“The Inner State of the Human Heart During a Righteous and a Sinful Life”: A Manuscript and a Modern Lubok of the Chasovennye Old Believers on the Yenisei

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Key words
Old Believers’ lubok, visual images, Chasovennye Old Believers, folk picture, book culture, book miniature, manuscript
Ekaterina V. Bykova
About the Author
E-mail: ev2_74@mail.ru Tel.: +7 (8332) 74-24-71
36, Moskovskaya str., Kirov, 610000, Russian Federation
PhD in Arts, Associate Professor, Department of Culture Studies and Sociology, Vyatka State University
Date of publication

This research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project No. 19–012–00238 “Local Traditions and Historical Memory in the Art of the Old Believers of the 20th — ​early 21st Century.


This article examines the source of the visual imagery in an Old Believer illuminated manuscript of Mother Macedonia, created in the 1950s‑1960s on the Yenisei River, and in the modern lubok “The Inner State of the Human Heart During a Righteous and a Sinful Life,” drawn in 2011 in Chasovennye Old Believer female monasteries on the Dubches River in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Comparison of the illuminated manuscript with the book “The Human Heart,” published in large editions in Russia in the 18th — ​20th centuries, reveals the materials used in creating the lubok. These two written sources, the illuminated manuscript and the lubok, that are here introduced to scholarship, testify to the perseverance of the book and lubok traditions despite fundamental changes in culture and technology. The anthropology of the lubok is revealed in the image of the “inner state of the heart,” reflecting a person’s choice of life path, righteous or sinful. Comparative analysis and commentary on the image allow us to better understand the worldview and perception of those who created it. In general, the tradition of copying books and creating popular prints is alive among the Old Believer communities on the Yenisei and performs didactic and communicative functions, as also evidenced by the stories of informants and artifacts found on expeditions in the Krasnoyarsk Territory.


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For citation

Bykova E. V. “The Inner State of the Human Heart During a Righteous and a Sinful Life”: A Manuscript and a Modern Lubok of the Chasovennye Old Believers on the Yenisei. Traditional Culture. 2021. Vol. 22. No. 2. Pp. 143–152. In Russian.