Title of the article:



Anna B. Permilovskaya

Information about the author/authors

Anna B. Permilovskaya — DSc in Culturology, Academician of the Academy of Architectural Heritage, Head, Chief Researcher of Scientific Center of Traditional Culture &  Museum Preservation N. Laverov Federal Center for Integrated Arctic Research of the Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of ciences, Nikolsky Ave. 20, 163020 Arkhangelsk, Russia.

ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3221-7197

E-mail: annaperm@fciarctic.ru


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 71


pp. 81–99


February 06, 2023

Approved after reviewing

May 13, 2023

Date of publication

March 25, 2024



Index UDK


Index BBK

71+63.521(=411.2) +85.113(2Рос-4Арх)


The study was carried out under research topic no. 122011300471-0 “Comprehensive research of folk architecture as an ethno-marker of traditional Russian
culture in the process of historical development in the European North and the Arctic”.


Wooden architecture is a special, independent direction of The Russian traditional construction. Its unique quality and diversity are represented in Russia, which has always been a “forest, taiga” country. This truly is a national architecture, that had absorbed the mythopoetic and Christian worldview of the people. The history of Russian wooden architecture is largely the history of wooden architecture in the Russian North. The subject of this study is the peasant rural sacral objects: votive crosses of the Mezen`, one of the most severe regions of the Russian North. The author relies on several sources: field materials (architectural-ethnographic expeditions), with measurements, photographic recording, and the preparation of scientific passports. As well as work with informants: collecting local narratives and legends related to the history of specific crosses, the experience of practical museumification and setting up the votive cross and the village foundation pillar in the Mezen` sector of the Museum “Malye Korely”. The paper analyzes crosses as historical, ethnographic, stavrographic sources, works of wooden architecture and woodcarving, Pomors pilot signs. The aim of the study is to determine the meaning of the cross as one of the main symbols of the Orthodoxy in the cultural landscape of the Northern and Arctic territories.


Russian North, Arctic, Mezen`, Cultural Landscape, Rural Settlement, Wooden Architecture, Votive Cross, Pomors.


1 Ivanova, A.A., Kalutskov, V.N. Svetloe Pinezh'e: puteshestvie po kraiu: spravochnikputevoditel' [Bright Pinega: The Journey Around the Edge: a Guidebook]. Arkhangel'sk, Pravda Severa Publ., 2009. 168 p. (In Russ.)

2 Ivanova, A.A., Kalutskov, V.N. “Sviatye mesta v kul'turnom landshafte Pinezh'ia” [“Holy Places in the Cultural Landscape of Pinega”]. Pomorskie chteniia po semiotike kul'tury [ Pomor Readings on Semiotics of Culture], issue 3: Sakral'naia geografiia i traditsionnye etnokul'turnye landshafty narodov Evropeiskogo Severa [Sacral geography and traditional ethnocultural landscapes of the peoples of European North]. Arkhangel'sk, Pomor State University Publ., 2008, pp. 486–497. (In Russ.)

3 Makovetskii, I.V. Pamiatniki narodnogo zodchestva russkogo Severa: po materialam kompleksnoi ekspeditsii Instituta istorii iskusstv AN SSSR i Gosudarstvennogo istoricheskogo muzeia [Monuments of Folk Architecture of the Russian North: Based on the Materials of the Complex Expedition of the Institute of Art History of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR and the State Historical Museum]. Moscow, AN SSSR Publ., 1955. 184 p. (In Russ.)

4 Mil'chik, M.I. “Obetnye kresty Mezeni” [“Votive Crosses of Mezen`”]. Dekorativnoe iskusstvo, no. 2, 1974, pp. 7–50. (In Russ.)

5 Mil'chik, M.I. Po beregam Pinegi i Mezeni [Along the Banks of Pinega and Mezen`]. Leningrad, Iskusstvo Publ., 1971. 160 p. (In Russ.)

6 Ovsiannikov, O.V., Iasinski, M.O. “O dereviannykh krestakh Russkogo Severa” [“About the Wooden Crosses of the Russian North”]. Reznye ikonostasy i dereviannaia skul'ptura Russkogo Severa [Carved Iconostases and Wooden Sculpture of the Russian North]. Arkhangel'sk, Pravda Severa Publ., 1955, pp. 26–74. (In Russ.)

7 Orfinskii, V.P. “Narodnoe dereviannoe kul'tovoe zodchestvo Rossiiskogo Severa: istoki razvitiia” [“Folk Wooden Religious Architecture of the Russian North: The Origins of Development”]. Narodnoe zodchestvo [Folk Architecture]. Petrozavodsk, Petrozavodsk State University Publ., 1992, pp. 32–59. (In Russ.)

8 Permilovskaia, A.B. Unikal'nye pamiatniki arkhitektury v sobranii AGMDZNI “Malye Korely” [Unique Monuments of Architecture in the Collection of the Arkhangelsk State Museum of Wooden Architecture and Folk Art “Malye Korely”]. Arkhangel'sk: ZAO “Arkhangel'skii pechatnyi dvor” Publ., 2004. 31 p. (In Russ.)

9 Permilovskaia, A.B. Kul'turnye smysly narodnoi arkhitektury Russkogo Severa [Cultural Meanings of the Folk Architecture of the Russian North]. Ekaterinburg, UB RAS Publ.; Arkhangel'sk, Pravda Severa Publ.; Iaroslavl', The Yaroslavl Demidov State University Publ., 2013. 608 p. (In Russ.)

10 Petrov, D.D. Sakral'naia geografiia vostochnykh raionov Arkhangel'skoi oblasti [Sacred Geography of the Eastern Districts of the Arkhangelsk Region: PhD Dissertation Thesis]. Moscow, 2016. 131 p. (In Russ.)

11 Russkii Sever: etnicheskaya istoriya i narodnaya kultura XII–XX vekov [ Russian North: Ethnic History and Folk Culture of the 12th–20th Centuries], ex. ed. I.V. Vlasova. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 2001. 848 p. (In Russ.)

12. Rybakov B.A. Russkie datirovannye nadpisi XI–XIV vv. [Russian Dated Inscriptions of the XI–XIV Centuries]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1964. 48 s. (In Russ.)

13 Sviatoslavskii, A.V., Troshin, A.A. Krest v russkoi kul'ture: Ocherk russkoi monumental'noi stavrografii [The Cross in Russian Culture: An Essay on Russian Monumental Stavrography]. Moscow, Drevlekhranilishche Publ., 2000. 175 p. (In Russ.)

14 Terebikhin, N.M. Metafizika Severa [ Metaphysics of the North]. Arkhangelsk: Publishing House Pomor. International University named after M.V. Lomonosov, 2004. 272 p. (In Russ.)

15 Shliapkin, I.A. Drevnie russkie kresty [ Ancient Russian Crosses]. St. Petersburg, Tipografiia I.N. Skorokhodova Publ., 1906. 93 p. (In Russ.)

16 Permilovskaya, A.B. “Memorial Cross of Promise on the Turn of the Century.” 20th Conference of the Association of European Open Museums. Hungary, Szentendre Publ., 2001, pp. 116–124. (In English)

17 Permilovskaya, A.B. Wooden Folk Architecture in Western Russia. Ed. by S. Piesik. Habitat, Vernacular Architecture for a Changing Planet. London, Thames & Hudson LTD Publ., 2017, pp. 392–397. (In English)