nature worship, many traditional Ukrainian folk-songs contain specific references and opening sequences illustrating the natural world. In these sort of songs, the opening lines draw a picture of a natural setting with all the features of mountains or roads, trees, running water, little animals or birds twittering nearby.  It is as if to pay respect to nature, and then to move on and tell the story of the romance, or the parting, or the philosophical thoughts one is having. Examples of such songs are Oy u Hayu Pry Dunayu, Viye Viter, Teche Voda Kalamutna, Po Toy Bik Hora.   Sometimes an element of nature is used as the central allegory in the whole song. In Chotyry Rozhy, a woman indicates how the four colors of the roses reflect the fortunes of love in her life (pink-romance, red-love, yellow-disagreement, white-parting). In Zorya Moya Vechirnaya (taken from a poem by Taras Shevchenko), a princess finds herself in a foreign land, and she sees in her conversation with the evening star, memories of her far away home, and her only moments of release from her melancholy.   Lastly, they can be classified with respect to the seasonal cycle. Zhenchychok is a song originating in springtime, indicating the lively playfulness of a prancing grasshopper. Hahilky are songs inspired by nature and the rebirth of spring that are sung and danced after the traditional Easter Sunday service. Oy Na Hori, Tam Zhentzi Zhnut’ is really a song that introduces an army of Cossacks who will be passing through the village. But is starts off by saying, ‘hey look up there, the zhentsi are cutting the wheat (in the old days with scythes)’. This was a job normally done as part of the harvesting season, so it is clearly a song originating in the summer part of the cycle. U Karpatakh Hodyt’ Osyn, relates to autumn, and interestingly personifies non-human elements – it is as if autumn is walking around himself. Metelytsya is an instrumental dance that is played at a very fast tempo to imitate the fury of the snowstorm that it is named after. Shchedrivky are New Year season songs, celebrating the Ukrainian New Year on the 14th January. Shchedryk is the most well-known of these songs.   Folk dancing, khorovod and hahilky are all forms of Ukrainian dance (the latter two accompanied by the participants’ singing). “Ritual dance symbols reproduce the magic signs of the circle, parallel bee-lines, meandering labyrinth, and wavy line snake. These figures, which are among Trypillian ornamental magic symbolism are elements of ritual dances” (Burdo, 2004).   In the religious festivals which seemingly have supplanted the old traditions, there seems to be echoes of Trypillia. The internal chamber of the church is dressed in the ancient embroideries painstakingly made for them by members of the sisterhood. The men might produce beautiful woodcuts, or as in the case at Homebush-Flemington, a beautiful wooden model of the Church exterior architecture. At Easter time, women furiously bake pasky, and prepare a beautiful basket of food, which symbolizes all the gifts on the new Spring season, and those from which they would be fasting, or which would be in low supply. People design multi-colored pysanky, invoking ancient symbols, only to give them away as gifts as a sign of friendship and love. Before midnight on Easter Saturday everybody leaves the church and make a circular procession around the church. Having left the church largely draped in black, when it is re-entered precisely after midnight, it is a display of light lit candles, bright embroideries, beautiful flowers and joyful singing. It seems reminiscent of the symbolism of the magic circle, and its rebirth and life-affirming rituals.   Just as the church is adorned with traditional ornamentation, contemporary houses in Ukraine evidently have followed the unique habit of colorfully adorning the exterior borders of the house walls. In many villages as you drive by, wavy patterns meander along the borders of the house walls. And inside the house, the luxuriant flower Goddess is painted on the serving spoons, and perhaps also on some dishes and ceramic vases as well. Perhaps in that house you will also find some books; perhaps there is at least one by Mykola Hohol. In his short stories, where he illustrates the fantasy and rich folklore of Ukrainians, he draws on the source of ancient Trypillian symbolism  – In Viy, a story about a confrontation with a terrible beast, the young seminarist Khota defends himself, by drawing the magic circle around himself, which protects him from the onslaughts of the evil witch. Drawing on the mythology behind the end of the world, Hohol describes, how the devil disguised as a wolf, one night comes to steal the moon in Nich Proty Rizdva.   6. Closing Comments

  For most people, the Trypilska Kultura is something that is familiar, but yet at the same time they will conclude that they do not know much about it. However, its artistic expression, its mysterious symbols, its vibrant colors render it simultaneously attractive and full of mystique. Much of the symbolism of the ancient Trypillia is alive and well in the ornamentation of our embroidered shirts, implements, ceramics and souvenirs, tablecloths, rugs and blankets, our houses, schools and churches. Umansky recognized the comfortable yet paradoxical relationship between the paganism of Ancient Trypillia and the modern Christian Church: “both home and church icons are decorated with embroidered rushnyks. The relation between orthodoxy and paganism is quite noticeable here: the Christian Church respects the remains of ancient naпve faith. It understands the deep feelings for nature, native land, old customs and national culture beneath the surface. Christianity had once defeated the faith of early ploughmen. Now however, the Church consecrates the ancient original Ukrainian art that depicts the nation’s own face and civilization – distinctive from those of other Indo-European nations” (2004). There leaves no doubt, that the starting point of Ancient Trypillia is indeed the spiritual and cultural birthplace of Ukraine, and all that is Ukrainian.