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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2015 / 1

Kolcheva E. M. The Concept of Cultural Archetype as a Tool for Analysing Ethno-national art

(Mari State University, Yoshkar-Ola)

Abstract ♦ The article looks at the category of “cultural archetype” as an effective tool for analysis of ethno-national art. Reactualization of the ethnic background of art in the early 21st century has led to the rise of new artistic forms, making the study of archetypes still more topical.

This article summarizes the author’s research into Finno-Ugric neomythologism and ethnofuturism as it applies to, in particularly, Mari ethnic art. We distinguish between Jungian and Russian approaches to cultural archetype.

In the Jungian psychoanalytic tradition, the cultural archetype is not identical to the psychological archetype of the collective unconscious, it belongs to the cultural unconscious, to the area of historical memory which lingers between the collective unconscious and the existing pattern of a culture. Unlike the unimaginable archetypes of the collective unconscious, cultural archetypes in a psyche are much more similar to ready-made and, historically conditioned representative cultural forms and symbols. From the Jungian perspective, the meaning of art is related to unconscious representation of archetypes through the completed masterpiece. The interpreters task is to identify and to give an approximated description of the semantic core of an archetype.

Russian researchers have approached the cultural archetype and the cultural unconscious through the concept of literary and mythological archetype. Different takes complement each other and enrich the methodological framework of a scholar of ethno-national art.

In ethno-national art, the ethno-cultural archetype is a basic element of content. Making use of resources of artistry and imagination, the archetype preserves such fundamental features as the integrity of representations over time; stylistic variation of the archetypical invariant; the tendency to augment the meanings at every new stage; affective impact on the viewer, tinged with the numinous, sanctified, or rejective; ethnocentricity as national arts drive towards search and adaptation. The methods of artistic representation of archetypes characterize the nature of ethnocultural reflection.

Keywords: cultural archetype, the cultural unconscious, C. G. Jung, Jungian school, ethno-national art, neomythologism, ethnofuturism

Kolcheva Elvira Mazitovna, Candidate of Art Studies, Associate Professor, Senior research fellow, Mari State University. Postal address: 44 Kremlevskaya St., Yoshkar-Ola, Russian Federation, 424000. Tel.: +7 (8362) 46-84-74. E-mail:


Citation: Kolcheva, E. M. (2015) The Concept of Cultural Archetype as a Tool for Analysing Ethno-national art [ ]. Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie, no. 1, pp. 254-263. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17805/zpu.2015.1.24

Submission date: 18.06.2014.



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