The Vitträsk rock painting at Kirkkonummi and the theory of a Sámi cosmological landscape

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Currently, there are over one hundred rock paintings in Finland which are located close to water. Most of these sites are found around the Saimaa Lake region in the southern part of the country, but extend to central areas as well. Unlike the majority of the painted locations in Finland that host numerous images, figures and symbols, two net-type figures at the Vitträsk site at Kirkkonummi, which is close to Helsinki, have been subject to scholarly and indeed artistic debates and interpretations since the site was found a century ago. This investigation seeks to explain the relationship between the designs, their placement, and the anthropomorphic figure that is evident in the rock formation between them. The analysis in the paper introduces a more holistic interpretation as to why this particular area was painted and perhaps chosen for sacrificial offerings in relation to Sámi religion and landscape use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-68
Number of pages24
JournalSuomen antropologi
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2016
MoEC publication typeB1 Article in a scientific magazine


  • rock paintings
  • Sámi religion
  • Sacrifice
  • Cosmology
  • Human-like figure
  • Net-type figures

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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