Ethnography and Folklore of the Georgia-Chechnya Border
Images, Customs, Myths & Folk Tales of the Peripheries
Shorena Kurtsikidze & Vakhtang Chikovani
University of California, Berkeley
The aim of this book is to acquaint a wide audience with the traditional culture of the Christian and Muslim highlanders who live on the border of Europe and Asia in the central part of the Caucasus Main Mountain Range. Under one cover, the publication features unique materials on visual anthropology, ethnography, mythology, and folklore of the region.
The book portrays the mysterious subgroup of Georgian highlanders, the Khevsur, who are considered to be the champions of Georgian patriotism and at the same time, according to one popular theory, are believed to be direct descendants of the last Crusaders.
Featuring 158 black and white original photographs and accompanying explanatory texts, the publication gives a detailed description of the exotic religious institutions and examples of material culture of this group of highlanders, illustrating the closeness of their lifestyle to the ways of the Frankish crusaders. The emphasis is on the spheres of folk culture that bear clear traces of centuries of confrontations between two ethnic groups: Christian Georgian highlanders and their neighbors, Muslim Vainakh or Chechen and Ingush. The authors attempt to show how the traditional mode of life of the highlanders affects the contemporary ethnic and political situation in the region.
The publication includes original translations of Georgian folk tales and myths. The latter are narratives representing mythologized chronicles of “holy wars” of old times once carried out on the border of Europe and Asia by the ancestors of the Khevsurs.
Shorena Kurtsikidze and Vakhtang Chikovani are cultural anthropologists and natives of Georgia. They have been teaching the Georgian language, culture, and folklore courses at the University of California, Berkeley. Both authors are affiliates of the Institute of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies at the same university and regularly give talks and public lectures about Georgia and the Caucasus.
ISBN 9783895863288 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in Anthropology 09. 730pp. 158 photographs. 2008.