The prehistoric people felt the forces
of Nature much better than we. They made up the rhythm of
the forest's sawlike skyline and the stream's song, they took
heed of thunder's threats and rain's lullabies. Trying to
unite with nature and challenging it, they danced round the
camp-fire, stepped back, stopped dead and again stepped forward.
In their early songs they wove their voices into the sounds
of the world. They made charms and talismans to spell the
evil dark forces. In their shrines they worshipped a Fir-tree
and the Sun, a Birch-tree and the Moon, a Bear and Fish...
Something beyond everyday life made them to create the world
of their own.
The Earth and the underground world,
the sun and constellations, a man and a bird - this is the
Perm animal style the bronze figurines of which peculiarly
reproduce the ideas of the "Kama Chudy" about the
world's structure. Tribe totems, pantheons, shrines - this
is the soul flying through the space. Is not old Russian Perun
familiar to Komi-Permian Pera? Swans, ducks, elks and bears
- are not they familiar to the birds and animals worshipped
by other peoples on the globe? They all belong either to the
upper world of heaven, or to the middle world of earth, or
to the lower world of underground...
The soul longs for the truth. This is the source of Faith.
The soul longs for beauty. This is the source of Art. The
present pagan feasts echo to those far-away years when people
were united with trees and animals in the forest, water in
the river, a camp-fire in the dangerous dead of night, flowers
in the blooming meadow. A bear was his brother, not just a
Our land, the cradle of "unique mining civilisation"
is also the land of unique spiritual culture that comprises
the most valuable features from the cultures of different
peoples - the Komi-Permyaks, Udmurts, Russians, Tatars, Bashkirs,
Mariets, Khants, Mansis...
We know now how our land was converted
to Christianity. We are more tolerant and careful in our estimation.
Russia had a custom of religious tolerance. This is proved
by the churches and temples of different religions whichhave
remained in Perm. The time of persecuting people for their
religious beliefs and violating shrines hopefully is over.
Faith means free conscience and conscience is a moral category
clear to a human being. The choice of the soul is a mystery
beyond the power of time and fashion, beyond the opinion of
other people. It is not meant to be demonstrated.
Art is different. Time distinctly imprints in poetry and prose,
music and dance, painting, sculpture and theatre. The chronicle
of Perm culture shows how the main thoughts and preferences
changed one another, reproduces the rhythm of life, tells
about sharp turning points and deep work of creative thought.
Books, pictures, performances, concerts, quiet reading rooms
and noisy rock music... They too are made by people, they
too are people fates, their past and present. They are our
life and that part of our psyche or soul which longs for the
Truth and Beauty and flies beyond everyday life.