Title of the article:



Svetlana D. Sinchuk

Information about the author/authors

Svetlana D. Sinchuk — PhD in Pedagogical Sciences, Associate Professor, Stavropol State Pedagogical Institute, Svobody Ave. 14, 357430 set. Inozemtsevo, Zheleznovodsk, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3590-1653
E-mail: svetlana.sinchuk@yandex.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 69


pp. 73–89


December 30, 2021

Approved after reviewing

October 15, 2022

Date of publication

September 25, 2023



Index UDK

008 + 398

Index BBK

71.05(2) + 85.113(2)


The paper discusses the hypothesis that there was once a figurative-semantic identification of a cow / bull and a tree in the Slavic folk culture. The analysis of such identification is carried out taking into account the peculiarities of the pagan worldview. Images of horned animals are rarely found in Slavic decorative and applied art, since horns have acquired a negative meaning in the context of the Christian religion. Therefore, traces of such archaic views should be sought using appropriate data from folklore, linguistics, and ethnography. Also, in the process of searching, it is necessary to go beyond the Slavic world and turn to the traditional cultures of the peoples neighboring the Slavs in the north and northeast; since their Christianization was carried out at a much later time, the remnants of their pagan cults have come down to us in greater safety. The origin of the figurative-semantic connection between the concepts of “cow / bull” and “tree” is explained by the fact that these animals, like the world tree, acted once as cosmological symbols. This explains the interchangeability of their images, observed in folklore and in ritual practice, as well as the genesis of a number of homonyms and words of the same root, existing in the Russian dialect vocabulary, united by the corresponding theme.


Cow, Bull, World Tree, Image, Riddles, Fairy Tales, Proverbs, Rituals, Archaic Thinking.


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