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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed

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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed

Abstract and Figures

The Sami are the indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. Up until the periods between the 17th and 18th centuries the Sami practiced an indigenous form of shamanism, characterised by hunting and animal ceremonialism. After the crusade against the Sami and the practice of their ancient nature religion by the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish priests and missionary workers, a subsequent number of Noaidi-Shaman drums were collected and in time exhibited in different museums throughout Europe, where many still remain today. The Noaidi drums have been vital sources of information for scholars outside Sami culture, as well as the Sami themselves. In the 1670s, Johannes Schefferus, the German scholar and linguist wrote about the history of Lapland which was translated into Latin under the uniform title Lapponia. English, French and Dutch editions soon followed as did a German edition. This article discusses some of the implications for researchers due to a number of significant errors recently identified in these original manuscripts and furthermore, what this means for the Sami history, religion and culture today?
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THE HISTORY OF LAPLAND AND THE CASE OF
THE SAMI NOAIDI DRUM FIGURES REVERSED
Francis Joy
Abstract: The Sami are the indigenous peoples of northern Scandinavia and
the Kola Peninsula in Russia.
Up until the periods between the 17th and 18th centuries the Sami practiced
an indigenous form of shamanism, characterised by hunting and animal cer-
emonialism. After the crusade against the Sami and the practice of their an-
cient nature religion by the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish priests and mis-
sionary workers, a subsequent number of Noaidi-Shaman drums were collected
and in time exhibited in different museums throughout Europe, where many
still remain today.
The Noaidi drums have been vital sources of information for scholars out-
side Sami culture, as well as the Sami themselves. In the 1670s, Johannes
Schefferus, the German scholar and linguist wrote about the history of Lapland
which was translated into Latin under the uniform title Lapponia. English,
French and Dutch editions soon followed as did a German edition. This article
discusses some of the implications for researchers due to a number of signifi-
cant errors recently identified in these original manuscripts and furthermore,
what this means for the Sami history, religion and culture today?
Key words: divination, errors, figures, illustrations, Lapland, priests, publica-
tions, reversed, Sami Noaidi
In the winter of 2002, I travelled to Finland to undertake studies in Circumpolar
and sub-Arctic animism and shamanism, as an exchange student at the Uni-
versity of Helsinki, and a student of comparative religion. This was under the
auspices of Juha Pentikäinen, professor of comparative religion, whom I had
met in the fall of 2001 when he was visiting Bath Spa University in the UK, to
present a series of lectures about Sami and Siberian shamanism, where I was
a first year student, studying religious studies and European history.
Soon after the arrival in Helsinki, an invitation arrived concerning a con-
ference on Finno-Ugric Shamanism about the minority peoples of Siberia. The
title of this event was From Taiga to Tundra, and was to be held at the Mu-
seum of Cultures in Helsinki, organised by Institute for Cultural Research,
Department of Finno-Ugric Studies in University of Helsinki, and the M. A
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Castren Society, chaired by Professor Pentikäinen and the President of the
Society for Shamanic Research in Hungary, Mihály Hoppál. Both scholars were
amongst a host of others, to present a series of lectures about the Sami and
Siberian peoples and their respective cultures and religious practices.
As part of the conference, there were a large number of historical and cul-
tural artefacts on display at the museum, which included shaman drums, cos-
tumes and garments, ritual and ceremonial items, hunting weapons and a
series of wooden animal figures and deities. These had all at one time served
as the religious implements of the Nenets, Khanty, Mansi, Selkup and Sami,
the native peoples of the northern areas of the globe. The extensive display
was titled The Siberian Collection.
Documented on one of a number of information sheets given to the audi-
ence, was a brief introduction to two Sami Noaidi/Shaman1 drums which had
originated from the Kemi Lappmark area, in present day northern Finland.
The larger of the two drums measured approximately 83cm in height, which
seemed like a master-piece in itself, and was currently the property of the
National Museum of Antiquities in Stockholm.
In April of the same year (2002), the opportunity to take a trip to the far
northern areas of Scandinavia to visit several of the museums in Lapland be-
gun on an overnight train to Rovaniemi, the capital of Finnish Lapland. After
a visit to the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi, to see what could be learned about
the Sami, indigenous people of the north, through a fine and colourful series of
exhibitions. To follow this, a further journey commenced across the border in
to Norwegian Lapland to the Sami Museum (Sámiid Vuorká-Dávvirat) in
Karasjok. The first initial encounter with the old noaidi drums in the museum
was with a plastic replica of one collected at the times the noaidi of Lapland
were persecuted during the 17th century witch hunts conducted by the Swed-
ish church; it was hanging suspended from the roof on several ropes.
After asking a few questions to a female member of staff about the drum,
she told me in no uncertain terms that both the Norwegian and the Finnish
Sami did not have any of their own drums in their respective museums, and
that there were several Norwegian Sami drums in the United Kingdom in the
British Museum and in Cambridge University Museum.
It was during the investigation into the plight of the Norwegian drums in
the UK, via a visit to the Siida Museum in Inari, Finnish Lapland that a second
encounter with another drum took place, namely, with the larger of the two
Sami noaidi drums from Kemi Lappmark, which was on loan from Sweden,
and on exhibition there. Whilst at the Siida museum, the chance to take a
couple of photographs of the drum would serve as an important factor for what
was to unfold.
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Once back in Helsinki, I made some comparisons between the black and
white copy of the drum which was in the first English publication of Lapponia
from 1674, and the newly coloured photograph taken at the Siida Museum. On
close observation it became obvious that the portrait of the drum from the
black and white copy and the coloured one were somehow different, but it was
not initially clear why.
After the initial observation of these differences and a careful study of both
the images of the drums and the layout of the painted figures on the surfaces
of the drums, it became evident that the images were reversed when com-
pared with each other. Initially, what had happened, as to how or when this
had happened and to what extent these differences varied in the literature
that had been published almost 340 years previously was not understood and
therefore, this needed to be investigated further. What was to unfold is the
purpose for writing this article.
INTRODUCTION
This article investigates the plight of the two known Sami Noaidi drums that
have originated in Kemi Lappmark2 (Manker 1938: 685) in present northern
Finland. The larger of the two is currently the property of the National Mu-
seum in Sweden, and the second, a slightly smaller drum is owned by the
Städtisches Museum für Völkerkunde, Leipzig, Germany3 (Manker 1938: 686)
and can be seen on display there.
The preliminary aim of this article is in this first instance, to give the reader
a brief introduction to the subject under discussion of both the origins and the
history of the drums in question. This is followed by an examination of the
sources and material of which there are chiefly four different publications,
including documentation of the drums case histories, originating in Sweden
during the latter half of the seventeenth century. These sources by and large
pertain to the events which took place as the Swedish crown asserted its colo-
nial powers through Christianity over the indigenous peoples of the northern
areas of Lapland, thus bringing about religious change. At the time, there
were a number of priests who figured prominently as informants for the church,
and who were predominantly responsible for the religious change amongst the
Sami; their tasks were centred on the collection of data about the drums and
the activities associated with their usage. This information and motivations by
the priests have played a key role in the publication of a series of books about
Lapland life and customs titled in English The History of Lapland, which are
the texts under investigation here.
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The second aim is to assess the literature that has been written about the
drums both historically and more recently and to clarify the problems encoun-
tered in this task. The motivation for the enquiry focuses primarily on the
positioning of painted zones and sun centred systems (and non noaidi drum
diviners used)4, in relation to the different publications, which the noaidi used
traditionally to divide the content on the drums into three different levels, as
a way of structuring their animistic world view. The relevance and indeed
importance of the zones for understanding and interpreting the different ele-
ments in Sami culture and religion, has by and large been one of the most
debated subjects amongst scholars since Ernst Manker produced his esteemed
works. His Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Monographie 1,
from 1938, which is an in-depth study of all the Sami drums currently pre-
served in various museums around Europe. Following this, a second edition
from 1950 is titled Die Lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Mono-
graphie 2. It is published with different content which pertains to analysis and
interpretation of the symbolism that can be seen pictured on the surface of the
drums.
Figure 1. An old map of Scandinavia showing the division of the northern parts of the
Swedish Empire into the five Lappmarks. The map also shows the Lapland border:
Lapinraja. Received with grateful assistance from Risto Pulkkinen.
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Both of Manker’s editions include analysis and discussion of the two drums
from Kemi Lappmark and their individual history in addition to different
typologies, and origins and description of 75 other drums, making a total of 77
drums (Itkonen 1943–1944: 68). Manker’s second publication discusses, in ad-
dition, the positioning of painted human, animal and divine figures, trying to
illustrate how the Sami world-view was presented and how it varied consider-
ably, firstly by region and area; and secondly, according to the noaidi’s experi-
ence and interaction with the spirits in these zones and the way in which this
was then documented on the drum which served as a kind of Cosmological
Map prior to and during hunting.
These early sources have been used extensively in the study of compara-
tive religion, folklore and ethnography since their publication; it is only re-
cently, that after analysing them, a number of historical problems became
apparent concerning the positioning of the figures on the drums. These were
in the early “foreign” publications, and therefore, the discussion which is to
follow seeks to clarify and understand what the implications are for scholars of
comparative religion and folklore who aim to study Sami religion and how
this, in turn, impacts on cultural history and religion.
THE DRUMS AND THEIR HISTORY
The remaining 71 (Itkonen 1943–1944: 68) Sami noaidi drums have been pre-
served throughout Europe in various museums in Italy, Sweden, France, Ger-
many, Denmark, Norway, and Great Britain (see also Manker 1938). They were
collected from the northern areas of present Norway, Sweden, Finland and
Russia, initially by “missionaries and explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries
and sold and shipped to private [collectors] all over continental Europe”
(Pentikäinen 1998: 27). It would seem that as interest in the drums as reli-
gious artefacts, as well as the priests’ accounts of their usage in rituals dedi-
cated, to the arts of divination and prophecy became more widespread, the
drums gradually “found their way to the museums” (Pentikäinen 1998: 27).
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Sweden as a kingdom was in
the process of seeking to expand its territories throughout the northern parts
of Scandinavia and up into the far reaches of the northern areas of Norway and
Finland. The drive into Lapland by the Swedish Empire brought news to the
towns and cities further South of “evil rumours about the inhabitants in the
far north, [which] cast shadows of a barbarous paganism on protestant Sweden
(and it might be added) whose, astonishing victories on the German battle-
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fields were said to be due to the witchcraft of Lappish sorcerers in the armies
of Gustavus Adolphus.” (Ahlström 1971: XI)
Also, and at the same time, “the Swedish state had performed a blessed and
noble deed by introducing the gospel and enlightenment in otherwise godfor-
saken tracts [into its culture]. But the distances were vast, the churches few.
Pagan evil still had plenty of room at its disposal. In other words, the devil was
at large in Lapland.” (Ahlström 1971: XI)
Therefore, and with much conviction, the confrontation of the nature reli-
gion of the Sami in the far north by Christianity assured that clergymen and
missionaries alike frowned upon the Sami arts of using the magical drum for
prophecy, fortunetelling, and divination. These were activities related prima-
rily to sacrificial ceremonies concerning the successful breeding and hunting
of animals, and successful outcomes in business and life affairs via the use of
magic, these were interpreted by the church fathers as solely “devilish prac-
tices” (Schefferus 1674: 54).
In 1670, the High Chancellor of Sweden, Magnus de la Gardie appointed
German linguist Johannes Schefferus to investigate claims of sorcery and witch-
craft amongst the Sami in the northern areas of Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Figure 2. This is Rheen’s illustration that he sent to Schefferus, depicting a Sami
noaidi moving through different stages of consciousness into a trance state where he
depicted initially on the left side of the picture “preparing himself for the trance by
beating the drum with his hammer, on the right he is lying in a trance whilst his soul,
aided by the alter ego” (Pentikäinen 1998: 39), or guardian spirit, as the noaidi begins
his journey into the world of spirits. This illustration is taken from Ernst Mankers:
Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Monographie (1938).
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
The undertaking was seen at the time, merely as an attempt to clarify the
rumours of such practices that had earlier been provided by priests and mis-
sionary workers who sought to convert the Sami to Christianity. The outcome
of Schefferus’s investigation concluded that there was no basis for this so called
witch hysteria in the north.
As Schefferus had never been to Lapland himself, information was sent to
him at Uppsala from “the priests of the northern districts [who] wrote down
accounts of the Lapps in their parishes. These reports were then forwarded to
Schefferus for editorial rewrites.” (Lundström 2002: 1)
The names of the priests whose manuscripts were sent to Schefferus, and
which contained information about the Sami communities in the northern ar-
eas, were namely Samuel Rheen, Olaus Graan, Nicolaus Lundius and Johannes
Torneus; and from Kemi Lapland Gabriel Tunderus. It is helpful at this point
to make it clear to the reader that among these informants there were chiefly
three priests whose contributions were considered important by Schefferus.
The first is by the Swedish clergymen Samuel Rheen.
“Rheen’s description concerns mainly the Lule Sami. He provides infor-
mation about their customs and their pre-Christian cosmology. The re-
port included pictures of a shaman’s drum and a shaman falling into
trance. Rheen’s report (En kortt relation om lapparnes lefwarne och
sedher, wijd-Skieppellser, sampt i många stycken grofwe wildfarelser (A
short account of the Lapps’ life and customs) was the first of the sources
for (Schefferus’s work) to be submitted about 1670.” (Pulkkinen et al.
2005: 337)
Reports that were sent to Schefferus by other priests from the northern dis-
tricts are considered problematic as far as authentic source material goes.
This is because during Rheen’s assessment of Sami culture and customs, the
material he formulated and sent to the “Swedish College of Antiquities (which
had by all accounts) requested clergymen working in Lapland to supply infor-
mation (to) Schefferus, (had been) circulated among the other clergymen in
Lapland, with the result that many who subsequently contributed source ma-
terial (to Schefferus) based their accounts to a considerable extent on Rheen’s
report.” (Pulkkinen et al. 2005: 337)
In addition to Samuel Rheen’s reports, another priest whose past work was
criticised after examination by Schefferus was Magnus Gothus Olaus (1490–
1557). Olaus Magnus was the author of one of the earliest accounts of the pre-
Christian religion of the Sami, included in his major work History of the Northern
Peoples (Pulkkinen et al. 2005: 251).
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“Magnus Gothus Olaus was Swedish priest, Archbishop of Sweden (and)
ethnographer (whose work according to what has been written) contains
a fair amount of fanciful material. His description of a shaman falling
into a trance was almost certainly not based on something he had per-
sonally witnessed. It follows the pattern of Saami legends. He (also) talks
about Finnish seers and witches. In his (collaboration with the Swedish
priests) Johannes Schefferus puts right many of the misrepresentations
of Olaus Magnus, and in fact his work was to a great extent written in
order to correct many of the rumours regarding the sorcery of the (Sami)
arising out of the descriptions of Olaus Magnus.” (Pulkkinen et al. 2005:
252)
The third informant, who could be considered as one of the most important
with reference to the Finnish drums originating from the Kemi Lappmark
area is Gabriel Tunderus, “a Finnish clergyman working in Lapland who con-
verted the Kemi Saami to Christianity. As a result of Tunderus’ missionary
work, the Kemi Saami renounced practices connected with their ethnic cos-
mology, including the use of the shaman’s drum.” (Pulkkinen et al. 2005: 418)
By all accounts, the information which was sent to Schefferus by Tunderus
was written at the time as manuscripts. These manuscripts were later pub-
lished in a serial publication about Swedish language and ethnology. The title
of the article is En Kort Underrättelse Om The Österbothniske Lappar: som
under Kiemi Gebiet lyda. This was published in Swedish in 1905 in de svenska
landsmålen och svenskt folkliv XVII: 6, in Uppsala5 (it was later published
again in Svenska landsmål ock svenskt folkliv, 1910). Other manuscripts pro-
duced by Tunderus describe the Kemi Lapp bear hunting rituals which were
intricately woven into the Lappish pre-Christian religion6.
THE MATERIAL OF THE STUDY
Schefferus’s task of collecting and editing the material presented by the Swed-
ish priests produced a detailed and thorough assessment of Sami culture and
beliefs which was finally published in 1673 in Latin under the uniform title
Joannis Schefferi Argentoratensis Lapponia (see Schefferus 1673); it included
an inspiring and probably one of the most important chapters (number 11),
with reference to the art of the noaidi and the history of six particular noaidi
drums, titled Of the magical ceremonies of the Laplanders (Schefferus 1674:
50). At the beginning of chapter 11, the pages contain illustrations of the six
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Sami drums, including the two Kemi Lappmark ones and the hand held instru-
ments-hammers, used to play them with, which are the purpose of this study.
The rumours in Europe that the Sami noaidi were an essential part of the
victorious Swedish army appear to have been instrumental as well as a very
important motivation for the publication of Lapponia, first printed “in the ba-
sic Latin version in Frankfurt am Main titled Joannis Schefferi Argentoratensis
Lapponia in 1673, and then introduced to English readers in 1674” (Ahlström
1971: XI-2), titled The History of Lapland wherein are shewed the original man-
ners, habits, marriages, conjurations, &c. of that People. Written by John
Scheffer, Professor of Law and Rhetoric at Upsal in Sweden, at the Theatre in
Oxford, MDCLXXIV (1674), in a 147 page volume. The book was “to be sold by
George West and Amos Curtein”. In addition, “a young English student by the
name of Acton Cremer did the translation from Latin to English” (see Lundström
2002)7. This edition was later republished in 1971 in Stockholm with the same
illustrations.
There are two further publications from the Latin edition that have been
translated into English, the second from 1704 that contains illustrations of the
six drums, and being of the same title The History of Lapland. This edition was
printed for Tho. Newborough, at the Golden-Ball in St. Paul’s Church-Yard, by
R. Parker under the Royal-Exchange.
The third, a smaller edition is titled The History of Lapland, printed for
R. Griffith, in London, 1751. This edition has no drum illustrations in its con-
tent at all.
Other publications of Lapponia include a translation into German titled
Joannis Schefferi von Strassburg Lappland. The German edition was printed
at the publishing house Martin Hallerborden/Buchhandlern, in Frankfurt am
Main und Leipzig, in 1675.
The French translation Histoire de la Laponie, was published in Paris at
Chez la Veuve by Olivier de Varennes (chez la veuve Olivier de Varennes – by
the widow Olivier de Varannes), au Palais, dans la sale royale, au vare d’or, in
1678. The edition was translated by Augustin Lubin (see Schefferus 1678).
The Dutch translation was published in Amsterdam in the year1682, titled
Waarachtige en aen-merkens-waardige Historie van Lapland, by Jan ten Hoorn,
Boeckverkooper, Over’t Oude Heeren Logement. It is not clear who the trans-
lator was for this edition (see Schefferus 1682).8
The extensive research and study of material undertaken by Schefferus
and notably that which is concerned with the Sami drums is far from conclu-
sive and according to the foreword written by Gunnar Ahlström in the second
printing of the English edition published in Sweden in 1971:
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“Schefferus went to work making himself familiar with what was writ-
ten before on the subject, he had access to more authentic field mate-
rial. Local officials in the North, clergymen, bailiffs, and other reliable
informants were requested to send him reports and observations. He
never went up to the latitudes himself but he saw fur-clad little people at
the winter markets in Uppsala.” (Ahlström 1971: XI)
It is important to take into account this because it helps to establish how
Schefferus was influenced by what could be described as a lack of knowledge
about Sami culture and customs as well as field-work experience. Having said
this, Schefferus can be merited on the pictures of ritual objects and artefacts,
received from his various sources, that have been used for publication in the
Latin and German editions. At the same time, the illustrations seen on pages
51 and 52 in the first English edition from 1674, which described the only two
known Kemi Lappmark Sami noaidi drums, and the other two English edi-
tions published in 1704 and the republished edition from 1971, as well as the
French and Dutch editions, need to be discussed in greater detail with refer-
ence to publication to clarify errors that were made in these earlier editions.
Both Swedish (Schefferus 1956) and Finnish (Schefferus 1963) publications
have illustrations of the drums in them which are taken from the original
Latin edition and are correct illustrations of all the drums.
THE DRUMS ILLUSTRATIONS AND THE PROBLEM OF
INTERPRETATION
The questions raised in this study are primarily concerned with the impor-
tance of the structure of the zones on the drums and designation and position-
ing of each of the figures and smaller structures within these areas such as
animals, deities, human figures and sacrificial areas, that have been recog-
nised as giving valuable insights for helping us to understand to some degree
the nature of the content and territory depicted on the surface of each drum by
the noaidi, as having both depth and value for study purposes.
The first two illustrations have been taken from the original Latin publica-
tion of 1673 (microfilm), of the two Finnish drums E & F from Kemi Lappmark
which are exhibited below. In addition, and to try and avoid confusion, Ernst
Manker in his assessment has used numbers to category the drums. There are
numbers 43 (drum E) and 44 (drum F). Several other illustrations which are
similar are not of very good quality in their appearance, this is because of the
quality of the printing and publication at the time.9
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Figure 3. Drum E from Kemi Lappmark. The illustration of drum E shows the
profile of the side and bottom of the drum as being to the right hand side in the
picture. The overall portrait of the drum shows its contents divided into three levels
or layers. In this picture, in the top zone on the left, there are three figures that are
visible and are numbered by T. I. Itkonen as numbers 1-2-3. The figure in the middle
Figure 4.Figure 3.
Figure 5. Figure 6.
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appears to be holding a forked object which is pointing upwards in its left hand. In
the middle zone on the left hand side, can be seen two antlered reindeer figures facing
west, to the left, and in the bottom zone on the left, there are two figures, numbered 5-
6 by Itkonen, who have dots between them. The size of drum E is recorded to be “85 x
53 x 11.5 cm” (Itkonen 1943–1944: 69).
Figure 4. Drum F from Kemi Lappmark. The illustration of drum E, also shows
the side/edge profile of the drum as being on the right hand side, the lines are
running horizontally and not vertically. Like drum E, drum F is also divided into
three zones or levels. In the top zone to the right hand side, there are three animals,
two which have antlers, who are facing towards the left, west. In the middle zone on
the left side, there are several figures standing close to each other. The figure of the far
left is holding a circular object which has a cross in the middle of it indicating what
could be a drum in one hand and a hammer used to play the drum in the other hand.
In the lower zone at the far left side there are two figures that look as if they are
wearing hats which are hanging from their heads. Finnish scholar Itkonen has re-
corded the size of drum F as being “66 x 42.5 x 10 cm” (Itkonen 1943–1944: 71).
Figure 5. Drum E from Kemi Lappmark. The side/edge profile of the drum is
pictured on the left hand side in this illustration taken from the republication of the
original English copy first published in 1674, and shows what looks like the grain of
the wood. The same figures seen on the drums from the original Latin edition can be
found facing in the opposite direction. For example, the figure in the top zone that is
holding what looks like a forked branch is now on the right side. The reindeer figures
in the middle zone that were on the left facing west are now on the right facing east.
The two figures in the bottom zone, that have what look like dots between them are
now on the right side.
Figure 6. Drum F from Kemi Lappmark. The side/edge profile of the drum is on
the left side and is opposite to the profile on the Latin drum, and also indicates a kind
of grain in the wood. The three animal figures, two which can be identified as rein-
deers, standing on the top zone are found on the left side facing right, and east, as
opposed to the same ones on the Latin publication, that are on the right side facing
west. The lines that can be seen on the drums from the 1674 English translation run
vertically and not horizontally as is the case in the original Latin publication.
Figure 7. Drum E from Kemi Lappmark. Taken from the French publication of
1678 (microfilm). The lines which are much finer in detail are running vertically in
the same fashion as the illustrations in the Latin publication. The figures are also
reversed by comparison with the original Latin edition and again this is seen through
the two reindeer figures positioned in the middle zone on the right facing towards the
east.
Figure 8. Drum F from Kemi Lappmark. Taken from the French publication 1678
(microfilm). The lines here also run vertically and the side/edge profile of the drum
is to the left; the figures are also reversed when compared with the illustrations in the
Latin publication
Figure 9. Drum E from Kemi Lappmark. This is the illustration from The History
of Lapland second English publication, dated 1704. The right side is slightly dis-
torted in the microfilm image, because it has been printed against the fold in the
book. The figures on both the right and left sides of the drum are reversed in compari-
son to the original Latin publication.
Figure 10. Drum F from Kemi Lappmark. This is the illustration from The His-
tory of Lapland second English publication, dated 1704.The illustrations of figures
on the right and left sides are reversed when compared with the illustrations seen in
the original Latin publication.
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Figure 7. Figure 8.
Figure 9. Figure 10.
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In Manker’s inventory of the drums, Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine
ethnologische Monographie 1938, drum F is documented to have been received
by Schefferus from “Henrici Flemming who was an officer in the Finnish cav-
alry” (Manker 1938: 32)10. Drum E on the other hand, was received by Schefferus
from Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, “the Chancellor of the Kingdom” of Sweden
(Schefferus 1674: 49).
The two drums pictured next are the same drums from Kemi Lappmark
but the illustrations used here are taken from the first English publication
from 1674, (which was reprinted in 1971). The illustrations in the English edi-
tion were taken from the original Latin one11.
There appear to be two main reasons why these illustrations vary as they
do, and may to a greater extent at this present time be unrecognised simply
because the variations happened three hundred and forty years ago. There-
fore, the task ahead is to examine and then present to the reader how exten-
sive the mistakes/variation run?
Swedish scholar Lillemor Lundström points out that in the first English
edition which was re-published in Sweden in 1971, “the illustrations in the
book consist of 25 woodcuts made in compliance with the author’s own draw-
ings” (Lundström 2002: 1). The woodcuts, as I understand it, are where the
figures are carved to make them stand out for printing purposes, and the pic-
tures are printed with the text.
Lundström does make a distinction between the Latin and English publica-
tions by clarifying that
“the English edition is the first translation of Lapponia, originally pub-
lished in Latin and printed in Frankfurt am Main 1673. The text of the
translation is partially curtailed but does contain all the illustrations
belonging to the original (though in a slightly different style and often
reversed), and the author was never able to read his text in proof, as the
original edition was published in Germany, and therefore has a number
of misprints.” (Lundström 2009)12
One may consider during the times the literature was published, the printers
and publishers themselves were not as interested in the subject as the aca-
demics were, and therefore, mistakes were bound to happen.
Further enquiry into other publications of Lapponia revealed that illustra-
tions of the two Kemi Lappmark Sami drums pictured in the French edition
published in 1678, have been printed on pages where there is no text at all, and
the mistakes that are obvious in their illustrations appear to be due to the fact
that both the drums and the figures which are pictured in this edition are
portrayed the same way as is seen in the English edition, everything is re-
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
versed because of the way the illustrations in the book have been printed.
However, and in addition to this, the side/edge profile of both drums in the
French edition are not illustrated in the same way as the English drums where
the lines are running horizontally; the lines in the French edition run verti-
cally, the same way as the lines seen in the Latin publication, but the side
profiles of the drums are positioned on the left side, as seen on the English
publication. Therefore, it may be assumed here the illustrations used in the
French publication were taken from the English one, but it is not clear how
the side/edge profiles were made as they were.
I consulted Sirkka Havu from the National Library of Finland, who special-
ises in rare books, and was to discover that apart from using woodcuts, some
publishers also used copper plates for printing purposes, onto which images
were engraved without text. This could be the case with the illustrations from
the French edition and it may indicate the answer to the question concerning
the same illustrations being used/copied from the English publication for the
French one, thus in preparation for publishing by Oliver de Varennes in Paris,
the edges of the drums were engraved. However, what happened in between is
a mystery.
Investigation into the publication of the French edition of Lapponia in Paris
in 1678 revealed some interesting points concerning whether or not the same
illustrations were taken from the English 1674 edition. The first point is ac-
cording to the preface in the book, Olivier de Varannes, the publisher, was
given a manuscript of Lapponia, but there is no mention who or where it came
from. Furthermore, the King of France at the time Louis XIV made strict
copyright laws declaring that there were to be no other publications made
from the original for a period of ten years, and if any person was found to have
produced a copy of the book unlawfully, the penalty was a 3,000 livre-pounds
fine and confiscation of all material related to the book13, which suggests the
book was of great importance to the French at the time because Sweden had
close political and military ties with France.
It is also worth noting that the second English translation, dated 1704, has
copies of the drums which have been engraved on copper plates before print-
ing. In the preface of the book the publisher states the following: “this transla-
tion we now present to the world, is done from the last edition in the original
Latin, and collated with a French translation printed in Paris, which contains
several addenda that the translator had from the author, all of which are here
taken in. The copper cuts we here make use of were done in France by Mon-
sieur Bols.” (Schefferus 1704: Introduction) Therefore, the prints of the drums
in this edition are the same as those in the French edition, which states the
obvious, the illustrations in the 1704 edition are also reversed.
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Figure 11. Taken from the Dutch publication of 1682, which is on microfilm. These
illustrations show both front and rear designs of the drums labelled: E and D. By
contrast to what is presented above, the drum which is labelled E, is shown in all
other publications as drum C. Also, there appears to be some confusion concerning the
Kemi Lappmark Sami drum on the far right at the bottom concerning a mix up of the
letters used to identify the Kemi Lappmark drums. The rear of the drum in the centre
on the bottom line is marked under the letter F which is correct. However, its size is
the same as drum E which is to the left, but in Manker’s inventory of the same drums,
the design of the drum corresponds with the rear of drum F which is labelled as drum
C. In this case in the Dutch publication drum F which is marked C is much larger?
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
The Dutch edition of Schefferus’s Lapponia published in 1682 has within its
pages illustrations of 6 Sami noaidi drums on an engraved plate. The three
drums at the bottom of the plate can be identified as the Sami drums from the
Kemi Lappmark area, the ones on the far left and right are facing outward, the
middle one is pictured from the rear. The drums are recognisable as the Kemi
Lappmark ones because the illustrations are reversed as seen in the English
publication, therefore, indicating that all the illustrations may have been taken
from the English or French publications. The lines on the edges of the drums
also run vertically and are positioned on the left side.
The mistakes that have become evident concerning the two drums from
the present Finnish Lapland area are also apparent with four other drums also
illustrated in the same chapter in Schefferus’s History of Lapland. These four
other drums are labelled A, B, C and D; and are all pictured in Schefferus’s
first Latin publication Joannis Schefferi Argentoratensis Lapponia, in their
true portraits. In the first English publication of 1674, the 1704 second edition
as well as the republished edition, and the French and Dutch editions, the
drums and their contents are presented in reversed order as well.
I have provided illustrations of the four other drums from Schefferus’s pub-
lication, thus highlighting the mistakes. The drums A & B from original Latin
edition of 1673 are presented first so the reader can, on careful examination,
see the true positioning of the drums and the illustrations of the figures. The
landscape in drum A shows several important features to it which need to be
recognised for study purposes. In the top zone or area of the drum there are
four figures, and a picture of the crescent moon which is slightly to the left
side. Below, is a kind of platform on which three figures are standing, this is
situated on the right hand side of the drum. Underneath this is a sun figure in
the centre of the drum.
A further point in need of clarification concerns drum A pictured in Scheffe-
rus’s Latin edition, where it is pictured with three other drums, whereas in
Ernst Manker’s publication (Die lappische Zaubertrommel eine ethnologische
Monographie), the drum is also being played by a Sami noaidi, who is accompa-
nied by the devil like figure. The picture is the one sent to Schefferus by the
clergyman Samuel Rheen, and the one used in the illustration on page 4 above.
The location of the origins of the drum A, is Lule Lappmark according to Manker
(1938: 393) which is in Swedish Lapland. There is mention of the drum in
Manker’s book in the chapter Nicht erhaltene Trommeln, not existing drums.
The landscape in drum B shows an area at the top of the drum where to the
left there is an elevated figure with raised arms and what look like horns on its
head. Below on both the right and left sides of the larger area of the drum are
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Figure 12. Above is an illustration of drums A & B (from microfilm), and the bone
hammers the Sami noaidi and more general drum diviners used as instruments to
strike them with, as well as the copper rings which acted as a guide during divina-
tion. Also, the names of the figures on the drums in Latin.
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Figure 13. Drums C & D from the Latin publication 1673 (microfilm).
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Figure 14. Drums A & B from the English publication 1674 (photocopies). On analy-
sis of the drums and the positioning of the figures themselves, when contrasted with
the Latin drums, most of the figures are reversed. Note that the text describing the
figures on the drums is not clear because these are photocopies from the 1971 re-
publication of The History of Lapland.
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Figure 15. Drums C & D from the English publication 1674 (photocopies). The case
is the same with these drums as well, the figures are reversed.
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circular shapes with lines across the middle which look like creatures with
many legs, or even a figure representing the Sun?
Drum B is also located in the book, in the chapter about not existing drums,
Nicht erhaltene Trommeln.
In a similar fashion to drums A & B, drums C & D are also divided into
zones with the names of the figures documented below in Latin. The signifi-
cant characteristics on the face of drum C show in the top zone three Divine
like figures, and above them animals facing right to the east. Below the top
zone is a large area and in the left hand corner at the top, there are two
figures, holding poles/sticks, who are in a kind of enclave. Just to the right of
the centre, is a Sun motif. The divided areas on drum D show four different
zones. The figures in the top part are not easy to identify clearly. However,
what is important to recognise here are the motifs in the zones to the left and
centre of the drum. The left side has square box-like structures which are
marked by a cross from corner to corner, and the zone in the centre of the
drum shows three animal figures facing right to east. Drum C, pictured in all
Schefferus’s publications is recorded by Manker as “probably being from Lule
Lappmark” (1938: 788). The drum was on display in the National Historical
Museum, Stockholm. Drum D, from the Schefferus publications is also pic-
tured in Manker’s inventory.
These magical drums appear to have been drawn by hand and then exam-
ined in detail, giving a descriptive account of animal figures such as reindeer
as well as solar and lunar symbols which are apparent on the drum surfaces.
The presence of deities is also evident on the drum. According to the analysis
of the drum figures here, the figures of Thor’s servant and what are referred
to as Apostles are seen on the same drum, indicating the contrast between
Paganism and Christianity amongst the Sami the time the drums were col-
lected around 1670, and this is important to acknowledge as it shows both the
cultural and religious change at the time.
Firstly, the argument presented here is used to clarify the extent of the
different errors found in Lapponia, and to state the obvious, that Schefferus is
not at fault with reference to the variations of these drum illustrations pic-
tured reversed in the early publications. Secondly, the aim is to consider these
implications caused by the presentation of this material which reached a glo-
bal audience during the seventeenth century. It may be added that the use of
this material still continues to some extent in the countries aforementioned,
to the present date and these mistakes are not necessarily obvious. It is also
worth mentioning that both the United Kingdom and France have drums in
their museum collections which are on exhibit there. Therefore, these picto-
rial mistakes have both historical and cultural implications for scholars as far
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
as the use of these sources as primary source material goes when analysing
the structure and content of the drums for religious purposes and understand-
ing Sami culture.
A further point in need of clarification is that these original copies are all
very highly priced and valued from what I have been able to determine be-
cause of their age, without any awareness of these errors.
As scientists in the field of religious, ethnographical and cultural research,
the challenge of interpreting the drums and the literature associated with
them in relation to the study of comparative religion has been clearly outlined
by scholars such as T. I. Itkonen (1943–1944), Ernst Manker (1938, 1950), Håkan
Rydving (1993), Tore Ahlbäck & Jan Bergman (1991), and Rolf Kjellström (1991),
all of whom through both field work and in depth textual analysis of the early
material published in relation to the religion of the Sami and their culture,
stress not only to the complexity which surrounds the specific usage of the
drums for a wide variety of ceremonial and cultural activities, but more prob-
lematically the context through which interpretation of painted illustrations
ranging from humans, animals, gods, goddesses, human and animal like fig-
ures in different zones actually takes place outside of Sami culture by scholars.
The challenge of understanding the drum illustrations with reference to
certain symbols carefully selected and painted in the areas within the zones
and representing for example places such as mountains, and holy offering places,
known in the physical environment, presents further difficulty because some
of the drums were painted both for individual usage as well as collective. Fur-
thermore, they were illustrated in a religious sense as well in relation to cul-
ture and cosmology, but at the time they were collected by the priests, the
drums were in some cases subject to interpretation by the priests themselves
rather than those who had made them.
The current understanding of the division between different areas on the
surface of a drum is that they represent physical and psychic realities or spir-
itual worlds, namely the top level where certain deities reside as the “celestial
sphere of the drum” (Pentikäinen 1998: 26), the middle zone as representing
the physical world, and the lower part of the drum in most cases is a represen-
tation of the area where the dead reside.
Previous material produced by Manker, Kjellström and Itkonen has, for
example, discussed the complexities surrounding the interpretation of the vari-
ation of the painted figures on the drums constructed before conversion to
Christianity took precedence, during the time when the Sami were in the
process of being converted to Christianity, and after conversion to Christianity
in certain areas had taken place. By the fact that many of the symbols on
drums constructed at different times are mixed with both Christian and Sami
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symbols and representations, the task of interpretation is difficult in relation
to understanding these “psychic landscapes” which were in a gradual process
of change.
In addition to this, the early Sami cosmology or world-view shows animatistic,
animistic and totemic features. “Nature was regarded as animated; meaning
each important feature, mountain, hill lake, waterfall, grazing area etc., had
its own local deity. The powers of nature, sun, thunder, wind, frost etc., were
personified in god-figures, sickness and death in evil spirits of demons.”
(Whitaker 1957: 296) This point in itself creates misunderstanding because in
a modern sense the scientific world-view deals with concrete everyday physi-
cal reality. Also, it would be true to say that many of these personifications of
spirits and deities would have varied considerably in each area.
Totemism on the other hand, in the Sami pre-Christian society was a “con-
cept according to which social groups such as extended families or clans have
close relationships with particular animals” (Pulkkinen et al. 2005: 417).
Totemism is here understood in a modern way as broad concept and not pre-
supposing particularly a fore father relationship. There are many examples of
the ties between the Sami and animals, such as the bear and reindeer which
are featured on many of the divination drums. The positioning of these figures
is known to have been of crucial importance for the Sami using the drums to
bring balance and alignment in the relationship between human beings and
the natural environment, for example, in relation to hunting which is one of
the central features in shamanism.
Seen depicted in its true context on drum F from Kemi Lappmark, on the
right hand side in the top corner of the middle zone, is the illustration of a bear
in its den sleeping, therefore, we can assume this is during the winter months.
Figure 16. This illustration is taken from the 2005 publication: The Saami: A Cul-
tural Encyclopedia, page 33. It shows one of the rare images of a bear in its winter
hibernation on the Kemi Lappmark drum F, currently on display in Leipzig. In the
earlier copies this location is reversed. Here the bear is numbered as image 39 in the
right upper row.
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
Needless to say, the location of the bear in its den seen in the publications
which show the figures reversed, positions the location on the left side. The
problem caused by this error needs to be made clear because it is understood
the “bear had a special cultic position in Saami culture” (Pulkkinen et al. 2005:
33). In addition, associated with the bear were a number of very specific taboos
and certain ritualistic practices adhered to stating the relationship between
the bear and human beings, a very old custom well documented in Sami folklo-
ristics with reference to astral mythology and cosmic order, as well as bear
hunting ceremonies, and the events which took place both before and after,
which included songs about the animal sung in association with the drum im-
ages before hunting begun. All of these activities contributed to the main-
tenance of their livelihoods as hunter people.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE PUBLICATION ERRORS
The difficulties presented to scholars of the history of religion with regard to
analysing and interpreting the information on the surfaces of the drums has
been well documented by both Nordic scholars Rolf Kjellström and Bo Sommar-
ström in their analysis of how the information was collected by clergymen,
missionary workers and explorers alike. For the most, explanations of the
ways in which a drum scene was interpreted in accordance with the position-
ing of each figure by the noaidi, are not known because the drums were col-
lected at a time when “the drums represented their threatened culture, the
resistance against the Christian claim to exclusiveness, and a striving to pre-
serve traditional values” (Rydving 1991), and therefore illustrations without
commentary from the artists themselves present a great risk for error of judge-
ment and interpretation by those outside the culture.
It is almost certain the structure and content of many of the drums were
both influenced and characterised with reference to hunting by both solar and
lunar activity as well as the orientation of the different elements of earth, air,
fire and water, and understood within the four cardinal points of north, east,
south and west. These factors are in addition to the structure of the Noaidi’s
cosmos as seen portrayed within the three cosmic levels or zones through
which the surface of the drum was divided into.
An early reference clearly stating the importance of this found on page 49
in the first English edition of Lapponia. Schefferus states that:
“I have observed that several of their drums have not the same pictures
upon them. They are described differently in which the figures are dis-
tinguished so as to refer to several places, of which there are chiefly
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three. In the first stands Norland, and other countries of Sweden which
are placed on the South side of the drum, and are represented by a line
from the rest, in this also is contained the next great city, where they
traffic most, as in drums made at Torne, or Kiemi. On the North part,
Norway is described with all that is contained in it. In the middle of
these two stands Lapland, this takes up the greatest part of the drum,
here they picture herds of reindeer, bears, foxes, wolves and all manner
of wild beasts, to signify when, and in what place they may find them.”
(Schefferus 1674: 49)
The quote by Schefferus is crucial because for example, it shows how impor-
tant it was for the Sami to know the specific positioning of the figures on the
drums with reference to using the instrument for divination to secure a suc-
cessful outcome prior to hunting when they were travelling, for example, on
harsh migration routes during the months between summer and winter. It is
also worth noting that in the 1980s the interest amongst scholars, with regard
to the Sami noaidi drums belonging to the Scandinavian countries, was as
such that, a symposium was held in Turku, Finland on August 19–20, 1988,
titled The Saami Shaman Drum. The organising committee – Rolf Kjellström,
Håkan Rydving and Tore Ahlbäck – pointed out that:
“there were a number of different ways that the Saami drum might be
approached, e.g. an analysis of drum illustrations or individual drums,
categorisation by region and/or type of Saami drums, the role of the
drum in Saami society and religion, the significance of drum music from
the shaman’s ritual ecstasy, drum illustrations as a source of informa-
tion on the Saami world-view.” (Ahlbäck & Bergman 1991: 7)
The material presented at the symposium was published in the book titled The
Saami Shaman Drum.
I want to outline in particular here the conclusions of one of the contribu-
tors, namely Rolf Kjellström, who focuses on the importance of the positioning
of figures on the drum F from the Kemi Lappmark area. Kjellström refers to a
group of three animals in his presentation, two of which can be identified as
reindeer because of their antlers and are illustrated in the top zone on drum F.
He makes it clear that when analysing reindeer which are the most commonly
occurring figures on the drums “often the reindeer figures stand alone on one
of the three upper rays of the sun figure, or on the left-hand edge of the drum
but rarely on the right-hand side, or floating freely in the middle of the picture
surface” (Kjellström 1991: 117). At the end of the chapter Kjellström lists a
small chapter regarding the “different ways of classifying drums with refer-
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The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
ence to images and positioning of drum illustrations (which includes) the con-
nection between figures and positions in relation to signs on the drum” (Kjell-
ström 1991: 133).
What this evidence does show that the publication errors of the drum illus-
trations that have been formulated and then presented in the first and second
editions of the English editions, as well as the French and Dutch ones by the
publishers, and although unintentional, these mistakes complicate the oppor-
tunity for further understanding or insight into the content of each of the
scenes on the drum. Instead, this takes us away from understanding these
expressions of Sami nature religion and culture at a time of religious change,
and therefore, for a number of reasons this makes the material misleading not
only to scholars, contributors to the history of religion, but to the Sami them-
selves.
Due to the extent of these errors, there is a need for the mistakes in the
material to be brought to the attention of the institutions, museums and
establishments where copies of Lapponia are held, because for example, and
more importantly, should scholars from the aforementioned countries of France,
Great Britain and Holland, or any other country for that matter, use these
drum illustrations which are reversed from the original copies for producing
material14, but perceived as true illustrations without any knowledge of the
errors, then these mistakes will keep on repeating themselves.
CONCLUSION
How do these mistakes affect the ritual practices and also the world-view of
Sami culture and religion? The task of the scholar of comparative religion is to
study and analyse the differences and similarities between religious rituals,
concepts, and different approaches taken to ascertain the reliability of source
material of religious phenomena. In this case, the analysis has been between
different editions of the same source material published at different times in
different languages, in different countries.
The importance of the positioning of zones and figures on the drums has
been essential for the Sami community for understanding how the landscape,
of both the physical and mythological worlds, was ritualised and then por-
trayed in association with how the function of the cosmos was interpreted and
understood within their culture which formed a sense of unity amongst the
people. This understanding was then expressed in a holistic way within Sami
religion as an expression of maintaining a state of cosmic order between the
different levels of existence, especially the realm of nature.
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It was understood that what took place on the earth was reflected in the
skies and in the world of the ancestors, thus highlighting the relationship
between the supernatural world, where certain deities or totemic ancestral
spirits resided, and the physical world and how, for example, the animals in the
physical reality were related to those in the spiritual realities.
Both the content and layout and positioning of figures that have been painted
onto the surfaces of the drums, such as animals, humans and deities who have
played a central role in the Sami world-view, hunting and community, have
historical value within Sami culture because the drums have been pictographs
used for recording different chapters throughout history in Lapland. A good
example of this from both a religious and historical point of view would be the
historical differences portrayed on the drums depicting “the religion during
the hunting stage and the religion of the nomadic stage” (Hultkrantz 1983: 11)
showing when and where reindeer had become domesticated. Another exam-
ple would be the appearance of Christian symbolism such as crosses and the
positioning of churches in certain villages or towns, which were previously
unknown on the earlier drums.
More recently, a further hypothesis has been put forward, suggesting that
the content, positioning and layout of animal figures on some Sami drums
correspond with certain “star horizons” (Sommarström 1991:136) in the sky,
which represents the theory of totemism. If this is the case, then the differ-
ences seen on the drums which are presented here, change the understanding
of both the relevance of the figures in their positions in the sky and their
geographical locations of the mythological world, as well as the hunting areas
on the tundra. We know that because of seasonal variation when the Sami
migrated between different locations on migratory routes for hunting and fish-
ing, a way of recording these locations, which included rivers, mountains and
caves (where bears were sleeping), was on the surfaces of the drums, which is
why they are sometimes referred to as maps.
The aim of this article has been to clarify the importance of the survey of
the Sami noaidi drums and this undertaking has established a number of er-
rors relating to the way in which the material has been published in France,
Holland and the United Kingdom with reference to historical data and Sami
culture and religion. Therefore, it can be stated these illustrations in the Eng-
lish, Dutch and French editions cannot be relied upon as any kind of authentic-
ity, because the illustrations have a number of important features which are
portrayed as mistakes due to the ways in which the editions have been printed.
Although these mistakes do not necessarily make the editions invalid, how-
ever, the reliability of these sources as material which represents the knowl-
edge of the noaidi as seen portrayed through the intricate symbolism illus-
Folklore 47Folklore 47
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Folklore 47 141
The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
trated in detail on the drums, and also the position of the drums as cultural
and historical artefacts and representations of Sami religion and culture, need
to be made clear due to these historical inaccuracies which misrepresent the
Sami, Sami culture and religion.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the following people for their help
and assistance in writing this article. Professor Elina Helander-Renvall from
the Arctic Centre, Rovaniemi. Docent Risto Pulkkinen from the University of
Helsinki Department of World Cultures. Tim Pye from the Rare Books Refer-
ence Service at the British Library. Kristiina Nayho at Finnish Literature So-
ciety, Helsinki. Pascal Cotroux for the translation from French to English and
Sirkka Havu from the National Library of Finland.
NOTES
1 The term shaman today is generally not applicable in Lapland amongst the Sami; its
origins can be found in the early Russian sources. In Lapland the traditional healer
has been compared to a Medicine Man or Woman known as Noaidi.
2 A further point for the reader’s attention is the usage of the terms: ‘Lapp’, ‘Sami’ and
‘Saami’ throughout the article. The terms ‘Lapp’ and ‘Lappish’ have been used exten-
sively and particularly in early literature mainly by outsiders and is considered
derogatory by the Sami. The application of the term in this article is used only in
quotes from literature. The term ‘Sami’ is the Finnish word used when referring to
the native people of northern Scandinavia, as is the Swedish word Saami. Both of
these are also used in quotes from English and Swedish literature in this article.
Furthermore, both of these are used today to help distinguish the native people of
Lapland from those who live there but whose roots maybe elsewhere.
3 The museum is nowadays called Museum für Völkerkunde zu Leipzig (Leipzig Mu-
seum of Ethnography) and it is a part of the Grassi Museum.
4 The word noaidi is used here as a technical term to point out to all the drum users.
According to Risto Pulkkinen, at least on the more southern parts of Sápmi the drum
was not the privilege of the noaidi only but the use of the drum (in divining ) was each
person’s right.
Recalling Ancestral Voices is a project dedicated to recording the material cul-
tural heritage of the Sámi. The project was launched in April 2006 and ended in
November 2007. In Finland, the Sámi Museum Siida is participating in the project,
in Sweden, the Ájtte Museum in Sweden and Varanger Sámi Museum in Norway.”
(This quote is from the web site address below). The discussion about the Sami
noaidi drums can be viewed in a wider scientific context with reference to previous
142 www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore
www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore
www.folklore.ee/folklore
Francis Joy
research, seminars and discussions about drums, as well as a number of other indig-
enous artefacts in relation to Sami cultural history. The information about the project
is in Swedish, Finnish and Sami language. http://www.siida.fi/heritage/english/index.html
5 The list of manuscripts that were received at different times by Schefferus, and
contain in particular the writings of Rheen and Tunderus, as well as information
from other priests of the northern areas, can be found in the National Library also
under the title Lapponia, which is as a compilation of sources given to Schefferus.
6 For information about the manuscripts concerned with bear hunting rituals made by
Gabriel Tunderus, see Fragments of Lappish Mythology, edited by Juha Pentikäinen,
English translation (Laestadius 1997).
7 See the foreword at the beginning of the book.
8 On-line research into the current sale prices of the 1674 English edition and the
French and Dutch editions at a Antiquarian book sellers revealed the cost for the
original copies are as follows: English 1674 edition on sale in Stockholm, Sweden:
2,420 euros, French edition on sale in the United States, California: 801.00 euros,
and the Dutch edition is on sale in the Netherlands: 1,250.00 euros.
9 According to the British Library catalogue, there are copies of The History of Lapland
on microfilm and in digital form, distributed to a number of institutions in different
parts of the world. I contacted Tim Pye from the Rare Books Reference Service at The
British Library and he supplied me with the following information. One of the most
comprehensive and reliable sources for identifying the various editions of a particu-
lar work is the English Short Title Catalogue (http://estc.bl.uk) (the catalogue also
indicates which institutions around the world hold copies of a work). The ESTC lists
four distinct English editions of The history of Lapland – two published “at the
Theater in Oxford” in 1674 (ESTC nos. R8773 & R183263), one printed in London
“for Tho. Newborough” in 1704 (T146952), and one printed in London “for R. Griffith”
in 1751 (T111934). The catalogue records for the 1674 editions attribute the trans-
lation into English to Anton Cremer. The Library’s 1704 and 1751 editions have
been digitised and are available via Eighteenth Century Collections Online, a sub-
scription database that is available in many libraries and universities. One of the
1674 editions has also been digitised and is provided by the Early English Books
Online database, but the digitised images are taken from copies held not by the
British Library but by the Huntington and University of Illinois Libraries, both
located in the United States.
10 Translated from German to English by Kristiina Nayho at Finnish Literature Soci-
ety.
11 The University of Helsinki does not have the first English publication on microfilm
and therefore, I have used photocopied pictures in this case.
12 Comparison of some illustrations with their sources and derivations. Lillemor Lund-
ström has created an on-line version of the 1674 English edition of The History of
Lapland, and addresses the issue or reversed images by correcting them for this
version of the original English text. He states the following: “The illustrations in the
1674 English translation of the book are imitations of those in the Latin source text
from 1673. Apart from being mirror-images of the originals, some noteworthy changes
were made; a few of these are commented below. As in the main text, I have here
Folklore 47Folklore 47
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Folklore 47 143
The History of Lapland and the Case of the Sami Noaidi Drum Figures Reversed
reversed the English illustrations back to their intended orientation, and then indi-
vidually reversed all letters in the legends, as well as colouring these and any scale
bars red. Chapter X contains two illustrations, both depicting the worship of idols. In
the original, the idols’ heads are crudely shaped as described in the text, while their
English counterparts have been changed to have clearly visible facial features, con-
trary to the description.” Sourced from: http://old.no/samidrum/lapponia/ this is the
web address where the corrected pictures of the two Finnish drums from Kemi
Lappmark can be viewed in the chapter Of the magicall Ceremonies of the Laplanders:
http://old.no/samidrum/lapponia/chap-xi.html
13 The translation from the old French text to English which can be found in the intro-
duction in the book was made by the grateful assistance of Pascal Cotroux.
14 On a visit to the National Library of Finland in Helsinki, the cost for a photocopy of
the illustration of the drums from the First English Edition was ten euros and no one
there had any knowledge concerning the errors.
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Helsinki: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö.
Kjellström, Rolf 1991. Traditional Saami Hunting in relation to drum motifs of ani-
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with an introduction and an afterword by Juha Pentikäinen. Beaverton: Aspia
Books.
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F1700/Lapland/Lapland.htm, last accessed on 30 March 2011.
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Manker, Ernst Mauritz 1938. Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Mono-
graphie 1, Die Trommel als Denkmal materieller Kultur. Acta Lapponica 1. Stock-
holm: Thule.
Manker, Ernst Mauritz 1950. Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Mono-
graphie 2, Die Trommel als Urkunde geistigen Lebens. Acta Lapponica 6. Stock-
holm: Gebers.
Pentikäinen, Juha 1998. Shamanism and Culture. 3rd rev. ed. Helsinki: Etnika.
Pulkkinen, Risto & Kulonen, Ulla-Maija & Seurujärvi-Kari, Irja 2005. The Saami.
A Cultural Encyclopaedia. Helsinki: The Finnish Literary Society (SKS Kirjat).
Rydving, Håkan 1993. The End of Drum-Time: Religious Change among the Lule Saami
1670s–1740s. Historia religionum 12. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell Interna-
tional.
Rydving, Håkan 1991. The Saami Drums and the Religious Encounter in the 17th and
18th Centuries. In: The Saami Shaman Drum; Based on Papers read at the Sym-
posium on the Saami Shaman Drum held at Åbo, Finland, on the 18th–20th of
August 1988. Åbo: The Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Cultural
History.
Schefferus, Johannes 1673. Joannis Schefferi Argentoratensis Lapponia. (Latin edi-
tion). Frankfurt am Main und Leipzig: Martin Wallerborden/Buchhåndlern.
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Schefferus, Johannes 1678. Histoire de la Laponie. Paris: chez la veuve Olivier de Varennes.
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Schefferus, Johannes 1963. [Lapponia] Lapponia eli Lapin maan ja kansan uusi ja
todenmukainen kuvaus, jossa esitetään paljon tähän asti tuntemattomia tietoja
lappalaisten alkuperästä, taikauskosta ja -menoista, ravinnosta, elintavoista ja
askareista, samoin eläimistä ja eri metalleista, joita on heidän maassaan, huo-
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Lapparnas heliga ställen: kultplatser och offerkult i belysning av Nordiska museets
och landsantikvariernas fätundersökningar. Acta Lapponica 13. Stockholm: Geber.
... Scholarly research undertaken during the 1990s by Autio (1995), Nunez (1995) and Joy (2011; has prompted further investigation by the author into what appears as evidence of significant a number of rock carvings from the Alta site in Finnmark, Norway and rock paintings from central and southern Finland from ancient hunting and fishing cultures. These sources of traditional knowledge which can be linked to Sámi identity and cultural Pre-history have strikingly similar motifs and figures that are also recognizable from amongst the nomadic art from Lapland painted on noaidi drums from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the missionizing began. ...
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The suppressed history of the Sámi in Lapland contains within it large gaps which span across lost generations of religious specialists called Noaidi. The Noaidi in Sámi society was a healer, curer, diviner and ritual master. One of the important instruments associated with the work of the Noaidi is the magical drum referred to as goavddis, which was richly decorated with symbols and structures depicting an indigenous worldview and cosmic order. The art of the Noaidi has been one of the main inspirations and influences for the preservation of Sámi culture and heritage, to such an extent that new types of decorative 'Shaman' drums are emerging in Finnish and Norwegian Lapland. These new drums reflect both typologies and worldview of the Noaidi from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and provide some level of insight how the transmission of culture continues today.
... Scholarly research undertaken during the 1990s by Autio (1995), Nunez (1995) and Joy (2011; has prompted further investigation by the author into what appears as evidence of significant a number of rock carvings from the Alta site in Finnmark, Norway and rock paintings from central and southern Finland from ancient hunting and fishing cultures. These sources of traditional knowledge which can be linked to Sámi identity and cultural Pre-history have strikingly similar motifs and figures that are also recognizable from amongst the nomadic art from Lapland painted on noaidi drums from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when the missionizing began. ...
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Абстракт: Эта статья посвящена исторической географии саамов в Средневековье. В Раннем Средневековье земли саамов находились не только в тундре, но и в лесных территориях. Финнская и карельская экспансия вытеснила их на север в ХІІІ в. В ХІІІ в. норвежцы и русские достигнули договоренности о северной границе и распределении дани с саамов. Соперничество между Данией и Московией в XVIXVII вв. обусловило колонизацию Европейского Севера норвежцами и русскими. Она осуществлялась монахами, миссионерами и купцами. Лютеранские пасторы осуществляя христианизацию саамов, воздвигая церкви, вели наступление на традиционную культуру саамов и их языческие верования. Ключевые слова: саамы, норвежцы, русские, миссионеры, монахи, купцы, Дания, Европейский Север.
Article
One of the last frontiers of the pre-Christian Sámi religion and cosmology from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries can be found recorded as embedded systems of knowledge on a range of noaidi-shaman drums kept in museums across Europe. Missionaries and clergymen as well as explorers who sought interest in the magical powers of the Sámi noaidi collected these artefacts during witchcraft trials and persecutions throughout Sápmi, the Sámi homeland areas. Insomuch as the drums being taken away from their owners and shipped from their homelands to other countries, their safeguarding, security and preservation as ancient sources of knowledge in museums is seldom discussed. As a consequence, the investigation presented here is a case study concerning the disappearance of a Sámi noaidi drum sent to a museum in France that has its origins in Swedish Sápmi, which I was informed about in 2017 prior to a visit to Paris for a seminar concerning the Sámi and their culture in Finland. The loss of the drum has only recently become known, and raises a series of important questions concerning responsibilities museums have with regard to the protection of property belonging to the Sámi as well as the repatriation and return of cultural heritage with regard to historical artefacts.
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Research undertaken between 1960 to 1990 into what was once a rock painting tradition in Finland, lacked a clear understanding of parallels between the painted figures found at rock painting locations in the southern and central areas of the country, and the motifs painted on the heads of Sámi shaman divination drums from Lapland. However, due to the discovery and analysis of the content of more rock painting sites in Finland from 1990 up to the present, a more comprehensive framework has emerged in which scholars from across different academic disciplines have discovered many more similar characteristics linking the rock paintings and drum symbolism. These recent findings point towards the survival of a nature based sacrificial religion from the Stone Age era in Finland. The source of this was shamanistic in its essence, and is seen portrayed on rock and boulder formations by hunters similarly to how figures were illustrated on drum heads by the Sámi shamans from the nomadic era of the 17th and 18th centuries in Lapland. This more recent recognition strengthens the argument for Sámi involvement in the creation of rock paintings in Finland.
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Full-text available
The focus of this paper is on the traditional Saami hunting in relation to the animal and hunting motifs on their drum, more specifially the southern Saami drums. One may wonder if it is possible for anyone to interpret a picture unconditionally. One has a certain ground of one's own to stand on and the question arises of whether this is the correct position, when -as in the present case — we approach another culture. We naturally include the experiences of our own culture in interpretations of another culture. The animal which is the commonest species on the southern Saami drums, is the reindeer. Other animals that occur are elks, wolves, beavers, foxes, snakes, among others. Considering the Saamis' hunting weapons, the most important of these were the bow and arrow, and the spear or spear shaft. Of these weapons it is the bow which is most often portrayed on drums. Also some trapping implement like a gin may appear on a drum, but in general we have little or no information about hunting or trapping methods at all.
The History of Lapland, wherein are shewed the original, manners, habits &c. of that people
  • Gunner Ahlström
Ahlström, Gunner 1971. The History of Lapland, wherein are shewed the original, manners, habits &c. of that people. Suecica rediviva 22. Facsimile ed. Stockholm: Bokforlaget Rediviva.
Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Monographie 1, Die Trommel als Denkmal materieller Kultur
  • Ernst Manker
  • Mauritz
Manker, Ernst Mauritz 1938. Die lappische Zaubertrommel. Eine ethnologische Monographie 1, Die Trommel als Denkmal materieller Kultur. Acta Lapponica 1. Stockholm: Thule.
Johannes 1674 = The History of Lapland, wherein are shewed the original, manners, habits &c. of that people
  • Schefferus
Schefferus, Johannes 1674 = The History of Lapland, wherein are shewed the original, manners, habits &c. of that people. 1971. Suecica rediviva 22. Facsimile ed. Stockholm: Bokforlaget Rediviva.
The Saami Drums and the Religious Encounter in the 17th and 18th Centuries
  • Håkan Rydving
Rydving, Håkan 1991. The Saami Drums and the Religious Encounter in the 17th and 18th Centuries. In: The Saami Shaman Drum; Based on Papers read at the Symposium on the Saami Shaman Drum held at Åbo, Finland, on the 18th-20th of August 1988. Åbo: The Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Cultural History.
SCHEFFERUS Johannes (1621–1679) http://www.royallibrary.se
  • Lillemor Lundström
Lundström, Lillemor 2002. SCHEFFERUS Johannes (1621–1679). http://www.royallibrary.se/ F1700/Lapland/Lapland.htm, last accessed on 30 March 2011.
The End of Drum-Time: Religious Change among the Lule Saami 1670s–1740s. Historia religionum 12
  • Håkan Rydving
Rydving, Håkan 1993. The End of Drum-Time: Religious Change among the Lule Saami 1670s–1740s. Historia religionum 12. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksell Interna- tional.
The History of Lapland: Comparison of some illustrations with their sources and derivations. http://old.no/samidrum/lapponia/illustrations.html, last accessed on 30
  • Lillemor Lundström
Lundström, Lillemor 2009. The History of Lapland: Comparison of some illustrations with their sources and derivations. http://old.no/samidrum/lapponia/illustrations.html, last accessed on 30 March 2011. www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore www.folklore.ee/folklore Francis Joy
In: E. Manker Lapparnas heliga ställen: kultplatser och offerkult i belysning av Nordiska museets och landsantikvariernas fätundersökningar
  • Ian Whitaker
Whitaker, Ian 1957. The Holy places of the Lapps (English summary). In: E. Manker Lapparnas heliga ställen: kultplatser och offerkult i belysning av Nordiska museets och landsantikvariernas fätundersökningar. Acta Lapponica 13. Stockholm: Geber.